News / Canada

Conservative MP James Bezan apologizes for ‘threesome’ quip

MP James Bezan quipped about a “threesome” during a spring photo op with a Liberal MP and another individual, a remark he said Monday was “flippant and inappropriate.”

Conservative MP James Bezan was accused of making comments toward a Liberal MP that were "humiliating" and "sexual in nature." He later apologized for making a remark regarding a “threesome” during a spring photo op with a Liberal MP and another individual.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative MP James Bezan was accused of making comments toward a Liberal MP that were "humiliating" and "sexual in nature." He later apologized for making a remark regarding a “threesome” during a spring photo op with a Liberal MP and another individual.

OTTAWA—Conservative MP James Bezan quipped about a “threesome” during a spring photo op with a Liberal MP and another individual, a remark he conceded Monday was “flippant and inappropriate.”

Quebec Liberal MP Sherry Romanado surprised the Commons on Monday afternoon when she accused Bezan of making comments about her that were “inappropriate, humiliating” and “sexual in nature.”

“These comments have caused me great stress, and have negatively affected my work environment,” said Romanado (Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne).

Her statement came mere hours after Bezan himself had stood in the Commons to offer apologies for an “inappropriate and insensitive comment.”

“I have nothing but the greatest respect for this member, for this institution, and I sincerely apologize,” he said.

It was only later in the day, after Romanado’s statement, that Bezan provided more details about the incident that apparently was behind the Commons statements.

Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman) said he was posing for a picture with an MP — unnamed in his statement — and another individual during a public event at Ottawa City Hall on May 2.

“While standing for the picture I made an inappropriate and flippant comment by saying, ‘This isn’t my idea of a threesome,’ which was intended as a partisan comment about being in a photo with a Liberal member of caucus,” the Manitoba MP said in his statement.

“I realized that this comment was inappropriate and attempted to apologize the following day but was not afforded that opportunity,” Bezan said.

The Conservative MP says that the chief human resources officer — a House of Commons position — received a complaint about the comment from the MP on May 10.

After learning about the official complaint, Bezan said he “immediately offered to enter into mediation so that I could apologize to her. That request was also denied.”

Bezan said he participated in the review conducted by the human resources office and in a written submission, “apologized in writing” to the MP.

In his statement, Bezan said the findings of the review “did not support a claim of sexual harassment.

“No disciplinary action was recommended against me. I accept those findings,” Bezan said.

Because the process is confidential, Bezan’s statement about its findings could not be independently verified.

Liberal MP Sherry Romanado is flanked by colleagues as she leaves a committee meeting, in Ottawa on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Liberal MP Sherry Romanado is flanked by colleagues as she leaves a committee meeting, in Ottawa on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.

Even before Monday’s statement, the veteran MP said he had already apologized in person to Romanado and completed sensitivity training offered by the Commons.

Monday’s events come as institutions in journalism, politics and entertainment have been rocked by allegations ranging from workplace misconduct to sexual harassment and abuse that have cost high-profile personalities their jobs, including sports analyst Gregg Zaun, U.S. news anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Officials for both Romanado and Bezan said Monday that neither MP would be making any further comment.

Bezan will keep his place in the Conservative caucus and won’t lose his position as the party’s defence critic, a source told the Star.

“Sexual harassment is never acceptable and such behaviour is not tolerated in the Conservative caucus,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement that noted Bezan’s apology and the fact he has taken sensitivity training.

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