that MP on parliament hill should have visited an escort to avoid false accusations.
Here’s the scene: One of your colleagues is a married guy. You both play on a recreational sports team. One day after a game, he asks you back to his hotel for a drink. (He commutes to work from another city.) He makes clear that he wants to have sex with you, but you don’t want to have sex with him. What do you do? (a) tell him no, and leave? Or (b) join him on the bed, say nothing and hand him a condom?
Even in our brave new age, where consent to sex is supposed to be explicit, most people would agree that if you get on a bed with a guy and silently hand him a condom, he could reasonably infer that you’re willing to have sex. And if he’s wrong, it’s hard to complain that he misread your intentions.
But that’s exactly the complaint (as we understand it so far) made by an anonymous female New Democratic MP about Massimo Pacetti. He’s one of the two Liberal MPs who were summarily banished by Leader Justin Trudeau for serious but unexplained “personal misconduct” involving unnamed female MPs.
Now, in a series of interviews with the media, including The Globe and Mail, one of the two female complainants has explained what the misconduct was. Mr. Pacetti had sex with her, but without “explicit consent.” She didn’t tell him “no” and she wasn’t drunk. She didn’t leave because she “froze,” having been assaulted on another occasion, years before. She doesn’t want her name to be made public because she wants to “heal.” She doesn’t think Mr. Pacetti should be punished (it’s a little late for that) and she hasn’t gone to the police (in any event, as any lawyer will tell you, she doesn’t have a shred of a legal case). But she does want the incident to be investigated, providing she remains anonymous. She thinks Mr. Pacetti should apologize and get counselling. Mr. Pacetti says he’s innocent of wrongdoing.
The details should make everybody cringe. Although I have no sympathy for married men who cheat, Mr. Pacetti is actually the bigger victim here – it sounds like his first apology should be to his wife. Mr. Trudeau (and, by extension, his party) should be cringing because he’s recklessly trashed the career of a man who seems to be guilty of nothing more than boorishness and infidelity. The NDP should be cringing because Ms. Anonymous has embarrassed the caucus and trivialized the seriousness of genuine sexual assault. This complainant is no intern or some star-struck groupie exploited by a powerful older man – she’s an elected federal politician.