NW Week

Friday, September 30, 2022

The House’s handling of harassment allegations has ‘no shortcomings’

House's handling of harassment allegations

Key Takeaways:

  • A new review of how the House of Commons investigates harassment allegations against MPs has found no shortcomings.
  • Rempel Garner did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The review was ordered by the Commons’ chief human resources officer after MPs raised concerns about handling an allegation against former MP Raj Saini, who resigned as a Liberal candidate during the election.

Saini was accused of harassing a female member of his staff. The former Kitchener Centre MP vehemently denied the allegations, which were first reported by news and have yet to be independently verified by The Canadian Press.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner requested that the House of Commons investigate whether its workplace harassment policy was strong enough to end a “culture of sexual misconduct” in Parliament.

Michelle Laframboise, the chief human resources officer, was asked to assess whether the policy had any shortcomings and if so, to propose appropriate changes.

Government House leader Mark Holland

On Thursday, Laframboise told the all-party board of internal economy, which oversees Commons administration, that the review found no shortcomings in the policy in place at the time of the allegations or in current procedures.

She also assured the board that there were no shortcomings in the “management of concerns in general.”

According to Government House leader Mark Holland, who sits on the board, the report demonstrated how “robust” the system was for investigating harassment allegations against MPs or Commons employees.

Holland stressed the importance of people feeling comfortable reporting incidents, saying that “people should feel free to come forward.” He also accused MPs of undermining public trust in the House of Commons system by criticizing it.

Laframboise informed the board that the Commons’ harassment policies are available to all employees. She stated that mediation, which must be offered, is a “useful tool” that a neutral third party carries out.

Retaliation against who has filed a complaint is “absolutely not” permitted under the policy, she said. During the election, Saini resigned in a barrage of questions about his behavior from opposition MPs.

Source: Global News

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