POLITICS

Tory MP retracts advice to wear recording devices to guard against harassment allegations

11/26/2014 05:52 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - A Conservative backbencher who issued a bizarre warning to colleagues against "consorting without protection" in the wake of Parliament Hill misconduct revelations retracted his statement late Wednesday.

"Earlier today I issued a press release that I now recognize was completely inappropriate," Edmonton MP Peter Goldring said in his second statement of the day, this one released via the Prime Minister's Office.

"I retract that press release unconditionally and deeply regret it."

Hours earlier, Goldring issued a press release saying he wears video recording equipment due to unspecified past encounters with authority figures to "prevent besmirchment when encounters run awry."

"It will not be good enough to simply say that your intentions were honourable and you were just inviting a colleague to your apartment at two in the morning to play a game of Scrabble at the end of a day of playing sports and drinking," he said.

"MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth."

Others should wear recording equipment as well, Goldring advised, "because some accusers hide behind a shield of supposed credibility which many times is not, and sometimes even hide behind a cloak of anonymity, which conceals their shameful indiscretion and complicity."

Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews were suspended from caucus earlier this month amid allegations of misconduct levelled by two of their NDP colleagues.

One of the New Democrat MPs, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, spoke to the media this week.

Goldring's news release immediately became a social media sensation, with several wags tweeting doctored photos of the bearded MP donning a collection of video recording equipment.

Earlier Wednesday, the Prime Minister's Office would say only that Goldring's news release reflects his own personal opinions.

In Australia earlier this month, Stephen Harper said the government does not take complaints of sexual harassment lightly.

"Obviously sexual harassment is a very serious issue and I know that in government, in our government, we have had policies on how we deal with it for some time," he said. "The matter has to be taken seriously and there has to be a framework for dealing with these things."

Goldring, who was first elected as a Reform MP in 1997, is not running for re-election in next year's vote.

He withdrew from the Conservative caucus in December 2011 after he was charged with refusing to provide a breathalyzer sample when pulled over by police after a Christmas party.

Goldring returned to the caucus ranks last year after he was found not guilty of the charge. The judge concluded that Goldring's decision not to provide the sample wasn't conscious or wilful.

— Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter @leeanne25