Politics

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin issues brief statement about Halifax incident

By Louise Sproule

April 23, 2018

Updated: April 24 at 4:56 p.m.

Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin posted a brief statement on his Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon April 24)  in which he outlines events which occurred at about 2 a.m. (April 21).  A story has been circulating widely since Sunday afternoon, which said that police were investigating after Drouin had been accused of sexual assault while he was in Halifax attending a Liberal Party convention.

The incident is supposed to have occurred at about 2 a.m. on Saturday morning (April 21). According to Halifax Regional Police, the alleged assault took place on Brunswick Street, across from Citadel Hill in Halifax, near the location of the Liberal Party convention.

Here is what Drouin posted on his Facebook page Tuesday afternoon:

“On Saturday morning in Halifax, I arrived at approximately 2:00 a.m. at an establishment and joined a group of friends. We chatted amongst ourselves, and then we proceeded to the bar to buy a round of drinks. While I was standing facing the bar, with my credit card in hand, I heard what I believed to be a woman’s voice coming from another area of the establishment behind me, yelling that her buttocks had been grabbed. Her comments were clearly not directed towards me. I turned away from the bar, and shouted, “get that man out of here” to draw attention to the alleged incident. I turned back to the bar and paid for the drinks with my credit card. After purchasing the drinks, I proceeded with my friends to another area of the establishment. Several minutes later, while standing with a group of people, I was approached by a woman with a cellphone in hand, who mistakenly attempted to connect me with the alleged incident. We told her that she was mistaken.

We left the establishment shortly thereafter. On Saturday, I proactively informed the PMO and the Whip’s office of the alleged incident.

The police have been gathering multiple witness statements and I have been cooperating fully. As I have already said, I believe that it is important for individuals to have a safe environment to come forward and be supported. I am confident that the facts of the issue will lead to a clear outcome.”

An official statement issued previously from Drouin’s office states, “I would like to address reports of an incident that took place this weekend in Halifax. I can confirm that an allegation has been made. I believe it is important for individuals to have a safe environment to come forward, share their stories, and be supported. While no charges have been laid against me, I am cooperating fully with the investigation.”

Drouin led a panel discussion with Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on Saturday afternoon.

CBC news has reported that a Liberal source who spoke with the Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity, said Drouin told people at the convention that a woman had accused him of groping her backside at a bar near the convention site in downtown Halifax.

The source described Drouin as being “rattled” but said that Drouin denied having done it.

On Saturday, a closed-door workshop took place at the convention.  The workshop, called, “From#MeToo to never again: creating safe work environments,” was closed to the media to protect delegates’ privacy in case they chose to relate personal experiences.