Liberal candidate Raj Saini no longer running due to harassment allegations

·1 min read

KITCHENER, Ont. — A Liberal candidate facing allegations he harassed a female staff member is no longer running in in the southern Ontario riding of Kitchener Centre.

Raj Saini had faced complaints that he harassed a former member of his staff, allegations he firmly denies.

The allegations, reported by CBC, have not been independently verified by the Canadian Press.

The Liberals say a House of Commons workplace review process probing unspecified allegations cleared Saini of any wrongdoing last year, but say the party has since launched a different investigation based on new information received on Friday.

The party says Saini is no longer a candidate.

Saini, meanwhile, says the decision was his, noting in a statement that continuing his campaign no longer serves the best interests of his family, staff, campaign team or constituents.

Saini says he will now focus on fighting allegations he describes as "false" and "defamatory."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had ruled out any further probe into Saini's conduct on Friday, saying the existing process for assessing such allegations was strong and rigorous.

The Liberals say they began investigating Saini last year after hearing an allegation against him, but the person who made the allegation chose not to pursue a complaint or participate in the process.

They say that at that point, the House of Commons conducted an independent workplace review, which didn't find any concerns about harassment in his office.

The party says it approved Saini's candidacy on the basis of that review.

The Liberals have come under pressure from the Conservatives and NDP over their decision to allow Saini to seek office for a third time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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