Canada Defense Chief Quits in Stripper Scandal : Canada’s Defense Minister Quits Over Sex Club Story
Canadian Defense Minister Robert Coates resigned today over published allegations that he visited a West German nightclub last November that featured nude dancers and prostitutes.
Coates told the House of Commons that he is innocent of allegations that Canadian security was breached and that he has begun legal action against the Ottawa Citizen, which published the charges.
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who installed the veteran Nova Scotia member of Parliament as his defense minister last September when the Progressive Conservatives swept the federal election, accepted Coates’ resignation.
Mulroney also told the Commons that he looked into the matter immediately after it was brought to his attention by a senior government official.
No Effect on Security
“At no time and under no circumstances was national security affected in any way,” the prime minister said.
The incident, according to the newspaper report, occurred during a four-country NATO trip by the defense minister and his aides. A Canadian force is stationed in Lahr, and the incident was reported to have occurred after a dinner at the base.
The report said Coates spent about two hours drinking and chatting with a stripper while his two aides disappeared with two women to another part of the nightclub in Lahr, West Germany.
A source told the Canadian Press news agency that Coates and his aides were receiving security protection throughout the trip, so it became known quickly in Ottawa that the three had visited the nightclub.
‘Wrong and Libelous’
Coates, his voice choked with emotion, told the Commons that the report was “wrong and libelous” in suggesting that any breach of security occurred.
“I’m a man of honor who respects Parliament,” he said.
He gave no further explanation for resigning but said he assured the prime minister of his innocence and his conduct.
External Affairs Minister Joe Clark also told the Commons that there had been no breach of security and that therefore Canada’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies were not informed of the incident.
There was no immediate word on when a new minister of defense will be appointed.
It was the first Cabinet resignation for the young Mulroney government.