EDITORIAL – How zero is zero tolerance in sexual harassment allegations?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Image: Liberal Party)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I ADMIT I APPROACH this topic with trepidation. Any time somebody speaks to an allegation of sexual harassment against a national celebrity one must tread carefully.

The question has been raised whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should resign due to an 18-year-old allegation that he groped a female reporter during a music festival in Creston.

Rose Knight, the reporter, says an incident did occur, that Trudeau apologized the next day, and that she doesn’t intend to say anything else.

Trudeau, for his part, says he doesn’t remember any “negative interactions.”

So, it boils down to a he says-she says situation, at very low volume. Since Knight’s paper, the Creston Advance, published a short editorial on it at the time, it’s not one of those allegations that surfaces years later. This one just happens to have been revived by a journalist who was directed to the editorial.

Trudeau has been a pro-feminist prime minister who sets high standards for his cabinet. Some say he should apply those standards to himself and order an investigation.

This case is considerably different than many of the other celebrity sexual misconduct cases over the past couple of years. The person offended didn’t bring it up and doesn’t want it pursued. There are no specifics about what might have occurred other than that it might have involved a “brief” touch on a buttock. It happened long before Trudeau entered politics, so it wasn’t a case of abuse of power.

One line of thinking says we should always support the alleged victim but she isn’t asking for support. What we have is a fuzzy set of circumstances from many years ago. One thing that’s clear is that there’s no evidence the Justin Trudeau of today believes it’s in any way OK to “handle” women.

As Trudeau says, we all need to “reflect.” Indeed, how zero is zero tolerance in sexual misbehavior cases?

The fair conclusion has to be that if Trudeau is to lose his job, it should be in the next election.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6683 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – How zero is zero tolerance in sexual harassment allegations?

  1. I guess it all depends on who you are not what you are. I didn’t invent zero tolerance- Trudeau talks the talk but doesn’t walk the talk.

  2. Well said, the Cons as usual, playing politics.

  3. Zero tolerance of harassment does not equal an automatic knee-jerk response to every allegation. We have zero tolerance (sort of) for serious crime, but we don’t give life in prison as every sentence.

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