Christie Blatchford: ‘I wouldn’t have been in that position if (Christine Moore) wasn’t an MP’
|National Post 09 May 2018 at 14:59|
As the 34-year-old ex-soldier Glen Kirkland put it, “If she was pouring the coffee, I wouldn’t have gone.”
Kirkland is the man at the centre of Parliament Hill’s newest sexual harassment brouhaha: It was he who allegedly was hotly pursued by New Democratic Party MP Christine Moore, with whom he had a brief liaison only because, he said, he felt he had little choice.
“I’m not claiming rape or anything,” Kirkland told the National Post in a phone interview from Brandon, Man., where he lives and works as a realtor, Wednesday.
“But I wouldn’t have been in that position if she (Moore) wasn’t an MP.”
In other words, he said, if Moore had been a server pouring coffee and invited him back to her office, he wouldn’t have gone.
To borrow from a 2009 rom-com, he just wasn’t that into her.
But Moore was an MP and member of the House of Commons standing committee on national defence in June of 2013, when a number of wounded veterans testified about the lack of support they had received after returning to Canada and their battles with the immovable veterans’ bureaucracy.
Kirkland was among them.
As a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, he was seriously injured in 2008 when the Taliban ambushed his platoon in Afghanistan. Three of the five crew in Kirkland’s Light Armoured Vehicle were killed instantly.
The next thing I knew, she was beside me
As he told the committee that day, he lost 75 per cent of his hearing and some of his vision, sustained a brain injury so severe his pancreas stopped producing insulin and suffered from serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His testimony was emotional and raw.
The transcript of the proceedings show Moore asked him only two questions that day, one about whether his fiancée had been able to help him (he told her the woman “had kind of moved on” while he was overseas) and the other about an insulin pump, which, she said, as a nurse she knew can be “a very useful tool.”
Afterwards, he said, Moore invited him back to her office.
Kirkland said that at first, he thought she might have asked him back to give him medical advice because of her nursing background.
“I was so naïve I made sure I had the names of all the medication I was on,” he said.
There were others there too, in the beginning, Kirkland said, but Moore quickly began “shooing them out.”
By then he suspected she had a thing for him (“She’s only human,” he said jokingly), and he seized the chance to leave, too.
He began walking to his hotel, and “the next thing I knew, she was beside me.”
They spent that night together, Kirkland said, and the next day he was surprised that when he visited the office of another MP, a Liberal, “everyone knew (that he and Moore had been together) …The guys were kind of joking around and me being a guy, I went along with it. What were my options?”
He hadn’t told anyone about their encounter. As he put it, “I wasn’t bragging about that.”
Moore started sending him sexually explicit pictures, unsolicited. He has updated and changed phones many times since, and no longer has the messages. “They weren’t pictures I wanted to keep,” he said. “And no, I did not request them.”
What am I gonna do? She’s still an MP. Clearly, she had feelings for me, and though they weren’t reciprocated, I’m not a mean person
A few weeks later in July, he was on a golf course with some friends in Kenosee, Sask. He had told Moore, he said, where he was going, “but it definitely was not an invitation.” She showed up at the course. “It was very awkward. I was newly separated. I just wanted some me time.”
He remembered with faux bitterness that he didn’t even get in a full round of golf because he didn’t want to be seen in public with her.
Kirkland said Moore told him “the taxpayers” had paid for her to go to Regina, and she’d rented a car to go to see him.
(House of Commons’ records show that Moore spent about $40,000 of public money that year on travel, but there is no breakdown of destination or purpose for the trips. That sort of detail is provided only about cabinet ministers and their staff.)
He said during that visit, he told her flat out that they weren’t an item, and when she left, it was on a sort of “Have a nice life” basis, meaning they wouldn’t see one another again.
But a few weeks after that — Kirkland thinks it was in August — Moore messaged him again to say she was at the airport, on her way to see him.
She showed up at his house in Brandon.
“She had luggage in her hand,” he said.
“What am I gonna do? She’s still an MP. Clearly, she had feelings for me, and though they weren’t reciprocated, I’m not a mean person.