OTTAWA – A Liberal MP who is facing an allegation of assault after a weekend visit to a Halifax bar is speaking out, calling the whole thing a case of mistaken identity.
Francis Drouin, who represents the eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, has issued a statement detailing his version of what happened in Halifax in the early hours of Saturday morning.
In it, Drouin — who was in Halifax for the federal Liberal policy convention — says that while he was chatting with friends, he heard a woman shouting from another part of the bar.
“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,” the statement says.
“Her comments were clearly not directed towards me.”
Drouin says he then shouted for the alleged perpetrator to be evicted from the bar, paid for his drink with his credit card and proceeded with his friends to another area of the establishment.
That’s when he says a woman with a cellphone “mistakenly” tried to connect him to the alleged incident.
“We told her that she was mistaken. We left the establishment shortly thereafter.”
Drouin says he proactively informed the Prime Minister’s Office and the government whip’s office, and has been co-operating fully with a police investigation into the matter. A number of witness interviews have been gathered, he added.
He reiterated statements he made over the weekend stressing the importance of ensuring individuals are supported in a safe way when they come forward with allegations — but insists that in this case, it was all just a big misunderstanding.
“I am confident that the facts of the issue will lead to a clear outcome.”
Halifax police confirmed Monday they are investigating a report that a woman had been sexually assaulted. But the regional police service did not specifically name Drouin.
A spokeswoman said no charges have been laid in the incident, which took place sometime after 2 a.m. Saturday at the Halifax Alehouse.