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Federal New Democrat Christine Moore has been "temporarily suspended" from her duties while an investigator probes allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour made by a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
In a statement issued Tuesday, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said CBC News contacted his office May 7 regarding allegations made by retired corporal Glen Kirkland alleging the MP for Abitibi—Témiscamingue used her position of authority to try to take advantage of him almost five years ago. Moore is also the New Democratic Party's rural affairs critic in the Commons.
"I take these allegations very seriously and I will be appointing an independent investigator to conduct a fair and full examination," reads Singh's statement. "While that process is ongoing, Mme Moore’s duties as an NDP MP, including participation on any committee, will be temporarily suspended. Once the work of the investigator has been completed, Mme Moore’s role in caucus will be re-evaluated.”
Moore's suspension comes roughly three months after her then-caucus colleague, Regina MP Erin Weir, was similarly suspended from his duties over allegations that he harassed female colleagues.
Moore helped prompt that investigation into Weir by emailing caucus with second-hand allegations that Weir had harassed several women. Weir was removed from caucus following a three-month investigation.
He has described the harassment complaints as a politically motivated and an unjustified smear campaign from within his own party. But Singh has said it was Weir’s failure to take responsibility for his actions that led to his expulsion from caucus.
Moore welcomed the investigation in a statement distributed by the NDP.
"I welcome the opportunity to participate in the independent and fair examination of these allegations," she said. "Out of respect for the fairness and the integrity of the process, I will not be commenting further on these allegations at this point."
The veteran, who is now a real estate agent in Brandon, Man., was wounded in an ambush in Afghanistan in 2008 while driving a light−armoured vehicle that was hit by recoilless rifle fire. The shot killed three other soldiers and left Kirkland with severe injuries, including a damaged pancreas and right eye, crushed vertebrae, bleeding in the brain and PTSD.
He said she asked about the various injuries that he sustained in Afghanistan, and invited him to her office after mentioning her background in nursing.
Kirkland alleges that once there, Moore offered him drinks after reassuring him that the alcohol would not interact with the various medications that he was taking.
While Kirkland did not want to get into specifics, he did tell the CBC that Moore followed him back to his hotel and continued to send explicit messages, even turning up unannounced at his Manitoba home before he curtly told her to stop.
"She was inappropriate," Kirkland told The Canadian Press. "She used her position of power and authority to get what she wanted."
Kirkland says many people were aware of his allegations, but he believes it was seen as a joke and that the response would have been different if their genders were reversed.
Singh has spoken out this year about the need to "believe survivors" in order to stop violence against women and that the presumption of innocence is "strictly about the procedures in court."
with files from The Canadian Press