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Assistant in Regina-Wascana MP Michael Kram’s office suspended pending discrimination investigation

An employee of Conservative MP Michael Kram has been suspended over claims of alleged insensitive comments made towards two people who visited the office. Derek Putz / Global News

Michael Kram’s constituency assistant Nigel Sharp has been suspended pending an investigation into claims of discrimination toward two people who had visited the office seeking help.

The alleged incident happened on Monday when Kashif Jamali and his wife were looking for support regarding a personal situation overseas.

Jamali, who has lived in Regina since 2011, said he had no problem that Kram or his office weren’t able to help them, but had a problem with the way they were spoken to.

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He said they were told, by Sharp, their English was poor and they should improve their English before coming back into the office.

“During the conversation, (Sharp) said things about our country’s culture, corruption in the country,” Jamali said.

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“We were really hurt. My wife cried all the way until we reached home.”

Global News originally reached out to Sharp for a response. However, Kram replied with a statement.

He said an investigation has been launched which will review an “audio recording of the conversation as well as a number of direct eye-witness accounts.”

“In addition to reviewing this evidence internally, my office will also be referring the evidence to non-partisan HR officers at the House of Commons for objective review,” Kram said.

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“Should this investigation produce any proof of wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Sharp, he will face disciplinary action commensurate with the assessed severity of the offences.”

Measures that could be taken include “a formal Letter of Reprimand on his personnel file, the requirement for additional sensitivity training and, in the most extreme case, termination of employment.”

Kram said that type of alleged behaviour has no place in his office and is taking the incident seriously.

“My office places the highest possible value on our relationship with Regina’s newcomer community to whom we continually strive to deliver the highest level of service in their interactions with the federal government,” Kram said.

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“This investigation, which will be done in consultation with the House of Commons human resources department, will be conducted on the basis of the best practices of HR and ordinary justice.

“This is to say that there will be a presumption of innocence, a right to a defence and that the investigation will be based on evidence not hearsay.”

Jamali said he and his wife have experienced discrimination before in places such as convenience stores and gas stations around the city, but did expect this to happen from the office of a federal member of Parliament.

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He did tell Global News the rest of the staff working at Kram’s office were polite to him and his wife.

If you can’t help me, just tell me in a nicer way. I would have walked out,” Jamali said.

“Insulting someone’s culture, insulting someone’s accent, and feeling ‘yikes’ about their language, I feel, is linguistic discrimination.”

No time frame for the investigation was given. Kram became Conservative MP for Regina-Wascana in the fall of 2019.

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