Ridout Barron


Former cabinet minister faces sexual harassment claim

A former cabinet minister from Manitoba's branch of the New Democrat Party will find out very soon whether he will be allowed to be reinstated to his party. Calgary residents may already be aware the former minister was the subject of a sexual harassment claim last November. If sufficient evidence of wrongdoing on his part is presented, he could be removed from caucus and face civil litigation from the claimed victim. 

The specifics of the claim have not been made public in this report. However, sources within the party say the man may have been dismissed from his position after accusations surfaced of him making inappropriate overtures and comments of a sexual nature to someone in the party's employ, allegedly a subordinate. His privilege to attend the provincial caucus was formally suspended in November. 

Since that time, both the party and the minister have withheld comment on the ongoing case to the press. It has been revealed this is not the first time the minister has faced charges of this type: he settled a similar complaint informally several years prior to this one. His representation has claimed he is attending sensitivity training and is cooperating with party leadership. 

Politicians, like anyone in a position of power over others, have particular scrutiny applied to them when a harassment claim is filed against them. This is because here in Calgary as elsewhere in the country, politicians are held to a higher standard due to that power, which is still far too easy to abuse. If this minister is permanently removed from caucus as a result of being found guilty of sexual harassment, employment law may also rule in favour of the claimant. 

Source: CTV News, "Manitoba politician accused of harassment will see fate decided next Tuesday", Jan. 3, 2017

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