NDP Leader Singh turns down Weir's request to be reinstated in caucus
OTTAWA - NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has turned down Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir’s request to be reinstated in caucus and will not allow him to run for the party in the 2019 election.
Weir was expelled from caucus in May following an investigation of sexual harassment allegations.
“I recognize that recent public conflicts within the federal NDP caucus have been harmful to our party,” Weir wrote to Singh on August 27, asking to rejoin the caucus.
“I am sorry to have become one of the participants in such conflict. I have learned, and will continue to learn, from the experience.”
In a letter obtained by CTV News, Singh wrote that “I am not satisfied that you have taken the actions necessary to rectify the harm you caused and the damage you have done to our work of building a safer workplace and party.”
Singh referred to a meeting with Weir on June 21 that Weir had requested.
“I have not seen evidence of a genuine understanding of how your behaviour needs to change or an expression of regret and remorse for describing sustained findings of harassment as ’trumped up.’
“I will not be reinstating you to the Federal NDP caucus and will not approve your candidacy to run for the NDP in 2019…. My decision is final.”
A group of 67 former Saskatchewan NDP MPs and provincial politicians also wrote to Singh on Monday, asking him to reinstate the MP.
“We believe that your decision to expel Weir from the federal NDP caucus is a serious mistake and has ramifications for the party not only here in Saskatchewan but across the country,” the former politicians warn.
They describe the third-party investigation of allegations against Weir as “a fishing expedition” that wasn’t based on any specific complaint.
The party launched the investigation after Weir sent an email to other MPs saying he wanted to run for caucus chair. Quebec NDP MP Christine Moore responded to the email that he was “the last person” who should get the job and referred to allegations she had heard from others against him.
The investigation upheld one claim of harassment and three claims of sexual harassment against the Regina-Lewvan MP.
Former Saskatchewan MPs Lorne Nystrom, John Solomon and Dick Proctor are among those who signed the letter, sent to the party president and entire NDP caucus, save for Moore.
It includes a letter sent to the House of Commons’ chief human resources officer, from a consultant who met with Weir after the investigator’s report. She writes that she is “confident that he now both understands the nature of the behaviours the investigator found to be objectionable…. I do not see that any further immediate coaching is needed; he gets it.”
The consultant also noted in her letter than the sexual harassment findings were on “‘less serious’ end of the spectrum” and concerned his habit of standing too close to others and not picking up on non-verbal cues.
She said Weir needs to be “going forward, more alert and respectful in regard to his size, his large voice and his animated gestures.”
The letter comes as the NDP heads into an end-of-summer caucus meeting in Surrey, B.C., later this month and amid rumblings of concern from some party members about Singh’s leadership.