Harassment complaint was retaliation for trying to debate carbon tax: MP
by The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – A federal NDP MP is alleging that a member of former leader Tom Mulcair’s staff levelled an unfounded harassment complaint against him in retaliation for having questioned the Trudeau’s government national carbon-tax plan.
Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir says the harassment complaint was the most recent in a string of efforts by Mulcair and other party brass to clamp down on debate about the carbon tax and its potential impact on western Canada.
The allegations are contained in a statement released by Weir on Tuesday following revelations that a third-party investigation into harassment complaints against him has been completed.
The final report is currently with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and the party says it is sharing the results with those who came forward to complain about Weir before parts of the report are made public in the coming days.
The investigation was launched in February after Weir was accused by one of his caucus colleagues, Christine Moore, of having harassed several women, including NDP staff members.
While Moore said she had not personally experienced anything untoward, Singh deemed the allegations serious enough to suspend Weir and ask University of Ottawa law professor Michelle Flaherty to investigate.
Weir had pleaded his innocence the same day he was suspended, but otherwise maintained his silence while the investigation was being conducted – at least until Tuesday.
The former economist said he was forced to speak up after the CBC quoted an unnamed complainant who accused Weir of having spoken to her in an angry and belligerent way that made her feel physically intimidated.
“It is clear that the complainant is a former staff member in the (former) NDP leader’s office who intercepted Weir on the way to a microphone to prevent him from speaking on a resolution at the 2016 Saskatchewan NDP convention,” he wrote of himself, using the third person.
Weir said he wanted to debate a proposal calling for Canada to extend its carbon tax to imports from countries that do not have such levies and provide a rebate to Canadian-made exports, but that then-NDP caucus chair Charlie Angus and Mulcair “wished to suppress this discussion.
“In other words, the complaint arises not from Weir exercising authority over an employee, but from the former federal leader’s staff asserting their authority to shut down a debate they deemed contentious,” said Weir, who denied being angry or belligerent.
Weir went on to allege that Mulcair and Angus banned him from question period for several months “as punishment for having tried to raise the issue,” and accused both of having opposed his efforts to seek the NDP nomination in Regina-Lewvan in 2014.
Mulcair and Angus could not be immediately reached for comment.
NDP officials confirmed earlier Tuesday that Singh had received the final investigation report into the allegations against Weir about two weeks ago, and that the findings and Singh’s plan to address the situation are still being communicated to the complainants.
“We are in the midst of a detailed and fair investigation responding to serious allegations while at the same time protecting the identity of people who may have come forward,” Singh’s chief of staff, Willy Blomme, said in a statement.
“The report contains private and confidential information which cannot be disclosed. The findings of the investigation that do not breach confidentiality will be released as soon as possible.”
While the CBC reported Tuesday that Flaherty found multiple harassment complaints against Weir, and quoted the unnamed complainant, neither it nor the NDP would say whether Flaherty found any of the complaints to have had merit.
“Jagmeet Singh is dedicated to a fair process that respects anyone who may have come forward while providing a clear resolution and ensures a safe workplace for all,” Blomme said.