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An 18-year-old groping allegation made in a B.C. newspaper against Justin Trudeau was recently thrust into the spotlight when a photo of the article detailing the encounter was posted online. The short editorial alleges that the Prime Minister (then a 28-year-old teacher) inappropriately touched a reporter at the Kokanee Summit Festival in Creston B.C. Trudeau addressed the allegations at an event over the Canada Day weekend, but his answers were short and unsatisfactory. He was pressed further by reporters on Thursday in Toronto after a meeting with newly-minted premier Doug Ford.

“I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago and, again, I feel I’m confident that I did not act inappropriately,” he said. He then elaborated to acknowledge that different people can interpret the same situation in completely opposite ways.

“Part of this awakening we’re having as a society —  a long-awaited realization is that it’s not just one side of the story that matters. That the same interactions can be experienced very differently from one person to the next,” he said, “And I am not going to speak for the woman in question — I would never presume to speak for her — but I know that there is an awful lot of reflection to be had as we move forward as a society on how people perceive different interactions.

“Like I said, I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way, but I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently and this is part of the reflections that we need to go through.”

In isolation that seems like a satisfying answer, but Trudeau must have sensed some sort of wrong-doing at the time of the incident because the editorial reports he gave the journalist a somewhat condescending apology. The article quotes him as having said to the reporter, “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.” Cringe.

Why apologize if you did nothing wrong?

“I’ve been reflecting on the actual interaction and if I apologized later, then it would have been because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction we had,” he said, “Like I said, I’ve been working very hard to piece it together and even when the original editorial came out at the time, I was fairly confident that I hadn’t acted in any way that I thought was inappropriate.”

Trudeau’s comments have left Canadians conflicted. He makes an important point about competing interpretations of the same situation, but his insistence that he did nothing wrong is reminiscent of every other man accused of sexual misconduct in the past eight months.

Trudeau also received criticism for going for a shirtless jog in Toronto the same day he addressed the allegations. Short video of the PM’s run made the rounds and people called out the media for their lighthearted coverage of it.