OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s opposition Liberal Party kicked two members of Parliament out of caucus on Wednesday following separate allegations of personal misconduct in the workplace.
The Liberal Party, which is leading in the polls ahead of next October’s federal election, wrote to House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to say the two members would not sit as Liberals, effective immediately.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau named the two as Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews, but gave no details on the allegations. He said the two men have denied the allegations, which he said were leveled by two members of Parliament from another party.
Local media identified the other party as the opposition New Democratic Party. NDP official Karl Belanger said the party was not in a position to confirm that.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair did, however, make a brief statement to reporters, saying: “Everyone who works in these places has a right to be in a secure work environment free of harassment.”
The Liberals are the third largest party in the House of Commons after the NDP and the governing Conservatives.
Trudeau said the suspensions are pending the outcome of an investigation into the allegations, and said it was important that the process encourage people who may have been hurt to make their charges.
“It must be sensitive to all affected parties, but recognizing how difficult it is to do so, it must give the benefit of the doubt to those who come forward,” he told reporters.
Trudeau said Pacetti’s and Andrews’ candidacies for the 2015 election have also been suspended.
Pacetti said in a statement he would cooperate fully with an independent investigation that Scheer would be launching, “which I am confident will exonerate me.” He said he has not been provided with specific details of the allegations.
Andrews did not immediately respond to a call to his office seeking comment.
Reporting by Randall Palmer, Leah Schnurr and Mike De Souza; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson, Peter Galloway and Leslie Adler