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Hill Life & People

NDP names investigator into MP Moore allegations

By Shruti Shekar      

Former NDP MP Paul Dewar has revealed his brain cancer diagnosis is terminal, Canadian Press' Joanna Smith had her baby girl and Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux is hosting an event on the Hill to promote men's mental health.

The misconduct allegations levied against NDP MP Christine Moore will be investigated by Ottawa-based mediator Deborah Jelly, the party says. Screen shot courtesy of the CBC
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The NDP has named Ottawa-based mediator Deborah Jelly to investigate MP Christine Moore, who last month was accused of sexual misconduct by a former soldier.

The investigation officially began on June 1, said James Smith, press secretary to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Ms. Moore vigorously challenged Afghanistan veteran Glen Kirkland’s version of events that happened in 2013 and said she is taking legal action. She has been suspended from caucus duties, as was the case for former NDP MP Erin Weir when he faced a similar process.

In a May 8 CBC column, Mr. Kirkland was quoted alleging Ms. Moore invited him back to her office and offered him a “few” drinks after which she “followed” him back to his hotel room.

Mr. Kirkland told the CBC, “Look, I’m not crying rape. … But what she did was inappropriate. Was I a willing participant? I guess it depends on your definition of willing. There was a power imbalance. There was a level of authority there.”

Ms. Moore said the pair had an “entirely consensual relationship” that lasted four months.

Ms. Jelly, who did not respond to a request for comment, is the managing director of Charron Human Resources Inc., which Mr. Smith said is “experienced in the analysis of complex workplace issues, is committed to facilitating the restoration of workplace relationships, providing interventions in large, complex, highly structured, unionized workplaces.”   

After an NDP caucus meeting last week, Mr. Singh told reporters the investigation had already started and he couldn’t offer details as to the expected timeline.

Mr. Smith said the party won’t be commenting on any specifics until the investigation is complete.

“In terms of investigations like this, three to six months is a normal time frame. We know in this situation there is very clearly two people with different versions of the events so it might be more contained but that would just be speculation,” he said.

“We have asked, as we’ve done in the past, for an expedited investigation for all those involved.”

Ms. Moore did not respond to interview requests or confirm if she still planned to launch defamation lawsuits against Mr. Kirkland, the CBC columnist who broke the story or columnists who wrote about the allegations.

MP Jeneroux pushes to change men’s mental health stigma at Hill event

Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux is hosting Father’s Day on the Hill in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada in an effort to raise awareness of men’s mental health, a cause that is very personal to him.

Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux, pictured with his two daughters Molly and Lily, says he suffered anxiety and depression after his second daughter was born. He is hosting an event on the Hill Wednesday to promote men’s mental health. Photograph courtesy of Matt Jeneroux

He told The Hill Times that when his second daughter, Lily, was born his wife suffered postpartum depression; at the same time, he suffered from anxiety and depression.

“It adds a lot on to the family unit, and a lot to the individual—to the mother, and the individual, as a father,” Mr. Jeneroux said.

The goal is to normalize conversations about mental health, especially for young men and new fathers, and let people know there are places to go and get help, he said.

Mr. Jeneroux said he advocated for men’s mental health as a provincial legislator and said he hoped to do the same on the federal level.

“[After] I was elected federally I thought there was an opportunity to raise the national awareness of what young men are going through,” Mr. Jeneroux said.

He was first elected federally in 2015 to represent the riding of Edmonton Riverbend, Alta., but before that, he served as an Alberta MLA from 2012 to 2015.

The event on the Hill will be hosted on June 13 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Centre Block room 216-N.

Deputy House Speaker Bruce Stanton and Liberal MP Majid Jowhari are also going to participate in the event.

According to a June 8 press release, Mr. Jeneroux particularly wanted to host the event because he felt men’s mental health was rarely discussed. According to the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention “men were three times more likely to die by suicide than females,” and that trend has been “consistent over time.”

“Men are typically looked at like ‘You have to be strong,’ or you have the male, masculine stigma attached to you,” Mr. Jeneroux said.

He added that a number of his friends are currently suffering or have suffered and never spoke about it because they are hesitant “to go and talk to other people about it.”

Men “are often told to ‘suck it up,’ or ‘toughen up.’ Being able to have the public conversation that you don’t have to suffer in silence is an important one,” he said.

Former Ottawa MP Paul Dewar reveals terminal prognosis

Former NDP MP Paul Dewar announced he has glioblastoma, the same terminal brain cancer that The Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie died from last year. The Hill Times file photograph

Former federal NDP MP Paul Dewar told CBC Radio on June 12 that he has glioblastoma, the same brain cancer that The Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie died from last year.

“It is grade 4, which is terminal. There is no cure. There is treatment, and so that’s what I’ve been dealing with for the last couple of months,” Mr. Dewar said on Ottawa Morning. Mr. Dewar was first elected in 2006 and represented the riding of Ottawa Centre, Ont., for nearly 10 years.

Mr. Dewar was diagnosed with brain cancer in February, and since then has undergone surgery and treatment.

“To treat it there are limited tools in the toolkit. What I’ve gone through is surgery and then radiation and chemotherapy, and then you hope for the best in terms of how much time you have to live,” he said.

Mr. Dewar, who was the NDP’s foreign affairs critic when he was an MP, was defeated in the 2015 federal election by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who paid tribute to him in the House on June 12 after hearing the news.

He was planning on throwing his hat in for the Ottawa mayoral race this year, but he said that idea was now gone.

His mother Marion Dewar was Ottawa’s mayor from 1978 to 1985.

Mr. Dewar is putting his energy into a new initiative called Youth Action Now, launching on June 19, with the goal of helping young people accomplish their grassroots projects.

“It is a vision to respect and honour the future they will inherit and work in solidarity with them to make things happen,” he said in a letter on the Youth Action Now website.

CP’s Joanna Smith’s baby girl is finally here

CP’s Joanna Smith welcomed her baby girl, Viola Rennie, on June 4.  Photograph courtesy of Twitter

Canadian Press reporter Joanna Smith has given birth to her baby girl and from the tiny glimpse of what we can see, she’s super cute.

“Wishing my @CdnPress colleagues the best on a busy news week. I’m hosting my own little summit on the couch. A little bit of chaos, but a whole lot of love. Introducing my daughter, who finally arrived in this world earlier this week,” Ms. Smith tweeted on June 8 along with a picture of the corner of her daughter’s head wearing a little hat.

She said in a Twitter message that she and her husband, Steve Rennie, welcomed Viola Rennie on June 4.

Mr. Rennie is a former managing editor of the now-defunct Metro Ottawa. He now is the manager of governance of the executive secretariat at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Ms. Smith went on parental leave from CP’s Ottawa bureau in May and is slated to return next July.

As bureau chief Heather Scoffield noted on Twitter on June 8, little Viola makes it the fourth baby girl born to parents working at CP’s Ottawa office this spring.

“Nobody ask what is in the water,” quipped CP reporter, and tired dad, Jordan Press.

Prince’s Charities celebrated on the Hill

Liberal MP David McGuinty, left, with Prince’s Charities of Canada’s vice-president Matthew Rowe at its reception on the Hill on May 29. Photograph courtesy of Prince’s Charities of Canada

The Prince’s Charities of Canada hosted an event on May 29 in the Speaker’s Salon to highlight the work it did in the past year.

André Garneau, communications co-ordinator at PCC, said in an email that the event “provided MPs and Senators with an opportunity to learn more about His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’s charitable work in Canada.”

The charity was founded in 2011 and focuses on providing support for young people seeking employment, veterans transitioning to a second career, and for Indigenous communities “as they revitalize their languages.”

At the event, Sharon Broughton, PCC’s new chief executive, spoke about PCC’s progress in “delivering programs in every province and territory.”

Some spotted at the event included: Liberal MPs Angelo Iacono, Joyce Murray, Don Rusnak, Alexandra Mendès, Brenda Shanahan, Karen McCrimmon, House Speaker Geoff Regan, and Independent Senator Pamela Wallin.

—With files from Samantha Wright Allen

sshekar@hilltimes.com

@shruti_shekar

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