Don Martin: Erin Weir investigation worthy of being seen as a witch hunt
Published Thursday, May 3, 2018 5:52PM EDT
Even Erin Weir admits it. He’s socially awkward and doesn’t always pick up the signs he’s overstayed his welcome when talking to others.
The rookie MP from Saskatchewan looms large physically and has strong opinions, but colleagues confide he’s basically a harmless policy wonk with an economics background.
In other words, he’s among the unlikeliest of MPs to be the NDP’s first casualty of a harassment investigation - and we’re talking about an investigation worthy of being seen as a witchhunt.
Over the last few months, hundreds of NDP staff were invited to submit confidential evidence against Weir with the solemn promise by leader Jagmeet Singh that their complaints would be believed. Singh’s office also cold-called Weir’s female constituency staff, asking them to confide their concerns, according to Weir.
For Weir who, from the start, supported the investigation even though he was baffled about the nature of the initial allegation, there was growing concern his party leader was searching for evidence to uphold a complaint against him instead of finding the truth to set him free.
It wasn’t until earlier this week Weir figured out where all this was coming from, as leaks about multiple harassment findings dribbled out.
He says an allegation stemmed from an encounter at a policy conference where an official from the former leader’s office had intercepted and discouraged him talking off-script about carbon pricing.
He complied, but in the kumbaya world of the NDP, that constitutes harassment.
But it’s what came next that reels the mind. Weir’s public disclosure of the allegation as he protested his innocence was what did him in, not the investigation findings.
The leader said going public signaled Weir was unwilling to accept responsibility for his actions and had to be dumped.
That suggests Singh views the only acceptable response from an accused is to stay silent, embrace the allegations against you, accept full blame and engage rehabilitation. Denial or defending your reputation is not an option.
To smear Erin Weir's reputation over a physical proximity issue, if that's indeed all that happened, is to demean the definition of real life sexual harassment and elevate NDP political correctness to the level of paranoia.
Suddenly the socially awkward part of this mess belongs to the NDP leader who jettisoned a sitting MP who refused to be bullied into silence by someone in authority.
That's the Last Word.