Speaker of New Brunswick legislature booted from caucus over harassment allegations
The Speaker of New Brunswick legislature, Chris Collins, has been suspended from the province’s Liberal caucus over allegations of harassment.
Collins, 55, is alleged to have harassed a former-employee of the legislature.
Premier Brian Gallant announced the decision on a teleconference Thursday night but did not provide specifics of what is alleged to have occurred.
“As a result of the allegations we will be taking action without delay,” Gallant said.
“The government will ask the Legislative Administration Committee, also known as LAC, to suspend the speaker from his administrative position pending an investigation.”
Gallant said the investigation would be carried out by an independent third party.
The premier said his office had been first made aware of the allegations against Collins on Feb. 17.
The former employee — who has not been named — was contacted that day by the premier’s office but opted not to bring forward her allegations at the time.
On Wednesday, the former employee said she had decided to come forward.
“It is crucial that we ensure that workplaces are safe and respectful for all people in all situations,” Gallant said.
Gallant said that further punishment could occur pending the results of the investigation.
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Collins has served as an MLA since 2007, where he won a by-election held to fill a vacancy in the constituency of Moncton East.
Since the 2014 election he has represented the newly created riding of Moncton Centre, and was elected as the Speaker of the 58th Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick on October 24, 2014.
Gallant announced that nomination race for the riding of Moncton Centre has not yet been held but that anyone suspended by the Liberal party will not be green-lit to represent them in the upcoming election.
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