So much for the federal NDP’s pretense of being the party of fairness, equality and even reconciliation.
The differences between leader Jagmeet Singh’s and the federal party’s internal handling of two “inappropriate conduct” cases involving two NDP MPs recently are staggering … and horribly hypocritical.
Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir was elected for the NDP in the 2015 election … but, as reported by Global News “was suspended from the caucus in February after fellow New Democrat Christine Moore sent an email to her caucus colleagues saying she had heard numerous complaints about Weir allegedly harassing staffers.”
NO ONE had directly filed a complaint against Weir, but news reports at the time said he made women in the workplace uncomfortable by standing too close, talked too long to some, and had, according to Singh “failed to read non-verbal cues in social situations” that his advances were unwelcome.
Weir was IMMEDIATELY suspended from the NDP caucus while a third-party investigation took place: it supported “one claim of harassment and three claims of sexual harassment”.
“The report states that when he realized that his advances were unwanted, he stopped.” Singh admitted.
Weir said he never intended to embarrass or harass anyone and underwent counselling, but Singh would not budge and last week, the MP was EXPELLED from the NDP caucus.
“Singh’s letter to Weir, however, says he still hasn’t taken “responsibility publicly” for “attacking” former caucus colleagues. It also says the president of the NDP’s staff union warned him that Weir’s reinstatement would violate workers’ right to a harassment-free work environment.,” according to The Toronto Star.
Singh and the NDP being VERY TOUGH on sexual harassment or impropriety in the workplace! Bravo! Very principled!
But remember Christine Moore? She’s the NDP MP who reportedly had first brought Weir’s actions to the attention of Singh.
Well, she also got into hot water with the NDP … when two months after the Weir situation, it was revealed a seriously wounded Canadian Afghan War veteran and witness before a Parliamentary committee in 2013, accused Moore herself of “inappropriate sexual behaviour”.
Retired Corporal Glen Kirkland alleged the NDP MP had invited him back to her office, served him drinks, visited him in his hotel where they had sex, later sent him explicit messages and even showed up unannounced at his home in Manitoba, where he rebuffed her.
“Moore strongly denied the relationship with Glen Kirkland was anything but fully mutual and consensual” the CBC later reported.
But still ….
An MP getting involved in a sexual relationship with a witness at a Parliamentary committee sure seems WORSE to me … a LOT worse … than standing too close to others at work or “not heeding non-verbal signals”.
But apparently, NOT to Singh and the NDP.
Sure, they again ordered a third-party investigation … but the handling of that one, right from the start, and the outcome was QUITE different from what Weir had faced.
Moore was relieved on her duties, but she was NOT immediately suspended from caucus … as Weir had been … pending the investigation. Why not????
Kirkland later complained he wasn’t even interviewed as part of the investigation; and, in July, the investigation cleared Moore of any harassment and abuse of authority allegations; she was welcomed back to full duties within the NDP caucus.
So it certainly seems that, for the federal NDP, MPs having relationships/sex with witnesses appearing before their Parliamentary committees is quite ok … or at least forgivable, but standing close to people while talking and protesting one’s innocence, even while undergoing behaviour counseling … is not.
Again, from my personal point of view … having spent 38 years covering politicians at local, regional, provincial and even the federal level (including 8 years right there on Parliament Hill) … Moore’s admitted actions are FAR more troubling than Weir’s.
And yet, Singh has rejected Weir’s attempts at rehabilitation and reconciliation … and refused to accept him back in the NDP caucus or let him run for the party in the next federal election.
While Moore is embraced once more , the injured Canadian war vet Cpl. Kirkland ‘s complaint remains unresolved.
Looks to me like a federal NDP double standard: Weir (MP for Regina-Lewvan) is a male, from Saskatchewan (14 seats); Moore (MP for Abitibi-Temiscamingue) is a female, from Quebec (75 seats).
I think it stinks.
(Also want to wish a very Happy New Year … l’Shana Tova 5779 … to all my Jewish readers.)