November 8, 2018 3:27 pm
Updated: November 9, 2018 10:04 pm

Alberta premier’s office says two NDP MLAs accused of inappropriate behaviour

WATCH ABOVE: The NDP government admits two of its members have been accused of inappropriate behaviour since taking office. As Tom Vernon reports, the NDP says a third-party investigation was done.

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s office says two members of her NDP caucus have been accused of inappropriate behaviour since 2015.

Cheryl Oates, Notley’s spokeswoman, said in a statement that “in both circumstances, the alleged behaviour took place outside the workplace.”

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“Confidential independent investigations were undertaken in each case resulting in recommendations that were implemented,” she wrote Thursday. “In order to respect the privacy of the complainants, further details will remain confidential.”

Oates said in neither case was criminal conduct alleged. She release another statement Friday, which said the government undertook “third-party independent investigations conducted by experts.

“For the people who brought forward these complaints, the issues were serious, and — as in every case involving allegations of inappropriate behavior — they needed to be heard and addressed,” Oates wrote.

“In both cases, the investigations concluded that the behavior could be addressed through education and instruction.”

The Thursday statement came after Notley was questioned about allegations made by former NDP backbencher Robyn Luff.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP backbencher protests ‘toxic culture,’ refuses to sit in legislature

Luff was kicked out of caucus this week after she announced she was boycotting the legislature to protest what she called heavy-handed control of backbench legislature members by senior officials in Notley’s caucus and government.

Luff said, at one point, backbenchers “were told that if we had any information on opposition members who had behaved inappropriately towards women that it was best not to go public with it because our party wasn’t completely without fault on the matter.”

Notley said nobody that reports to her or senior caucus leaders delivered such a directive.

“Are there any allegations or incidents of inappropriate behaviour towards women among your MLAs or among the Alberta NDP?” Notley was asked.

“Not that I’m aware of,” she replied.

“And, more importantly, we have a policy in our caucus around sexual harassment, both in terms of how to respond to concerns that are raised, as well as speaking often and having a code of conduct with respect to both our MLAs and our staff around these issues.”

Oates later said Notley believed the reporter’s question related to inappropriate conduct strictly within and among NDP caucus and staff.

The two complaints were made by outside people and did not occur in the workplace.

READ MORE: Calgary MLA Robyn Luff removed from NDP caucus

Notley dismissed other allegations made by Luff, a first-term legislature member for Calgary East, who said the gag order prevented backbenchers from representing their constituents.

Luff’s wishes don’t mesh with the concept that politicians need to work together to get things done, Notley said.

“We understand that that member (Luff) is not a fan of the parliamentary system and would like to have complete independence in all that she does, but that’s not the way the system works,” said Notley.

“Within the parliamentary system, politics is a bit of a team sport, and it’s people coming together and working together under a collective set of principles and plans.”

Luff could not be reached for comment.

She has already said she won’t cross the floor to join another party, won’t run in the spring election, and is checking with constituents to determine whether to end her boycott of the house.

Luff is the second member to break ranks with the governing caucus.

Last year, Calgary backbencher Karen McPherson crossed the floor and now sits with the Alberta Party. She said this week that the concerns outlined by Luff mirror her experiences, which caused her to leave.

Watch below: Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff says she couldn’t properly represent her constituents as a result of strict controls placed on her by party leadership.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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