While on tour to celebrate Canada Day this past Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denied groping a female reporter who tried to interview him almost two decades ago at the 2000 Kokanee Summit festival. Trudeau’s comments about the allegation of sexual misconduct came nearly a month after the incident was first brought to national attention by Canadian media in early June.
“I remember that day in Creston [the site of the festival] well… I had a good day that day,” Trudeau told reporters in Regina, Saskatchewan. “I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all.”
Trudeau’s denial marked the first time that he has publicly responded to the accusation, which was originally levied in an editorial in the Creston Valley Advance, a small local paper in the western province of British Columbia. The unsigned article (almost certainly written by the reporter who claimed to have been sexually assaulted) was published shortly after the conclusion of the festival in August. In the piece, the writer provided scant details of the encounter, only obliquely referring to Trudeau “inappropriately ‘handling’ the reporter” and “groping a strange young woman.”
But in a seemingly damning bit of evidence, the article also suggested that Trudeau acknowledged the grope and apologized to the reporter for assaulting her because she reported for a national newspaper (she was also working for the National Post and the Vancouver Sun at the time), allegedly telling her: “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.” Moreover, according to a recent investigation by the same National Post, the reporter had (and still has) the full faith and credit of her former superiors at the Creston Valley Advance. (Read more from “Canadian PM Slammed With Sexual Assault Accusation” HERE)