NDP MP Erin Weir fears harassment allegation against him 'politically motivated'
OTTAWA – The NDP MP who is now the subject of an investigation into an allegation of "harassing behaviour towards women" says he feels the complaint made by a colleague "might have been politically motivated."
The investigation into NDP MP Erin Weir was announced by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Thursday, and is the result of an allegation levelled by NDP MP Christine Moore in an email to caucus on Tuesday evening.
According to a copy of the email 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.
Moore did not experience the alleged behaviour personally.
The email was sent in response to Weir’s pitch to caucus to support his bid for NDP caucus chair. In it, Moore says Weir is the "last person in the caucus" she would want to see get the position.
"As a women [sic] I would not feel comfortable to meet with you alone," Moore said of Weir in the email to caucus. “Given what’s going on right now in the political world, I think you should really not run to avoid us any trouble,” she wrote. "I know it harsh but I can’t lie."
Weir said while he is unaware if Moore is interested in the caucus chair position, he is unhappy with the way the process has unfolded.
"It feels like it might have been politically motivated," he said in an interview with Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play.
Though, in a statement to the media about her email, Moore said it’s "important that we take this kind of information seriously."
She said she has "confidence in the process that is being put in place and will be participating in any way I can."
In a press conference on Parliament Hill Thursday, Singh called the allegation of Weir’s "harassing behaviour towards women" "troubling," and said he is appointing an independent investigator to look into the matter.
"The concern is serious enough for me to take action," Singh said.
At this point, the NDP does not have a specific complainant coming forward, and the probe is based on the concerns raised by Moore in the email.
Weir said he does not know what is being alleged and hopes that having more specifics of what he is being accused of, will be the starting point of the investigation.
"That's really what I’m looking for, is to know what I’m being accused of," Weir said. In a statement earlier in the day Weir said he was "confident" he had not harassed anyone, and welcomed the process to clear his name.
"I just hope that it’s a proper process and one that proceeds promptly so that we can resolve this matter," he said.
Weir said he thinks he and his colleague can "move past this."
Based on what Singh is aware of, he said the allegation "does not suggest that it is sexual in nature, it’s just harassment."
Weir said he and all of caucus received Moore’s email Tuesday evening, and he got a call from Singh Wednesday morning asking him not to attend that day’s NDP caucus meeting.
"His rationale was that he didn’t want to provoke further conflict or a direct confrontation. That seems sensible to me, so I respected his wish," said Weir.
Weir’s caucus duties are being temporarily suspended, pending the outcome of the "fair and full examination of the facts," Singh said. This means while he will remain an NDP MP, he will not speak on behalf of the party during the process, meaning he will not hold any critic roles or sit on House committees.
Weir is a rookie MP, elected to the House of Commons for the first time in 2015. He represents the riding of Regina-Lewvan, Sask.