For immediate release
April 17, 2019
Harassment-Free Workplace Policy, among other House of Assembly business, obstructed by Liberals’ early election call
Today through a joint statement, the PC and NDP House Leaders are expressing grave concern over the way in which the exceptional work of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections (PEC) has been abandoned and indeed slighted by the Liberal government as it prepares to issue its early election call.
Specifically, MHA Lorraine Michael and MHA Keith Hutchings wish to draw the public’s attention to the fact that, although the comprehensive and ground-breaking report prepared by the PEC – Final Report to the House of Assembly on the Development of a Legislature-Specific Harassment-Free Workplace Policy – has already been tabled in the House of Assembly, there will be no opportunity presented to the members of the legislature to vote on or accept it.
“After almost a year of exceedingly hard work – an impressive effort that also required considerable taxpayer resources – the work of the committee is being ignored by this Assembly,” said Michael. “This is in no way keeping with the repeated Liberal promise to govern differently and to reform and improve upon our democracy.”
“By choosing to rush to a premature and unnecessarily early provincial election campaign period – one that clashes with one of our province’s largest religious holidays – the Liberals have also slighted the well-informed community groups and professional agencies who also generously gave of their time to contribute to the work of the Privileges and Elections Committee,” said Hutchings.
“It is inexplicable why this government would choose to abandon this work at this late stage,” said Michael. “This is the Assembly that experienced the harassment, bullying, and intimidation. This is the group that should vote on this work. It should not be left to a new group of elected officials to deal with,” Michael added.
MHA Hutchings further questions why the three Liberal members sitting on the PEC allowed this to happen. “It is extremely troubling that three Liberal colleagues sitting on a standing committee would not advocate to the government to have the report presented in the House of Assembly. How long have we been in meetings with them where they knew already that the work of our group was dead? Why didn’t they speak up?” Hutchings said.
MHA Michael further questioned whether the Liberal members on the committee remained silent. “Were they pressured to remain quiet? Did they know about the early election call and does this explain why they have been dragging their feet on moving PEC matters forward over the past several weeks? Was it always their plan to bury this report? Perhaps they were not even informed themselves about the early election call?”
Zaren Healey White
Director of Communications
Director of Policy and Research
Office of the Official Opposition