February 13, 2018 1:57 pm
Updated: February 14, 2018 12:45 pm

Former Manitoba premier at odds with current head of NDP over harassment complaints

WATCH: Former NDP leader Greg Selinger offered an apology Tuesday to women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by former NDP MLA Stan Struthers.

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Former NDP leader Greg Selinger said he takes responsibility for his party’s ‘inaction’ on incidents of alleged sexual misconduct while he was premier.  But despite a request from his leader to resign, Selinger said he is staying on the job.

Over the past week several women have come forward to accuse former NDP MLA Stan Struthers of sexual harassment, with claims he inappropriately touched and tickled them. Some of the complaints go back several years.

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READ MORE: More women speak out about former NDP minister Stan Struthers, call him ‘Tickle-Me Stan’

On Tuesday Selinger offered “deepest and sincerest apology to courageous women” and said he was sorry for the isolation and humiliation the women suffered.

“They deserved to have a safe place to work… our government failed them,” Selinger said from his St. Boniface constituency office.  “Grotesque incidents happened under my watch and I must take responsibility”.

Current party leader Wab Kinew spoke Tuesday on CJOB, saying he asked Selinger to resign.

“Me asking him to resign is not about me trying to mete out justice or discipline him for past inactions,” Kinew said. “Its about turning the page in allowing our party to move forward and also allowing the process to move forward.

Selinger  confirmed that he was aware of two complaints made in 2015.

“This was the first time such allegations of sexual misconduct were brought to my attention as leader”.

Selinger said he told his then Chief Of Staff to make clear to Struthers it had to stop.  Selinger said he was later told the women wished to take no further action.

The former NDP leader admitted Kinew asked him to step down but said he has no plans to do so. “He proposed that as one alternative, the other was to cancel this press conference. I told him that I thought it was really important that we make this statement,” Selinger said.

Kinew responded to criticism over allowing Selinger to stay in cabinet.

“Some of these decisions for people are very hard. I don’t want to be rash and behave from a place of just reacting to having somebody disobey me. Rather I want to ensure that I’m doing the right thing. With that in mind I’m taking a course of more patience.”

Kinew suggested that’s the type of leader the province needs, someone who is collaborative and nurturing.

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