January 2, 2019 (Edmonton) –Karen McPherson, MLA Calgary-Mackay Nose Hill and Alberta Party Caucus Whip, said today the Notley NDP government needs to do more to address sexual misconduct allegations within its ranks.

McPherson sent a letter to the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature in November 2018. She expressed concern about sexual misconduct allegations involving two unnamed, sitting members of the NDP government caucus in the Alberta Legislature and asked him to review how the investigation into these allegations was handled. Today, McPherson released the Speaker’s reply and her comments about it:

“I am gravely concerned about the Speaker’s response. It dismissed my specific concerns about sexual misconduct allegations levelled against two sitting members of the Notley NDP government, whether the investigation was adequate given the seriousness of the matter, and transparency about the outcome of this investigation.”

“The Speaker’s response is disappointing because it essentially confirms the concerns I expressed in my letter. We still don’t know the nature of the complaints – only that they were “inappropriate” and “non-criminal.” This answer doesn’t give Albertans confidence in the investigative process, and they deserve better – they deserve to know the truth.”

“If the Notley NDP government is serious about addressing workplace misconduct, it should immediately refer the Respectful Workplace Policy for Legislative Assembly Office Employees to the Member Services Committee for review, with direction to remove the following, without delay:

– the 30-day time limitation requirement for staff or a Member to come forward with a complaint or allegation. Given that, in March 2017 the NDP introduced Bill 2 to remove time limits for civil sexual assault suits, employees of the Legislative Assembly should also have no time limit to file a complaint– the same as members of the public;

– the “option” to appoint an independent investigator “if required” in cases where the complaint involves an MLA. Independent, third-party investigation must be an automatic requirement in this case, and not an option.”

“There must be a higher standard of transparency when a serious allegation such as sexual misconduct involves someone holding a public, elected position – like an MLA,” said McPherson. “Political parties have skin in the game and a high degree of motivation to keep the findings of these investigations private. And I don’t buy the Premier’s assertion that this investigation had to be secret to protect the identities of the complainants. There are ways to protect the identity of complainants and still maintain the confidentiality of the investigative process.”

Attachment: Letter from the Speaker, Alberta Legislature

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Contact:

Barbara Currie

Executive Director, Alberta Party Caucus

780-289-6793

Barbara.Currie@assembly.ab.ca


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