Former NDP MP facing sexual assault allegation

Romeo Saganash, a retired New Democrat MP. will go through a diversion program instead of court proceedings after being charged with sexual assault. Photo: APTN file

A former NDP MP has been accused of sexual assault.

Romeo Saganash, a First Nations politician who represented Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou in northern Quebec, confirmed the criminal charge on Friday.

“Yes,” he said when reached by phone.

Saganash, who has been living in Winnipeg, said he did not yet have a lawyer.

The veteran politician, who is Cree, made headlines in 2018 when he dropped the F-bomb in the House of Commons.

He was sanctioned for using unparliamentary language when he slammed the Liberal government for its handling of the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

A spokesperson for the federal NDP said Friday she was unaware of the charge.

“I don’t know but I’ll find out,” said Nina Amrov from Ottawa.

The crime of sexual assault includes a wide range of unwanted acts from inappropriate touching to rape, with penalties including everything from probation to prison.

The Winnipeg Police Service confirmed Saganash was charged with one count of sexual assault and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

“The incident (was reported) on May 1, 2023, in Winnipeg. Mr. Saganash was arrested on June 27, 2023, and charged with Sexual Assault,” said Const. Jason Michalyshen in an email to APTN.

It was September 2018, when Saganash accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of not caring about the rights of Indigenous peoples after the Federal Court quashed the controversial Trans Mountain expansion project.

“Why doesn’t the prime minister just say the truth and tell Indigenous peoples that he doesn’t give a f–k about their rights?” Saganash said in the House.

Later, he apologized and withdrew the word.

Editor’s note: The story was updated 19/08/23 to add information from the Winnipeg Police Service.

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