NDP MP Erin Weir alleges harassment complaint was retaliation
OTTAWA -- Saskatchewan NDP MP Erin Weir has confirmed that a complainant has come forward during the third-party investigation into allegations of harassment against him, in a statement claiming the complaint was made as retaliation.
In an emailed statement to CTV News, Weir states that he was presented with an anonymous complaint but claims he knows where it came from, and expressed concern over the "misuse of a harassment complaint to retaliate for his expression of differing views on public policy."
"I object to the use of backroom procedural tactics -- and now a trumped-up harassment complaint -- to shut down democratic debate in the New Democratic Party," Weir said.
Weir alleges the individual was a former NDP staff member who “intercepted” him on his way to the microphone at the 2016 Saskatchewan NDP convention to prevent him from speaking about concerns over the regional impact of the federal government’s price on carbon.
In an interview with Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play, Weir denied there was any “anger or belligerence” in the interaction, calling it a “disagreement.”
Weir said the complaint arises from an effort of party insiders to “shut down a debate they seemed contentious.”
His comments come after the CBC reported that multiple complaints of harassment surfaced during the third-party investigation process and cited the account of one anonymous woman. It is unknown whether any of the complaints reported were substantiated.
CTV News has asked the party for an updated comment. Prior to Weir speaking out, the NDP was staying tight-lipped on the report’s findings.
In a statement, Singh’s chief of staff Willy Blomme said the party is currently in the process of informing those involved of leader Jagmeet Singh’s decision as the result of the "detailed and fair investigation responding to serious allegations."
The party would not comment on the specifics of the allegations, out of respect for "protecting the identity of people who may have come forward."
Blomme said the findings that do not disclose confidential information will be released “as soon as possible.”
Singh had received the independent investigator’s report as of April 18.
"Those who may have come forward can only be contacted by the investigator. While this is an important aspect of the process, unfortunately it means that some time is required to properly respond to the report’s findings as well as to inform all involved of any decision that has been made," Blomme said.
University of Ottawa law professor Michelle Flaherty was the third-party brought in to investigate the allegations that were raised second-hand in February by fellow NDP MP Christine Moore, in an email to caucus.
According to a copy of Moore’s email previously obtained by CTV’s Power Play, Weir is named directly by Moore, who alleges that "too many women (mostly employee [sic])" have complained to her about Weir harassing them.
At the time, Singh called the allegation of Weir’s "harassing behaviour towards women" "troubling.”
Weir’s caucus duties were suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.