A Saskatchewan MP who was kicked out of the NDP caucus after allegations of harassment says he wants party Leader Jagmeet Singh to join him in requesting a review of the investigation that led to his expulsion.
Erin Weir, who represents the federal riding of Regina-Lewvan, said he hopes the head of human resources of the House of Commons or the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal can be convinced to take a second look at the investigation led last spring by University of Ottawa professor Michelle Flaherty.
Mr. Weir said the “ideal scenario would be a joint request” for a review to be put forward by him and Mr. Singh. “[The leader’s] office structured the process to use some provisions of the House of Commons policy on preventing and addressing harassment but to exclude the appeal provisions,” he said. "There really wasn’t an opportunity to request an appeal under that process.”
Mr. Singh, however, indicated no interest on Wednesday in asking for such a review. The investigation was fair and just and “was up to the best practices of the day. I stand by the process and the results of that process and my decision,” he told reporters. “As a leader, it’s my responsibility to set a positive example. If I am committed to building a safe workplace, I have got to stand up for that principle.”
Ms. Flaherty’s investigation found that one claim of harassment and three claims of sexual harassment against Mr. Weir were “sustained by the evidence.” He was accused of standing too close to people at social events and extending conversations longer than was mutually desired.
Mr. Singh booted Mr. Weir from caucus in May after the MP spoke publicly about the investigation’s findings and made comments that could have identified the complainant. The NDP Leader said it was apparent from his comments in the media that Mr. Weir had failed to take “appropriate responsibility" for his behaviour.”
But more than five dozen former Saskatchewan NDP MLAs and MPs recently signed a letter raising concerns about Mr. Singh’s handling of the case, to which Mr. Singh responded by saying he would not change his decision around Mr. Weir’s expulsion.
Mr. Weir, who has apologized to the women who said they felt threatened by him and has completed all of the remedial actions that were requested, says he will still seek the NDP nomination in his riding. He suggests the complaints against him may have been related to the interest he expressed last January in becoming chair of his party’s caucus.
Christine Moore, a fellow New Democrat, reportedly told Mr. Weir and the rest of the caucus at that time that Mr. Weir was the “last person” who should be named caucus chair because, although she had personally experienced no problems with him, she had heard complaints about harassment from women employed by the NDP.
Ms. Moore was later the subject of a sexual-harassment investigation herself after a veteran said she had engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour with him. She was cleared of wrongdoing in July and Mr. Singh has allowed her to remain in the NDP caucus.
Mr. Weir said he believes there are too many inconsistencies to allow the investigation of his behaviour to stand without a second look.
“On the one hand, we have Mr. Singh stating that the investigation’s findings of standing too close, talking too long and having an argument make me a threat to workplace security,” he said. “On the other hand, we have a large number of people raising serious concerns about the investigation’s lack of due process and expansive interpretation of harassment.”