The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sex on the Hill. The who, what, where and when.

NDP M.P. Christine Moore and CBC Radio host Jian Gomeshi have one thing in common. 

They both thought they could deflect blame in a sex scandal by admitting a sexual indiscretion before it was known publicly. 

Both were wrong.

Gomeshi tried to get ahead of a newspaper investigation into allegations of rough sex on his part.  He published a blog post admitting to a predeliction for S&M.  The post contributed to his firing from the CBC.

In the wake of the Gomeshi affair, Moore shifted the national debate on sexual harassment to Parliament Hill as a cesspit of rapacious politicians and staff preying on innocent young girls working in the political sphere. 

When Liberal leader Justin Trudeau championed her never-explained complaint against Liberal M.P. Massimo Pacetti, she managed to go unnamed. But eventually Moore could see the pressure growing for her to shed her anonymity and go public with her allegations. 

So she went on a press tour this week, telling her story in  interviews with The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Huffington post, the National Post, QMI, and CBC, on condition they didn't reveal her identity. Everything went swimmingly as long as the national media repeated her carefully crafted contention that she had sex with Pascetti "without expicit consent." 

But everything went south with the disclosure that she was so reluctant to have sex that night that she provided Pascetti with the condom he used to do the dirty deed. Suddenly the meme of sexual harassment, transmuted into the tawdry one-night-stand it always was. (Tawdry because Pascetti is married, and Moore didn't care.)

Christine Moore was fingered (no double entendre intended) by Frank magazine three weeks ago, and everybody in the Parliamentary press gallery knows she's the one behind the Pascetti complaint. So why keep her name a secret? Given the fact that her secret complaint has ruined Pascetti's career, his reputation, and likely his marriage, it's in the public interest to know who she is and what she says happened.

Moore didn't start out to destroy Pascetti. The story goes that she pigeon-holed Trudeau after the funeral for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was murdered Oct. 22 by a Muslim terrorist storming Parliament Hill. She wanted to tell him in private about the harassment a colleague of hers was getting from a Liberal M.P. (not Pacetti) and to get Trudeau's help to stop it.

(Moore had a special reason for attending the funeral---she had served three years in the army before being elected to Parliament.)

But Moore showed her political naivete when she approached Trudeau. She didn't understand that this wasn't the same as complaining to a teacher about some spurned boy's clumsy attempts at winning back a girlfriend.  Politics is a blood sport. The penalty for imprudence is not detention; it's summary execution.

Trudeau asked the Liberal party whip to meet with the NDP party whip to get more details about the alleged sexual harassment. It was during a meeting of the whips with the women behind the harassment complaint, that Moore chose to support her colleague by mentioning her own seduction by another silver-tongued Liberal M.P. With that, she signed Pascetti's political death warrant.

Trudeau suspended Montreal MP Massimo Pacetti and Newfoundland MP Scott Andrews from the Liberal caucus for "serious personal misconduct", but without telling the public, or them, any of the allegations against them.  NDP leader Tom Mulcair revealed that the complaints against the pair came from two of his members.

But since no formal complaint had been filed either with the police or Parliament, the accusers were not named, and the accused didn't know exactly what they were accused of doing. The two men were in limbo.And eventually press and pundits proclaimed that the situation was unfair, that the men should either be reinstated or their alleged crimes be specified by their accusers.

Moore, seeing the writing on the wall, tried controlling the growing storm with selected leaks.  

She told reporters she and Pascetti were members of a sports league and after an event last March they were having drinks at a pub until 2 a.m. when he invited her to his hotel room residence when attending Parliament for a nightcap. 

Vague enough for you?

Given that Moore is a proud sponsor of the Temiscaming Titans, members of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League, and Pacetti is a former hockey coach, we're guessing it was a hockey game that brought them together.

In the room, Pascetti put the moves on her, she said, but she resolved to leave. Exactly when the condom came out, and on, isn't clear from the stories written by friendly reporters.

One side effect of Moore's press tour, was flushing out some details of the complaint against Scott Andrews which precipitated the focus on the Hill sex scandals.

The story, as related by unnamed sources, is that the NDP member (identified by Frank Magazine as Alexandrine Latendresse) was at some "social event" on Parliament Hill where she met up with the Hill bad boys, Andrews and Pacetti.

The trio left the event to go to Pacetti's office where more wine swilling occurred. Pacetti said nighty-night, and the Liberal and NDP members were alone. There was a connection, or at least, one of them thought so.

The story now fast-forwards to Latendresse's home.  Andrews (yes, he's married, too) followed her home, said the sources quoted in the National Post.

He  "forced his way through her door, pushed her against a wall, groped her and ground his pelvis against her. She ordered him to leave. He did. Afterwards, sources say the woman alleges that Andrews repeatedly verbally harassed her, calling her a "cockteaser."

Seeing that this happened "within the past six months", its possible Trudeau was told that the harassment had continued that long. The indication is that Moore went to Trudeau to get him to tell Andrews to knock it off, but without making a big deal about it.

There's no contention that the complaint against Andrews is payback for a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the House in March, calling for an investigation of possible violations of election spending rules by the NDP.

In August, the Board of Internal Economy found that the NDP broke election law when they used funding intended to cover only the salaries of employees involved in duties related to the work of MP's in Parliament to pay staff who did constituency or partisan work.

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