WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government says it is “pausing” its relationship with Gordon Campbell following an allegation in a British newspaper that the former B.C. premier groped a woman in the United Kingdom.
Campbell was hired by Manitoba last fall to review two major hydro projects that have added billions of dollars to the provincial debt.
The government says that appointment is on hold until the allegation is investigated.
Last week, the Daily Telegraph reported that London police are investigating a complaint from a woman who was an employee at the Canadian High Commission when Campbell was high commissioner to the U.K.
The newspaper said the woman alleges she was groped in 2013 and filed a complaint with police in January.
Campbell has declined comment, but in a statement he says the allegation had previously been investigated by the Canadian government and was ruled unfounded.
“This complaint was transparently disclosed and became the subject of a full due diligence investigation at the time by the government of Canada and was found to be without merit,” Campbell says.
The Telegraph reported that Scotland Yard issued a statement that confirmed it is investigating the allegation. The statement said a 54-year-old woman alleges she was sexually assaulted at an address in Grosvenor Square and that no arrests have been made.
The woman declined to comment on the allegations when reached by The Canadian Press.
The Manitoba government says it will wait for the results of the U.K. police investigation.
“The province of Manitoba is committed to being a leader in policies and practices that prevent and address harassment in the workplace,” says a statement from Crown Services Minister Colleen Mayer. “In the interest of reserving judgment until the facts come to light, we are pausing Mr. Campbell’s role in the review until the responsible authorities have completed their review of these allegations.”
Campbell was the Liberal premier of British Columbia from 2001 to 2011, and served as Canada’s high commissioner to the U.K. from 2011 to 2016.
Manitoba hired him last October to look at whether the Keeyask generating station and Bipole Three transmission line – projects built under the former NDP government – were based on sound economics.
His final report was expected by the end of this year.
Communications marketing firm Edelman had already suspended its consulting arrangement with Campbell in light of the U.K. allegation.
The company said the suspension was “mutually decided” with Campbell.