Erin Weir accused of "harassment"

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Pondering

Unionist wrote:
And it's pretty clear by now that nothing that happened qualifies as "sexual harassment", unless we rewrite the dictionary. Of course, when everything is secret, everyone can conclude whatever they want. So who the hell knows.

So you are calling into question the ability of University of Ottawa law professor Michelle Flaherty to determine what is and isn't workplace harassment?

Professor Flaherty’s teaches labour law, administrative law and human rights.  

In 2011, Professor Flaherty was inducted into the Common Law Honours Society for her service to the law school and the profession. As a Vice-chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Professor Flaherty has conducted countless mediations and presided over hundreds of hearings.  Important precedential decisions include Garrie v. Janus Joan Inc., 2012 HRTO 1955 (CanLII); Dallaire v. Les Chevaliers de Colomb, 2011 HRTO 639 (CanLII); Doyle v. Canarm, 2009 HRTO 674 (CanLII); Huang v. 1233065 Ontario, 2011 HRTO 825 (CanLII). 

Notalib

By calling the allegations a “trumped-up harassment complaint” aimed to “shut down democratic debate” you’re effectively dog-whistling to those who seek to blame women for their own experiences of harassment. By quoting right-wing pundits attacking the #MeToo movement in an email to supporters, you’re spurring on those who would characterize the widespread outings of abusive men as “witch hunts.” This case is not just about you – it’s about feeding into a system that silences and punishes women for coming forward.

Found here: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/blog/view/dear-erin-weir-what-are-you-doing

Unionist

*bump*

For those who have forgotten that this discussion exists.

Unionist

Serious question: Has anyone ever heard of a complaint policy where the complainant remains anonymous throughout the process? Just wondering, because I haven't, and I can't believe such an aberration exists. I'm referring to complaints of harassment filed against individuals - not e.g. whistle-blowing about safety or corruption or similar systemic problems.

cco

Nope (at least, until recently). At most, organizations might have internal disciplinary policies where both accuser and accused remain anonymous to the public. But one where the accused is punished without ever learning the identity of the accuser, let alone having any opportunity to mount a defense, might charitably be called "Kafkaesque".

Pondering

Kaf·ka·esque

ˌkäfkəˈesk/

adjective

adjective: Kafkaesque

characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka's fictional world.

I haven't read those books. Did the accused have the opportunity to reject the findings and call bullshit? Because all the men had that choice available to them. Couldn't Weir sue the NDP for deflamation of character? He has been accused of 3 counts of sexual harassment. If they are all trumped up and without basis, beyond standing a little too close and talking a little too long, I should think he has excellent grounds. Maybe it takes time to find the right lawyer and develop the case a bit after the investigation and report are in, a few months even, but I expect to see lawsuits for libel if the NDP has blackened Weir's reputation without proof.

Rev Pesky

From the article posted by Notalib:

By calling the allegations a “trumped-up harassment complaint” aimed to “shut down democratic debate”

This article is a bit amusing because the writer obviously hasn't looked at the issues. Let's just remember there was one complaint of harassment tied to the incident wherein Weir was not allowed to speak at a convention.

​That is the complainant who went public, and that is the complaint Weir refers to as "trumped up" and an attempt to "shut down debate" which it most certainly was.

The other three complaints, which we don't know what they consisted of, were addressed by Weir in a way that made it seem he accepted them, and suggested he would learn form them. If anyone knows whether they were anything different than what he said, please enlighten us. 

But of course, that is part of the problem. I admit I have no idea what constitutes sexual harassment. I mean, I can think of things that I would consider sexual harassment. Say, asking someone out, over and over even after being told no, and after being told not to ask anymore. Or making sexual remarks about someone, either in their hearing, or to others within the same workplace. So I'm not completely bereft of ideas of what sexual harassment is.

On the other hand, I know also that different people have different tolerance levels for all sorts of things. What someone might call a dirty joke, some other person might find totally innocuous. I'm reminded of the story of the elderly lady who phoned the police because some young boys were skinny dipping in the river that ran past her house. The cop showed up, went down to the river and shooed the boys away further down the river. A hour of so later, the same phone call with the same complaint, and the same cop shows up and again shooes the boys further down the river.

A short time later, the same phone call for the same problem, but this time the cop said, "Ma'am, I moved them a good long way down the river, I surprised you can still see them. To which she replied, " I can if I take my binoculars upstairs and look through them while I stand on a chair at the bathroom window."

I should point out here that I have quite a bit of experience dealing with people in a professional workplace. For a number of years I crossed the border into the USA damn near every day, some days twice. That meant I was dealing with border guards on both sides of the border on an almost daily basis.

One of the things that border guards cannot do, is become friends with the people who go throught the border, no matter how many times they see them. There is a rule against 'fraternizing'. I learned to always keep it professional. And if I had one piece of advice for anyone in a workplace, that's what I would tell them, keep it professional. You'll never go wrong.

I respected the border personnel, and eventually they respected me as well. They knew that they didn't have to worry about me 'crossing the line'. In fact, in the end, I was addressed by first name on both sides of the border (I should probably add that I was importing cars into Canada from the USA, and I was always straight-up in that business. That's part of the reason I was on good terms with them).

If I were the boss in some workplace, and complaints were received about a particular worker, I would sit that person down and tell them the rules of workplace harmony. If that failed, I would go a step further in dealing the employee, perhaps suggesting training of some sort, but also letting them know that the behaviour had to stop, or they'd be looking for a job. Further complaints would result in dismissal. I believe this is a procedure followed in many workplaces.

What happend to Weir was nothing like that at all. He sent out an email asking for the position of caucus chairman, and Moore, upon receiving it sent out her own email accusing Weir of unspecified bad things, saying she wouldn't want to be alone with him in a room, and that he had no business asking to be caucus chair.

After that we know more or less what happened.

Now, for interest sake, there is the case of Elizabeth May, and accusations of workplace harassment against her. According to the report (courtesy The Star):

OTTAWA—The Green Party announced Thursday that an external investigation concluded that accusations levelled against longtime leader Elizabeth May do not constitute workplace harassment.

The now-dismissed complaints, first reported by the Toronto Star in January, came from three former party employees, who accused May of creating a toxic work environment with behaviour that included yelling at staff and putting them down in front of their colleagues.

...According to the summary, Block (Toronto lawyer Sheila Block) concluded the allegations against May, “if accepted as true, do not rise to the level of workplace harassment,” as defined by Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. The summary says that definition would require showing May engaged “in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker … that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”

Isn't that almost exactly the circumstance of Weir and the NDP staffer? In fact I'd say his transgression was a lot less than hers, in that hers appears to have been carried on over a period of time.

So what constitutes workplace harassment? No one knows.

josh

Pondering wrote:

Unionist wrote:
And it's pretty clear by now that nothing that happened qualifies as "sexual harassment", unless we rewrite the dictionary. Of course, when everything is secret, everyone can conclude whatever they want. So who the hell knows.

So you are calling into question the ability of University of Ottawa law professor Michelle Flaherty to determine what is and isn't workplace harassment?

Professor Flaherty’s teaches labour law, administrative law and human rights.  

In 2011, Professor Flaherty was inducted into the Common Law Honours Society for her service to the law school and the profession. As a Vice-chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Professor Flaherty has conducted countless mediations and presided over hundreds of hearings.  Important precedential decisions include Garrie v. Janus Joan Inc., 2012 HRTO 1955 (CanLII); Dallaire v. Les Chevaliers de Colomb, 2011 HRTO 639 (CanLII); Doyle v. Canarm, 2009 HRTO 674 (CanLII); Huang v. 1233065 Ontario, 2011 HRTO 825 (CanLII). 

So, an appeal to authority.  Even the most brilliant legal minds are subject to scrutiny.  That's why their reasoning is typically set forth.  There's no reason that a redacted version of her findings could not be released.  Or at least a summary.  But no, so far nothing.

josh

Notalib wrote:

By calling the allegations a “trumped-up harassment complaint” aimed to “shut down democratic debate” you’re effectively dog-whistling to those who seek to blame women for their own experiences of harassment. By quoting right-wing pundits attacking the #MeToo movement in an email to supporters, you’re spurring on those who would characterize the widespread outings of abusive men as “witch hunts.” This case is not just about you – it’s about feeding into a system that silences and punishes women for coming forward.

Found here: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/blog/view/dear-erin-weir-what-are-you-doing

You must remain silent, even when publically attacked.  You cannot defend yourself.  But rather accept the verdict without complaint, regardless of the facts or the legal significance of the facts. 

Unionist

Pondering wrote:

Unionist wrote:
And it's pretty clear by now that nothing that happened qualifies as "sexual harassment", unless we rewrite the dictionary. Of course, when everything is secret, everyone can conclude whatever they want. So who the hell knows.

So you are calling into question the ability of University of Ottawa law professor Michelle Flaherty to determine what is and isn't workplace harassment?

Professor Flaherty’s teaches labour law, administrative law and human rights.  

In 2011, Professor Flaherty was inducted into the Common Law Honours Society for her service to the law school and the profession. As a Vice-chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Professor Flaherty has conducted countless mediations and presided over hundreds of hearings.  Important precedential decisions include Garrie v. Janus Joan Inc., 2012 HRTO 1955 (CanLII); Dallaire v. Les Chevaliers de Colomb, 2011 HRTO 639 (CanLII); Doyle v. Canarm, 2009 HRTO 674 (CanLII); Huang v. 1233065 Ontario, 2011 HRTO 825 (CanLII). 

I'll let you know what I think of Prof. Flaherty when:

1. I've read her report.

2. I've examined the terms of her contract with the NDP to conduct this investigation.

3. I've seen an explanation from her (or anyone) as to how one can investigate and rule on harassment complaints where the alleged harasser is not allowed to know who has filed which complaint.

Take your time.

Notalib

NDP MP Christine Moore, who has denied harassing a wounded Afghanistan veteran in 2013 on the Hill, likely had no choice but to publicly defend herself in a nationally televised press conference on Monday in her Quebec riding when she offered intimate, personal details and a chronology of their first sexual encounter, say some political observers.

https://www.hilltimes.com/2018/05/16/ndp-mp-moore-likely-no-choice-defen...

Unionist

Notalib wrote:

NDP MP Christine Moore, who has denied harassing a wounded Afghanistan veteran in 2013 on the Hill, likely had no choice but to publicly defend herself in a nationally televised press conference on Monday in her Quebec riding when she offered intimate, personal details and a chronology of their first sexual encounter, say some political observers.

https://www.hilltimes.com/2018/05/16/ndp-mp-moore-likely-no-choice-defen...

You're in the wrong thread, buddy. This one is about Erin Weir.

But thanks for another stupid laughable article, like your previous one from Briar Patch. This one quotes experts Nancy Peckford (named one of the Women's Executive Network Top 100 Powerful Women in Canada in 2014) and Rachel Curran (former strategic advisor to Stephen Harper) explaining why Christine Moore just had to publicly flaunt her sexual adventures once the Afghan invader boy had gone public.

Great champions Moore has! They deserve each other. Has she been dumped yet? Haven't heard the news this morning...

Now back to this thread, please.

wage zombie

josh wrote:

You must remain silent, even when publically attacked.  You cannot defend yourself.  But rather accept the verdict without complaint, regardless of the facts or the legal significance of the facts. 

What are you talking about?  If Erin Weir has a valid case against the NDP, that's a lawsuit.  He doesn't.

Instead of suing the party, he's "starting up the CCF".  What a joke.

josh

wage zombie wrote:

josh wrote:

You must remain silent, even when publically attacked.  You cannot defend yourself.  But rather accept the verdict without complaint, regardless of the facts or the legal significance of the facts. 

What are you talking about?  If Erin Weir has a valid case against the NDP, that's a lawsuit.  He doesn't.

Instead of suing the party, he's "starting up the CCF".  What a joke.

There's time to file a lawsuit if he so chooses.  Perhaps he is still hoping to be readmitted.  Although I don't know why he would given the way he was treated.  And given that the NDP is likely to do worse in 2019 than in 2015, maybe he hopes to get his revenge by running as an independent and winning, or at least make it impossible for the NDP candidate to win.

6079_Smith_W

Actually if he wants to burn his bridges, that's a lawsuit. Clearly he doesn't.

Pondering

Nevermind

robbie_dee

I'm moving this discussion here from the Christine Moore thread (and fixed what I thought was a typo in Notalib's last post there, please let me know if I got that wrong though).

Notalib (on the other thread) wrote:
Weirs lack of respect for the unanimous will of convention, and his subsequent actions to undermine the very processes the party is grappling with installing as a result of the members and leaders unequivocal desire to properly address these issues, suggests a[n] [in]subordinance that can only result in his explusion. He must have knew this was the case when he decided to roll the dice and attack his accusers , as he clearly understands the discipline required among caucus to forward party policy given his experience with carbon pricing at the Saskatchewan convention.

Weir could have simply accepted the publicly offered material for him to save face, underwent the training he agreed to  and it would have been done with. The party could have delivered on its convention's mandate while ensuring the caucus reamined whole. Weir made that impossible, tainted the directive of convention by usurping the process they mandated and decided to crusade on the issue while simultaneously looking to boost his own profile by appealing to yesteryear when misogyny was normal and women were largely marginalized in the work force.

This was a fatal mistake.

Notalib, what responsibility, if any, do you assign to the senior staffer who went public with her issues after the agreement with Weir was in place, but before it had been announced? Because as I understood it that is the only person Weir ever "attacked" (as you put it). With respect to the other complaints he has indicated that he accepts them for what they are and, as I understand it, even though he has now been kicked out of caucus he is going to go through the recommended training anyways. Does the NDP's elaborately crafted, carefully coordinated and unanimously adopted policy still permit individual complainants to go public, after a resolution involving rehabilitation is in place, to disclose selective and inflammatory details over what took place in an otherwise confidential process? Does it permit them to further retain the cloak of anonymity when they do so, while everyone else involved (including but not limited to the accused) is supposed to keep their mouths shut? If so, that sounds like a pretty serious loophole to me.

Debater

wage zombie wrote:

josh wrote:

You must remain silent, even when publically attacked.  You cannot defend yourself.  But rather accept the verdict without complaint, regardless of the facts or the legal significance of the facts. 

What are you talking about?  If Erin Weir has a valid case against the NDP, that's a lawsuit.  He doesn't.

Instead of suing the party, he's "starting up the CCF".  What a joke.

 

Yeah, I don't get why Erin Weir is doing this thing with the CCF.

It looks like a publicity stunt, and can hurt his credibility.

He has a lot of public sympathy right now, but this risks affecting that.

6079_Smith_W

Again, if the article I posted at 501 is accurate he isn't flying solo here, and I expect the support that is most important at this point is that which is close to home.

I am in no way a hack, so I have few clues as to what is going on down in Regina, but that Briarpatch article (and other posts I have seen) makes me think this might be a real schism. Which kind of sucks, because that isn't the best direction in which to put all one's energies, especially at this point in the government's mandate.

 

Notalib

Notalib (on the other thread) wrote:

Weirs lack of respect for the unanimous will of convention, and his subsequent actions to undermine the very processes the party is grappling with installing as a result of the members and leaders unequivocal desire to properly address these issues, suggests a[n] [in]subordinance that can only result in his explusion. He must have knew this was the case when he decided to roll the dice and attack his accusers , as he clearly understands the discipline required among caucus to forward party policy given his experience with carbon pricing at the Saskatchewan convention.

Weir could have simply accepted the publicly offered material for him to save face, underwent the training he agreed to  and it would have been done with. The party could have delivered on its convention's mandate while ensuring the caucus reamined whole. Weir made that impossible, tainted the directive of convention by usurping the process they mandated and decided to crusade on the issue while simultaneously looking to boost his own profile by appealing to yesteryear when misogyny was normal and women were largely marginalized in the work force.

This was a fatal mistake.

Notalib, what responsibility, if any, do you assign to the senior staffer who went public with her issues after the agreement with Weir was in place, but before it had been announced? Because as I understood it that is the only person Weir ever "attacked" (as you put it). With respect to the other complaints he has indicated that he accepts them for what they are and, as I understand it, even though he has now been kicked out of caucus he is going to go through the recommended training anyways. Does the NDP's elaborately crafted, carefully coordinated and unanimously adopted policy still permit individual complainants to go public, after a resolution involving rehabilitation is in place, to disclose selective and inflammatory details over what took place in an otherwise confidential process? Does it permit them to further retain the cloak of anonymity when they do so, while everyone else involved (including but not limited to the accused) is supposed to keep their mouths shut? If so, that sounds like a pretty serious loophole to me.

(I am not adept enough with the message board to get quotes done correctly, it seems the "quote" option when clicked responds directly to the poster versus the board. So I apologize for the sloppy quotes I copy and pasted.)

That said, first off the use of the word "attack" is not in fact mine but rather that of the leader's. I respect his interpretation given that he is privy to far more of the details than any of us and he is the leader. Weir, claiming incidents were "trumped up for political purposes" designed to oust him,  I imagine is what led to such a description.

With respect to the one public admission of being 'harrassed' vs sexually harrassed, I am not sure what that particular complainant agreed to. IF she was under an NDA, or anything else in the process that suggested she not speak with media, then that complainant is clearly at fault and Weir could have simply pointed that out, if it was the case, and moved to defend himself legally. As that would be a clear cut case he could prove and win with and that would definitely be public and he would be vindicated. No need for undermining the entire process and all the complainants by maligning the claims as trumped up for political purposes.

The actual process was not detailed in the work at convention to my knowledge, only that arms length independent reviews were a tool to explore and apply in addressing work place harrassment. I also presume the appointed investigator had significant say in how they would undertake their investigation within perameters established by policy and direction from the leader.

Clearly the leadership felt the complainants were attacked, the process undermined and the reaction of the accused sufficient for expulsion. (Remember there is no real political benefit in turfing this guy as the seat will likely go to the cons now - so explulsion is not a preference but rather an imperative) The details may or may not come forward. From my perspective, I have not heard Weir call for the report to be publicized in order to vindicate his posturing of "trumped up allegations," therefor I believe its a distinct possibility that there is more to the story he may not wish to see disclosed.

If, as you suggest, one party is gagged while the other is free of any restrictions to go public then, such a dichotomy without a legitimate reason is unnacceptable, but much like many details related to these issues, there is insufficient information to determine these points for certain.

I have no dog in this fight. I do not know Madame Moore or Mr Weir. I do have experience working in a leader's office and I am only relying on that experience, my familiarity with the issue and known issues management strategies to inform my opinion.

robbie_dee

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Again, if the article I posted at 501 is accurate he isn't flying solo here, and I expect the support that is most important at this point is that which is close to home.

I am in no way a hack, so I have few clues as to what is going on down in Regina, but that Briarpatch article makes me think this might be a real schism. Which kind of sucks, because that isn't the best direction in which to put all one's energies, especially at this point in the government's mandate.

The Moose Jaw Independent article you posted was interesting. I think there are probably several different and cross-cutting schisms here, including between Angus's and Singh's supporters at the federal level, between Wotherspoon's and Meili's supporters at the provincial level, and between the "traditional union base" and more "new Left" elements at both levels. There are also differences of opinion in the Party about the respective roles of staff, caucus and rank and file members. I don't know where exactly Weir falls among all of these divisions. He's a union guy but he's pretty left-wing on a lot of issues, he endorsed Meili for leader in 2013 after ending his own leadership campaign but he did not make an endorsement in 2018, and he endorsed Peter Julian for federal leader in 2017 but did not endorse another candidate after Julian dropped out. What I suspect is that Singh's decision to kick Weir out has stuck a big wedge into all of these pre-existing cleavages and Weir is just looking for support wherever he can find it.

robbie_dee

Notalib, thanks for your clarifying comments. I'm not in a position to respond fully right now and I want to digest them a bit anyways. I will say that I assume that none of us know what is in the investigator's report. There may be things in there that are damning for Weir, there may be things that are exonerating for him, or maybe we already know everything that is relevant in there except for the names of the complainants. I'm not sure whether we can infer anything from the fact that it has not been released, or that (as you say) Weir has not called for it to be released. It's not clear to me that Weir even knows what is in the report, as he has said that all he has seen is a summary, the contents of which he has openly discussed. Based on what I have heard, it sounds to me like Weir did not do anything that serious, I think his public comments have been measured and he has not attacked anyone, and to the extent the stated basis for his expulsion was his public comments rather than any findings reflected in the report itself, I think he has been treated very unfairly.

6079_Smith_W

@ robbie_dee

Yup. Equating Meili with what is happening federally is not really accurate. Quite the opposite, actually. Though I can understand why some in that room might have seen it that way.

And then there is the question of how much central control there is going to be.

 

 

Pondering

The complainants could not be bound by any confidentiality agreement. The investigator put out a call for complaints or information in some manner. That call would come with a legal commitment of full confidentiality. Only the investigator knows who they are. The investigator cannot demand that people who come forward give up their right to speak to other people about the events that happened. They don't owe anyone anything. So yes, confidentiality goes one way.

Organizations are free to investigate workplace misconduct of all kinds, stealing, accessing  forbidden data like for hospital patients. Organizations don't always call in law enforcement particularly for management.

In this case the organization is political. The NDP investigated the behavior of Erin Weir and found issues. That one of the complainants told the CBC Weir was angry and belligerent was her right.

It was Weir's right to refute the statement adding details. In so doing he broke faith with the NDP. He stated the motive for the harassment accusations was political and specifically about the carbon tax.

The altercation was in response to Weir being prevented from speaking but Weir's claim is that the harassment complaint was/is politically motivated.

I don't believe a staffer would care so much about carbon taxes that they would falsely accuse Weir of harassment.

Weir making that accusation and dragging Mulcair and Angus into it got him expelled from caucus. I doubt he can sue the party. Singh was very clear on why he was being expelled. Weir most likely signed something saying he would keep whatever he read in the summary confidential prior to getting to read it. He figured out who the complainant was from reading the summary so when he gave his side of the story he breached confidentiality. Singh had no choice and still has no choice. He must protect the confidentiality of complainants who came forward on that promise.

Weir had a winning scenario if he just kept his mouth shut. He felt that he couldn't do that which is fine but the result of that was expulsion from caucus.

Now he has another choice. If he feels falsely maligned he should sue. His attack on Mulcair and Angus alone is enough to keep him out.

6079_Smith_W

You just contradicted yourself. First you say he can't sue, then you say he has to sue.

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

You just contradicted yourself. First you say he can't sue, then you say he has to sue.

He has the right to sue. If the allegations are false he should go ahead and do that. If the allegations are true suing would be a bad idea, but he could still do so.

Pondering

Unionist wrote:
 1. I've read her report.

It's confidential. That is to the benefit of all parties including Weir.

Unionist wrote:
2. I've examined the terms of her contract with the NDP to conduct this investigation. 

I'm not concerned. I doubt it said "bonus if you find dirt".

Unionist wrote:
3. I've seen an explanation from her (or anyone) as to how one can investigate and rule on harassment complaints where the alleged harasser is not allowed to know who has filed which complaint. 

She doesn't rule. She presents her findings. A summary of those findings were shown to Weir. At that point he had the option to contest them or not. I don't need to know anyone's name to know what what is possible. If someone accused me of  swearing a blue moon I could unequivocally deny it. It's not something I do. No exception. I might use one swear word, although I can't remember the last time, but that would be it. If you know you didn't steal from anyone there is no need to know who is saying that you did. It shouldn't change your answer.

Unionist wrote:
 Take your time.

No need. Weir  is 36 not 16. He has access to lawyers. It's a shame he didn't just keep his mouth shut. He didn't. In my opinion he left the party no choice but to expel him.

Unionist

Pondering wrote:

So you are calling into question the ability of University of Ottawa law professor Michelle Flaherty to determine what is and isn't workplace harassment?

You and I have no basis to judge her "ability", because you've never seen an example of her investigative work, and neither have I.

I'm beginning to call one thing into question: Why, in exchange for money, she would agree to conduct a Star Chamber "investigation" where the accused (or at least his representative) can't question his accusers, or even know who they are.

Unless she did it pro bono. But that still doesn't explain why should would agree to a procedure devoid of natural justice.

Please provide me with a harassment policy of any reputable organization that allows for findings to be made without the accused knowing the accusers or being able to put questions to them.

The NDP policy is here. It contains no guarantee that the complainant's name will be hidden from the accused. On the contrary, it clearly states that if it is necessary for the investigation, the name may be revealed to other interested parties as well. I'll have more to say later about the implications of this.

Unionist

From page 3 of the NDP policy, here is one of the duties of the investigator:

Quote:

  • Keep the parties to the complaint informed during the process, including providing the alleged harasser with full particulars of the allegations and a copy of the written complaint

FAIL #1.

From page 5 of the policy:

Quote:

Confidentiality will be enforced to the best of the NDP’s ability. Strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed to anyone who wants to make a complaint of harassment or violence. If a complaint goes through an investigation, the respondent and other people involved will have to learn about the complaint. The complainant can be assured that only people who ‘need-to-know’ will be told of the complaint.

[my emphasis]

FAIL #2. If the complainants were guaranteed before they came forward (and obviously before the investigation) that the accused would not know their names, then the policy was violated.

Conclusion can only be that this was either a hatchet job, or a panic-driven exercise conducted by a fearful and incompetent leadership. Either way, the victim was Erin Weir.

Will action be taken against the culprit(s) for violation of the NDP policy? Or will the excuse be that the policy only came into effect in April? Either way, Prof. Flaherty needs to have an updated curriculum vitae to reflect her performance in this file.

Pondering

Unionist wrote:
You and I have no basis to judge her "ability", because you've never seen an example of her investigative work, and neither have I.  

It isn't necessary in order to judge her ability to define sexual harassment which I consider a fairly elementary aspect that even a junior labour lawyer would be capable of.

Unionist wrote:
 I'm beginning to call one thing into question: Why, in exchange for money, she would agree to conduct a Star Chamber "investigation" where the accused (or at least his representative) can't question his accusers, or even know who they are. 

This was not a Star Chamber investigation. In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, "star chambers". This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings.

Christine Moore has called for the report on her to be public. Erin Weir is free to do the same. He is also free to sue for deflamation of character.

Unionist wrote:
Please provide me with a harassment policy of any reputable organization that allows for findings to be made without the accused knowing the accusers or being able to put questions to them.

The NDP's.

NDP Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence | 5

Confidentiality

Complaints of harassment will be received and investigated in a confidential manner in accord with the procedures, including prescribing corrective action. Information that must be shared will be disclosed on a need-to-know basis.

Any allegation or complaint of discrimination, harassment or sexual violence will be considered personal information ‘supplied in confidence’. The name of the complainant or the circumstances of the complaint will not be disclosed to any person except where disclosure is  necessary for the purpose of investigating the complaint....

Confidentiality will be enforced to the best of the NDP’s ability. Strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed to anyone who wants to make a complaint of harassment or violence. If a complaint goes through an investigation, the respondent and other people involved will have to learn about the complaint.

Nowhere does it state that the complainant's name will be given to the accused nor does it need to be for the accused to say "I did not do that to anyone". "I deny the accusations in the report".

That is all they have to say. No need to confront accusers. Neither the Liberal MPs nor Weir denied what was in the reports. They all accepted the findings. In Weir's case that was considered sufficient for anti-harassment training to be an effective solution. Weir then publically rejected the findings claiming political motivations were behind one of the accusations  and the rest were so minor all men would be guilty. After that the anti-harassment training would be pointless. So what if he still takes it? According to him he didn't do anything other men wouldn't also do. How much training does it take to take a step back, ask for a date, and take no for an answer?

Caissa

The proceedings were illegitimate.

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

The proceedings were illegitimate.

Thanks, Caissa. Given your work experience, I take that as a knowledgeable hands-on assessment.

And I find Pondering's hyper-partisan efforts to justify the unjustifiable quite concerning - which included her invention of a story that Erin Weir had harassed Christine Moore. As well as her persistent refusal to spell "publicly" correctly.

Unionist

Caissa, on Feb. 2, 2018 wrote:

A fundamental element of a justice system is the right to be presented with the complaints against you. I hope this will happen soon. If it is found tghat Weir acted in an inappropriate manner, I hope Singh takes appropriate action.

Perhaps Mr. Singh should have listened to Caissa. He certainly didn't ask the investigator to follow NDP policy:

Quote:

  • Keep the parties to the complaint informed during the process, including providing the alleged harasser with full particulars of the allegations and a copy of the written complaint

The "investigation" was a joke.

robbie_dee

Hi Notalib, I wanted to come back to respond a bit more to your post. On the other thread, at comment #161, you wrote:

Notalib wrote:

The last NDP convention focused almost entirely on establishing these processes to address these issues, Weir almost single handedly has destroyed the entire effort, which had great political potential to not only make gains for women (and Men) in establishing proper work place policy, but also putting the NDP at the forefront of that effort. Now due to these shenanigans, the party is in public disarray and these gains for a better workplace set back.

Here, however, you acknowledge:

Notalib wrote:

The actual process was not detailed in the work at convention to my knowledge, only that arms length independent reviews were a tool to explore and apply in addressing work place harassment. I also presume the appointed investigator had significant say in how they would undertake their investigation within parameters established by policy and direction from the leader.

It seems to me that Weir has not attacked the concept of third party review of sexual harassment allegations, which concept at least sounds to me like a good idea that a lot of people would agree upon (including, apparently unanimously, all attendees at the last NDP convention). Rather, Weir has criticized the "actual process" that was implemented in his case, either as directed by the NDP leaders office or determined by the investigator in this case (we don't know since we haven't seen the terms of Flaherty's retainer). For reasons that have been ably demonstrated, IMO, by other babblers above, it does appear to me that there were serious flaws in the actual process here. Principally, IMO: (1) the initial decision to proceed with a public investigation on the scale and scope that was apparently done here, solely on the say-so of a second-hand "whistle-blower" who had dubious background and motives, with no actual first-hand complainant available until the investigator "found" some; and (2) the manner in which one particular complainant was apparently left unconstrained to make damaging public comments late in the process, while the accused was left swinging for months and when - in the absence of any specific direction from the Party one way or the other - he chose to respond to the complainant who had gone public, he faced significant repercussions.

Most of the rest of your argument depends on the assumption that the leader's office knows more than the rest of us and we need to trust the leader's judgement here. You've indicated that you have worked in a party leader's office in the past, so I think I can understand why you may be inclined to come to such conclusions. "Trust the leader" is a logical and necessary operating principle for such a working environment. I don't work in a leader's office, though (nor, for that matter, do I work in any capacity in electoral politics). I'm just a rank and file member of the Party - one who has donated both to Weir and to Singh in the past, I might add. I still like Singh, but I am not inclined to just blindly believe he "must know things I don't" that would support his actions in a case that appears, to me at least, to be a catastrophic misjudgement. As I mentioned on the other thread, I think Singh is getting played badly by Angus here. The bigger game that is afoot here, IMO, is Charlie Angus's not-so-covert campaign to undermine and eventually force out Singh so he can claim the Party leadership he desperately wants for himself. This incident, which went down a couple of weeks before Christine Moore launched her attack on Weir, is just one example. I fear that Weir is a pawn here, who is being sacrificed for others' ends. That abuse of the process, IMO, delegitimizes the Party's laudable efforts to combat sexual harassment in a much deeper and more lasting way than anything Weir has said or done.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Pondering wrote:

Unionist wrote:
You and I have no basis to judge her "ability", because you've never seen an example of her investigative work, and neither have I.  

It isn't necessary in order to judge her ability to define sexual harassment which I consider a fairly elementary aspect that even a junior labour lawyer would be capable of.

I haven't commented on this thread, largely because I have little or no knowledge and experience of normal procedures in this type of situation. However, I must express my awe that, in addition to being extremely knowledgable about politics, economics, international trade, and so many other subjects, Pondering is also a world-class expert in labour law and practice. As Wayne and Garth would say "We're not worthy."

wage zombie

Weir's getting the salary of an MP.  If he was treated unfairly, he has the means to sue the party.  He won't, because he doesn't have a case.

If the NDP contravened their own policy, that's a lawsuit.  Michelle Flaherty is a lawyer, Jagmeet Singh is a lawyer.  Any lawyers here?

I don't expect Erin Weir's reputation to go anywhere but down.

ETA: For the record, I donated money to Erin Weir's campaign in 2015.

robbie_dee

wage zombie wrote:

Weir's getting the salary of an MP.  If he was treated unfairly, he has the means to sue the party.  He won't, because he doesn't have a case.

If the NDP contravened their own policy, that's a lawsuit.  Michelle Flaherty is a lawyer, Jagmeet Singh is a lawyer.  Any lawyers here?

I don't expect Erin Weir's reputation to go anywhere but down.

ETA: For the record, I donated money to Erin Weir's campaign in 2015.

I think Weir may well have a legal case if the NDP contravened its own policy and/or if the Party or individual MPs or staff defamed him (whether or not the Party was acting in compliance with or in contravention of its policies as it allowed the defamation to occur). What Weir doesn't have is access to a remedy he actually wants. He wants to be reinstated to caucus. No court would ever order that. At most it would order the NDP to pay Weir damages. Do you really want your donations to the Party to be used that way? I don't think Weir does either and that's a good reason not to sue.

6079_Smith_W

wage zombie wrote:

He won't, because he doesn't have a case.

???

How do you square that with the running argument here that by defending himself against a public attack he is disrespecting the process?

In the first place, no he doesn't have to sue anyone; why make an already toxic situation worse? Especially if his ultimate goal is to rejoin caucus?

And him not taking legal action is not justification of the actions of the party and whoever went public  any more than it is an admission of his own liability in that one instance.

 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

It seems that according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the NDP was well within its rights to do what it did. There seems to be no provision for the right of facing your accuser.

Unionist

progressive17 wrote:

It seems that according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the NDP was well within its rights to do what it did. There seems to be no provision for the right of facing your accuser.

The Charter only applies to governmental institutions. It doesn't apply to internal workings of political parties, nor to any private organizations, companies, etc.

The NDP's harassment policy does apply, however. And twice in recent posts, I've quoted chapter and verse to show how the "investigation" was conducted in violation of that policy - specifically, by not providing Weir with full details of the allegations and copies of the actual written complaints.

Misfit Misfit's picture

The NDP have shot themselves in the foot and lost the seat of Regina Lewvan to the Conservatives

Erin won by less than 100 votes.  Even if he gets exonerated somehow and let back into the party, his reputation has been damaged to some extent anyway that it would be hard for him to re-win the seat.

if he runs as the CCF candidate he will split the left-wing vote and hand the riding to the Conservatives.

which ever way you look at it he's done.

6079_Smith_W

Not just the vote, but also party support, it would seem. Hopefully this will be resolved by next year, but if not the wise thing might be to hold off on fielding another candidate until it is.

Then again, if it was a question of doing the wise thing we wouldn't be where we are.

 

wage zombie

robbie_dee wrote:

What Weir doesn't have is access to a remedy he actually wants. He wants to be reinstated to caucus. No court would ever order that. At most it would order the NDP to pay Weir damages. Do you really want your donations to the Party to be used that way? I don't think Weir does either and that's a good reason not to sue.

This is a fair point.  I doubt Weir would want to hit the party hard financially.  But if he's been treated unfairly and his career's been damaged, that's usually how things get settled.  If the NDP leadership has acted poorly in handling this, I don't mind if resolution includes a financial hit.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

How do you square that with the running argument here that by defending himself against a public attack he is disrespecting the process?

I'm not quite sure what you mean.  I think he is disreepecting the process.  If he's being treated unfairly, then I think he'd be better served by staying quiet and getting a lawyer than by engaging the media.

Quote:

In the first place, no he doesn't have to sue anyone; why make an already toxic situation worse? Especially if his ultimate goal is to rejoin caucus?

If his ultimate goal is to rejoin caucus, then his CCF stunt seems very bizarre to me.  Maybe he thought it would be a fun and harmless thing to do, and I'm just not getting the joke.   But my opinion of his credibility has been decreasing steadily as he engages with the media.

Quote:

And him not taking legal action is not justification of the actions of the party and whoever went public  any more than it is an admission of his own liability in that one instance.

I don't find myself particularly swayed by babblers arguments that Weir has been treated unfairly.  It's true that not taking legal action is not an admission of liability -- but the whole thing is ultimately a question for lawyers, not message boards.

If the process was not followed, and Weir was disadvantated because of it, then he needs to fight it.  Is he going to fight it, or not?  Nothing that he's doing in the media is helping him, at least from what I can tell.

 

6079_Smith_W

Are you under the impression that lawsuits happen in secret? The other threats of legal action relating to a case similar to this certainly found their way into the press.

So "staying quiet" and siccing the lawyer seems to be a bit of a contradiction.

Besides, the point isn't adherence to policy or defamation, but the allegation of political motive. Calling that out is probably what those involved are pissed off about anyway. This appeal to presumed rules is just the foil for that.

 

robbie_dee

wage zombie wrote:

I don't find myself particularly swayed by babblers arguments that Weir has been treated unfairly.  It's true that not taking legal action is not an admission of liability -- but the whole thing is ultimately a question for lawyers, not message boards.

Well I will concede this much, what is "unfair" or not is a relative assessment and politics can be a particularly "unfair" sport at the best of times. I assume Weir was well aware, even before all of this, how tenuous a grasp he had on his seat. He would have, and should have, expected all kinds of dirty tricks from the Conservatives to try to take him down. What I don't know if he expected - and what in any case I totally didn't expect - was for him to get taken down by "friendly fire." I would anticipate these sort of games to be played in Liberal or Conservative internal politics. I guess I thought - if for no reason other than that the stakes are typically so much lower - that we didn't play this way in the NDP. I was pretty naive. This whole incident has left a very bad taste in my mouth towards the federal party.

I disagree with you that this is a process for lawyers, though. I think it was a political decision by the NDP, not a legal one, to handle the investigation of Weir the way that it did. It was definitely a political decision to kick him out. Weir's best course of action if he wants to fight the outcome is almost certainly on the same playing field - through political action, not legal action. Odds are it won't save his seat in 2019 no matter what happens (although at this point his best odds of retaining the seat might well be as an Independent CCFer "fighting for Saskatchewan" vs the "eastern Establishment," who knows). But the reason why I have donated to him in the past is because I thought he had a real gift for formulating and advocating public policy, he was advocating for things I agreed with, and I thought that with his skills and abilities he had the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to his province or to the country. I think it would be a real shame were his political career to be completely ended over this crap. I'm still rooting for him.

Ciabatta2

wage zombie wrote:

I don't find myself particularly swayed by babblers arguments that Weir has been treated unfairly.  It's true that not taking legal action is not an admission of liability -- but the whole thing is ultimately a question for lawyers, not message boards.

If the process was not followed, and Weir was disadvantated because of it, then he needs to fight it.  Is he going to fight it, or not?  Nothing that he's doing in the media is helping him, at least from what I can tell.

Agreed!

Unionist

robbie_dee wrote:

I disagree with you that this is a process for lawyers, though. I think it was a political decision by the NDP, not a legal one, to handle the investigation of Weir the way that it did. It was definitely a political decision to kick him out. Weir's best course of action if he wants to fight the outcome is almost certainly on the same playing field - through political action, not legal action. Odds are it won't save his seat in 2019 no matter what happens (although at this point his best odds of retaining the seat might well be as an Independent CCFer "fighting for Saskatchewan" vs the "eastern Establishment," who knows). But the reason why I have donated to him in the past is because I thought he had a real gift for formulating and advocating public policy, he was advocating for things I agreed with, and I thought that with his skills and abilities he had the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to his province or to the country. I think it would be a real shame were his political career to be completely ended over this crap. I'm still rooting for him.

Well said. And all this "if he doesn't like it, he should sue" is very offensive. It's not how allies and supporters of the same cause deal with each other.

wage zombie

Unionist wrote:

Well said. And all this "if he doesn't like it, he should sue" is very offensive. It's not how allies and supporters of the same cause deal with each other.

Neither is harrassment, and I believe the allegations.

wage zombie

robbie_dee wrote:

Well I will concede this much, what is "unfair" or not is a relative assessment and politics can be a particularly "unfair" sport at the best of times. I assume Weir was well aware, even before all of this, how tenuous a grasp he had on his seat. He would have, and should have, expected all kinds of dirty tricks from the Conservatives to try to take him down. What I don't know if he expected - and what in any case I totally didn't expect - was for him to get taken down by "friendly fire." I would anticipate these sort of games to be played in Liberal or Conservative internal politics. I guess I thought - if for no reason other than that the stakes are typically so much lower - that we didn't play this way in the NDP. I was pretty naive. This whole incident has left a very bad taste in my mouth towards the federal party.

I don't look at harrassment allegations as "friendly fire".

robbie_dee

Wage zombie, would you be willing to describe, to the best of your knowledge, what the harassment allegations that you believe to be true actually are?

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