POLITICS
07/19/2020 22:22 EDT

Bloc Quebecois Leader Denies Sexual Assault Allegation

Yves-Francois Blanchet demanded the Facebook page where the claim was posted retract it.

OTTAWA — Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says he’s incapable of the kind of sexual misconduct alleged against him in an anonymous Facebook post.

In a Sunday news conference on Parliament Hill, Blanchet said the claim that he tried to force himself on a woman in the washroom of a Montreal bar in 1999, when he was a manager in the music business, does a disservice to real victims of sexual assault.

He called facing such allegations a form of hell and demanded the page where the allegation was posted retract it.

“There is no victim,” he said in French. “I have no idea where this comes from. I have no idea what the intention was behind these allegations.”

Justin Tang/ Canadian Press
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet speaks at a news conference in Ottawa on July 19, 2020, responding to an allegation of sexual misconduct that was posted on social media. Standing behind is his wife, Nancy Deziel.

He said the general circumstances described in the allegation, that Blanchet was out at particular bars with Quebec artists, are plausible but the details are false.

Blanchet had already denied the allegations categorically in a written statement, in which he urged anyone with a real complaint to take it to the police. He said Sunday he wanted to speak directly to his friends and constituents, as do other Bloc MPs.

Those MPs are standing behind their leader. All 31 members of the BQ caucus have their names on a statement issued Sunday.

“We are convinced that the anonymous allegations made against him are false and we support him without hesitation,” the statement says in French.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2020.

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