Opposition MHAs want answers on secret Elections N.L. report

·2 min read
Interim Progressive Conservative Leader David Brazil says the Liberal government should have moved faster to deal with the allegations in a report on harassment and bullying at Elections N.L. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Interim Progressive Conservative Leader David Brazil says the Liberal government should have moved faster to deal with the allegations in a report on harassment and bullying at Elections N.L. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Mark Quinn/CBC
Mark Quinn/CBC

Opposition politicians in Newfoundland and Labrador say public officials need to explain why it took so long for them to do anything about a report into workplace harassment and bullying at Elections N.L.

The provincial government acknowledged the report's existence Tuesday, with Premier Andrew Furey telling reporters the first he knew it existed for sure outside public commentary was on Monday, when he says the report landed on his desk.

But opposition MHAs say if they had heard rumours about the report for weeks, then the premier and his cabinet minister should have known about it, or done more to confirm its existence.

"Let's call a spade a spade: I raised this in the House of Assembly some two or three weeks ago," Independent MHA Paul Lane said.

"The minute that that question came across the floor of the House Assembly, I would have immediately, if I were premier, been on the horn with the Speaker, saying, 'What's going on? Do you have a report? What's going on?' I certainly wouldn't just sit back and pretend it didn't exist."

Interim PC Leader David Brazil said Wednesday public officials have a responsibility to act quickly when faced with reports of harassment and bullying in public institutions.

"We're baffled that the proper process hasn't been followed to this point," Brazil said. "We need to move this along, because this is affecting people's lives."

Jeremy Eaton/CBC
Jeremy Eaton/CBC

In May, a person subpoenaed by the provincial citizens' representative as part of an investigation told CBC News they were interviewed for several hours about workplace harassment and bullying.

On Tuesday, Furey told reporters he believed House of Assembly Speaker Derek Bennett had the report for "a couple of months at least."

"Maybe there was a legitimate reason why it was delayed," Brazil said. "If that's the case, it's up to the Speaker to share that with us. Share it with the House of Assembly. Share with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

A toxic workplace 'allowed to continue'

Lane said he believes inaction by the government and the Speaker of the House of Assembly means there's been no change inside Elections N.L. since the report was finished.

"I don't think the reasonable person would say that the diligent thing to do here is to sit on the report for some two and a half, three months," Lane said.

According to Lane, who has told reporters he has had some contact with the individuals who were interviewed by the citizen's representative, there had been no significant changes at Elections N.L. as of a few weeks ago.

CBC
CBC

"That's totally unacceptable that that would be allowed to continue, assuming it's still continuing," he said.

Furey has pledged to release the report, but only after it is scrubbed by the province's privacy commissioner. He also says he will send it to the House of Assembly Management Commission.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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