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Liberals: Email backlog to blame for delay in action on Sen. Kenny sexual harrassment allegations

OTTAWA – The Liberal Party of Canada is under fire after questions about when the Liberal Leader’s office first learned about a former staffer’s allegations of sexual harassment against Sen. Colin Kenny.

The Senate has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment levied against the longtime Liberal senator.

Kenny filed a letter of resignation Wednesday, effective Nov. 13, according to a Liberal spokesperson.

In a statement, the spokesperson says Pascale Brisson — a former staffer to Kenny — wrote an email outlining her allegations with the subject line “Senate Reform” on Aug. 22.

The office says it received approximately 400 emails that day with the same subject line and some 70,000 regarding Syria.

According to the office, as a result, the email “was triaged into a bulk folder of the Senate reform emails and was not seen by our office.”

The former staffer wrote another letter to the Liberal leader in the Senate on Oct. 24 regarding her initial email, which was flagged to Chief of Staff Cyrus Reporter, the office says.

The spokesperson says reporter followed up with Brisson “immediately, apologizing and explaining the delay” and met with the former staffer on Oct. 28.

Her Aug. 22 complaint and a summary of her meeting with Reporter was forwarded to the Senate clerk on Nov. 4, the office says.

The party is not saying whether it was aware of two other complaints against Kenny in 2001 and 2003. The Senate is also not commenting.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In a statement, Kenny says the allegations are “without merit.”

Deputy Liberal Leader Ralph Goodale says he was not aware of the allegations against Kenny.

“This series of events that have now come to light and are the subject of an official complaint and an investigation, are in fact, the first time that I have personally been aware of this at all,” he said.

NDP MP Jamie Nicholls says the delay in the follow-up is not acceptable.

“These are issues that need to be dealt with right away so any hesitation on anybody’s part is very troubling,” he said.

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