News Sep 4, 2021 8:17 PM EST

BREAKING: Liberal incumbent Raj Saini ends campaign over sexual misconduct allegations

Liberal incumbent Raj Saini is no longer running for Kitchener Centre after several allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in late August.

BREAKING: Liberal incumbent Raj Saini ends campaign over sexual misconduct allegations
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB
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Liberal incumbent Raj Saini is no longer running for Kitchener Centre after several allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in late August. Seven sources with knowledge of the claims divulged four different instances of Saini allegedly making unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate comments.

A former senior staffer filed a Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint against Saini alleging unwelcome advances and harassing behaviour.

Saini also supposedly followed another junior Liberal staffer around at several functions and asked for her phone number.

In a third case, a female employee reported she felt very uneasy about Saini calling her to his Ottawa office late at night and brought an employee with her from another MP's office so she wasn't alone with him, according to another source.

Reports by the CBC also found that one staffer who complained to staff about harassment attempted to take her own life in Saini's office last year.

Trudeau said Wednesday the party would follow an independent process to review the claims.

"This is something that Canadians expect. We make sure that there are proper, rigorous processes that everyone gets to go through when they come forward with concerns and allegations," he said.

"In this case, Mr. Saini has shared details about the multiple processes that have gone through over the past many months and the efforts that have been made to demonstrate we are taking seriously every single concern that is raised."

Saini released a statement Saturday afternoon citing the “false allegations” against him as the reason for suspending his campaign.

"On August 31, 2021, a story appeared in the national media stating that I had engaged in inappropriate behaviour with female staff," he wrote. "The statements are unequivocally false. I have never acted inappropriately towards staff, volunteers, or constituents."

Saini added that he was only made aware of one of the allegations, who he said "chose not to pursue a formal or informal complaint process." Saini claimed to have recommended an independent third-party review of his office that later dispelled the allegation.

"As the son of immigrants and a person of colour I have the strongest appreciation for Canada’s values of inclusivity, fairness and due process," values that he writes, "[gave] me the opportunity to pursue a higher education, develop a business of which I am proud, and serve the highest calling, that of a Member of Parliament."

Saini said the decision to end his campaign was "painful" and that he would focus his efforts moving forward to "challenge these defamatory false accusations."

A former staffer to the Trudeau Liberals called out the party for "victim blaming" on allegations towards incumbent MP Raj Saini, who is being accused of inappropriate behaviour towards female staffers.

"[I am] a staunch believer in protecting women against [people] like Raj," said Sharan Kaur. "I am beyond disappointed by how the PMO [and] party has handled this."

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