DARSHAN Kang, Liberal MP from Calgary-McCall, on Thursday resigned from the Liberal caucus amidst allegations of sexual harassment by two females who worked for him. He said in a statement that he will focus on clearing his name.
Kang said he appreciates that the parliamentary process under which he’s being investigated allows him to give his “perspective” on the allegations, the Toronto Star reported on Friday.
He added: “However, I do not wish my present circumstances to further distract from any of the good work being carried out by my colleagues in the government.”
The resignation came after The Hill Times, that was the first to report the first case of alleged sexual harassment on August 11, reported on Thursday that a second woman, who worked for Kang when he was an MLA, had also made allegations of sexual harassment against him. She alleged that Kang had groped and kissed her repeatedly in 2011 and 2012.
The Toronto Star on Friday reported that it had confirmed from Charles-Eric Lepine, chief of staff to the Liberal government whip, that the party had received the allegations.
ON Tuesday, the federal NDP had demanded that Prime Minister Justin Tudeau remove Kang from caucus for alleged sexual harassment of a staffer.
NDP Critic for the Status of Women, Sheila Malcolmson said in a statement: “Today, I’m calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately remove MP Darshan Kang from the Liberal caucus given the serious allegations of sexual harassment levied against him, as well as the allegation that he attempted to cover it up.
“In the past, the Prime Minister has advocated a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to handling allegations of sexual harassment by Liberal MPs. Yet the Prime Minister has failed to act and refused to comment, even though the allegations against Mr. Kang surfaced weeks ago.
“That is not the leadership of a feminist Prime Minister.
“Until such time as a full investigation can be completed Mr. Kang should not sit as a member of the governing party. That is exactly what Prime Minister used to say and do; I am at a loss as to why he has refused to take similar action in response to these allegations.”
THE Toronto Star on Tuesday revealed details of the alleged sexual harassment by Kang of a 24-year-old staffer who worked in his constituency office in Calgary and his alleged attempt to pay her $100,000 to prevent her from telling her parents about it.
Trudeau when asked about the allegations by the media on Monday did not answer the question directly, saying only that “our whip’s office and the human resources of the Parliament of Canada are engaged, as they must be, in this process.” He added that he could not say more than that because of the ongoing independent process.
The Hill Times had reported on August 11 that Kang’s staffer approached Liberal whip Pablo Rodriguez with her complaint in June. It said that an external investigator was hired to look into the allegations and recently submitted a report on the matter. Kang was expected to be kicked out of caucus.
The Star reported that Kang had allegedly been sexually harassing his staffer for four to five years, giving her unwelcome hugs, holding and stroking her hand in his car.
On one occasion, Kang even took the staffer to an apartment in Ottawa and allegedly offered her wine and tried to take off her jacket. The next day, he followed her to her hotel and tried to get into her room, the alleged victim’s father told the Star.
The father said that Kang had been a good friend and he had helped him during his election campaigns. He said that he and his wife were puzzled when their daughter told them two or three times that she wanted to quit her job.
The father wants Kang to publicly apologize and resign as MP. He told the Star that he will wait for any parliamentary probe before considering legal action.
None of the allegations has been proven.
Kang has not responded to media requests for comment.
KANG, a former Liberal MLA for Calgary-McCall, defeated Conservative MP Devinder Shory in Calgary Skyview in October 2015.
He immigrated to Canada from India in 1970, after obtaining a pre-medical degree at the University of Indore. He first worked as a journeyman welder before becoming a commercial realtor; he went on to be named the top realtor in his company and the fifth highest performer in Alberta.
Kang ran in 2004 but was unsuccessful; in 2008 and 2012, however, he was elected to represent Calgary-McCall in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly. He served on a number of standing committees as an MLA, including Public Accounts, and Families and Communities. Along with serving as the whip, Kang was also the Critic for Transportation, Service Alberta, Infrastructure, Tourism, and Parks and Recreation.