TORONTO (AP) — Canada's Liberal opposition party suspended two of its Members of Parliament after two female members from a rival party accused them of personal misconduct.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he removed Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews because their accusers, one of whom approached him personally, deserve the benefit of the doubt. Details of the accusations were not made public.
A Parliamentary source familiar with the matter said the accusers are Members of Parliament with the New Democratic Party. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The issue of sexual harassment and misconduct has received increased attention in Canada in the days since popular Canadian Broadcast Corp. radio host Jian Ghomeshi was fired amid multiple sexual assault and harassment allegations. That case has rocked Canadian society, and police are investigating.
Trudeau said Pacetti and Andrews are denying the allegations against them, which he would describe only as "serious" allegations of personal misconduct.
"We have a duty to protect and encourage individuals in these situations to come forward," Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa. "The action must be fair, but decisive. 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."
Andrews, 39, said in a statement that he would fully cooperate and answer all questions from an independent third-party investigator.
"I am confident such a process will find that no harassment has occurred," Andrews said.
Pacetti, 52, didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Trudeau asked House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to investigate.
New Democratic Leader Tom Mulcair said he was "deeply saddened by these serious allegations."
Ottawa Police spokesman Chuck Benoit said they are not investigating and no one has complained.