New Democrats are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately dismiss a Liberal MP who is pledging to defend himself from allegations of sexual harassment.
The Hill Times reported this month that the chief human resources officer of the House of Commons is investigating rookie Calgary Skyview MP Darshan Kang after a young female staffer in his constituency office accused him of misconduct.
Kang told HuffPost Canada in a statement that he has been under a "tremendous amount of stress" since the allegations were levelled against him and has been placed on a medical leave that has kept him from public events.
"While I cannot comment directly on an open, ongoing investigation, I continue to proclaim my innocence and will defend my reputation at all costs," Kang said.
'Not the leadership of a feminist prime minister'
Sheila Malcolmson, the NDP critic for the status of women, released a statement Tuesday questioning Trudeau's feminism because of the way he is handling the controversy.
Malcolmson noted in the release that while Trudeau previously advocated a zero tolerance approach to such allegations involving members of his caucus, he has "failed to act" on Kang's case.
"That is not the leadership of a feminist prime minister," she said in the release. "Until such time as a full investigation can be completed Mr. Kang should not sit as a member of the governing party.
"That is exactly the approach the prime minister previously espoused and acted upon; I am at a loss as to why he has refused to take similar action in response to these allegations."
In 2014, Trudeau suspended two members of caucus pending an investigation into separate accusations of sexual harassment made by two female NDP MPs. While both men denied misconduct, they left the Liberal party months later just before they were expected to be permanently expelled.
I have no further comment to make at this time on the independent process that is being undergone.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Though Malcolmson's release charged that Trudeau has refused to comment on Kang, the prime minister did briefly address the matter at a press conference in Ottawa Monday.
When asked if he was going to kick Kang out of caucus, the prime minister said Parliament has put in place formal processes to deal with allegations of misconduct or harassment that did not exist before. Trudeau said his chief government whip is working with House human resources on the matter.
"I have no further comment to make at this time on the independent process that is being undergone," Trudeau said.
Trudeau largely echoed those sentiments Tuesday at a presser in the House of Commons foyer with Jordan's King Abdullah II.
"We will allow this process to unfold as it should," he said.
Meanwhile, the father of the staffer accusing Kang of harassment told The Toronto Star that the MP offered to pay her up $100,000 to keep mum about allegations, which include unwelcome touching over the course of several years.
Before making the jump to federal politics in 2015, Kang served as a Liberal member of Alberta's legislature. He was first elected in 2008.
The Star reports that the woman, a family friend of Kang's, joined his office when he sat in the provincial legislature and stayed with him after he became one of just four Liberal MPs elected in Alberta.Suggest a correction