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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Liberal candidate accused of inappropriate behaviour says he is ending his re-election campaign

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TORONTO — Liberal MP Raj Saini has announced that he will be ending his campaign for re-election in the Ontario riding of Kitchener Centre amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Saini, who has been accused of behaving inappropriately toward female staffers, said in a Twitter statement Saturday that “continuing my campaign no longer serves the best interests of my family, staff members, campaign team and constituents.”

Saini’s campaign team clarified to CTV News via email that while Saini will no longer be campaigning, his name will remain on the ballot, as the deadline to deregister with Elections Canada has already passed. 

Earlier this week, the CBC reported four cases from unnamed sources describing instances in which Saini allegedly made unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate comments toward female staff members.

Saini has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. In his statement announcing the end of his re-election campaign, he repeated his claim that the allegations are “unequivocally false.”

“I will be focusing all my attention and efforts to challenge these defamatory false accusations and am in the process of consulting legal counsel to review all options,” he added.

He said that he was only aware of one complaint regarding his office, and that the person involved declined to file a formal complaint. He has also said that upon learning about the allegation, he insisted on an independent third-party review of his office done through the House of Commons, which he said “found that nothing arose regarding concerns of harassment in the office.”

Saini was first elected in 2015. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau faced criticism this week for standing by Saini.

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