OTTAWA – The federal Liberals expect an independent investigation into misconduct allegations against two of their MPs will be completed sometime this month, according to a senior member of the party, although it’s not yet clear how much of the report will be made public.
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Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced in December that equal rights lawyer Cynthia Petersen would conduct the investigation, spurred by allegations from two unnamed NDP MPs of “personal misconduct” by Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews.
“I look forward to receiving her advice,” Trudeau said at the time of his announcement about Petersen’s investigation. “More than that, I’m not going to speculate on the outcome.”
Upon hearing the allegations from an NDP MP, Trudeau kicked Pacetti and Andrews out of the Liberal caucus. Both men have proclaimed their innocence, but neither has addressed the matter head-on.
One of the NDP MPs, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Global News that Pacetti had sex with her without “explicit consent.”
She said she told Trudeau about her experience, and allegations of harassment made by her NDP colleague, so that he was aware of his MPs behaviour, but that she later regretted telling the Liberal leader because she wanted to keep the matter private.
Watch: NDP MP regrets revealing sexual misconduct allegations to Trudeau
In an email to Global News, Petersen said she would not be speaking to the media about her investigation. A senior member of the Liberals said the party expects Petersen to report her findings sometime this month.
“We will definitely make a public announcement when the report’s given to us,” the Liberal said.
It is possible Petersen’s investigation could go longer, as she has been given no hard deadline.
It’s also unclear whether her investigation goes beyond the two NDP MPs.
READ MORE: How well did Justin Trudeau handle MP sexual assault claims?
Neither of the NDP MPs, nor Pacetti and Andrews, immediately responded to Global News asking if they cooperated in the investigation and if they thought it was a fair process.
If the MPs chose not to cooperate, a spokeswoman said the report will be based on handwritten notes taken by the Liberals in their initial meetings with the NDP.
Meanwhile, a Parliamentary sub-committee that was formed in the wake of the allegations met on Monday afternoon to discuss the broader issue of harassment on the Hill.
The sub-committee of the Procedure and House Affairs committee heard from Richard Denis, Parliamentary counsel, and Pierre Parent, chief HR officer, who discussed a code of conduct for MPs.
The committee, made up of MPs from all parties, asked to Denis to help them craft a definition for harassment, and to offer advice on how to proceed in the wake of an allegation.
In December, the Board of Internal Economy approved a new harassment prevention policy that applies to MPs and their staff.
The policy emphasizes impartiality and confidentiality as well as protecting the rights of the complainant and the respondent.