NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks about the harassment allegations against Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir outside the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, May 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Erin Weir to seek NDP nomination despite ousting over harassment complaints

Leader Jagmeet Singh has stood firm in his decision to block Weir from returning to caucus or running in the 2019 election.

Member of Parliament Erin Weir says he’ll seek the NDP nomination in his riding again despite being removed from the party’s caucus after an investigation upheld harassment complaints.

Leader Jagmeet Singh has stood firm in his decision to block Weir from returning to caucus or running in the 2019 election, but the Regina-Lewvan MP says local New Democrats should decide who the nominee should be.

Weir said he’s knocked on thousands of doors in the riding and has “overwhelming support.”

“The real question is what does Mr. Singh intend to do? Will he simply ignore the more than 2,000 NDP members in Regina-Lewvan and appoint his own candidate?” Weir asked.

“If I lost the NDP nomination vote in Regina-Lewvan, I would certainly respect the result and not run. However, if Mr. Singh simply appoints a candidate without a democratic vote, then I would have to consult local New Democrats about the way forward.”

Further, Weir said a “significant” number of NDP members of Parliament want to see him return to caucus, but they cannot speak out publicly because they are subject to Singh’s discipline.

“There are lots of people in the caucus that want me to be part of it. It’s Mr. Singh who’s said he doesn’t want me to be a part of it,” he said.

Related: NDP MP Erin Weir ousted amid harassment allegations

Related: Jagmeet Singh says he and NDP must do better at communicating with Canadians

Weir was suspended from the caucus in February after fellow New Democrat Christine Moore sent an email to her caucus colleagues saying she had heard numerous complaints about Weir allegedly harassing staffers.

A subsequent independent investigation upheld several complaints of harassment, which Singh described at the time as a failure to read non-verbal cues in social settings.

However, it was Weir’s response to the findings — publicly dismissing one complaint as payback for a policy dispute he had with a member of former leader Tom Mulcair’s staff — that got him booted out of caucus permanently in May.

Weir said he’s completed sensitivity training to better respond to non-verbal cues and has reflected on how to have frank political debates in ways that won’t make people feel intimidated or embarrassed.

The investigation report has never been released, but Weir posted a letter from the sensitivity trainer on his website that he says summarizes the findings. The sexual harassment complaints involved Weir’s habit of standing too close and inserting himself into conversations with others, the letter says.

Several female NDP activists applauded Singh’s decision to block Weir from running in a letter posted online this week, countering a letter criticizing the move from 67 former New Democrat politicians in Saskatchewan.

Singh is in Surrey, B.C., for the NDP caucus retreat and was set to address reporters at a wrap-up news conference later Thursday.

The party leader refused to back down from his decision on Tuesday, saying it’s his responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and harassment is unacceptable in the party.

“I’m not going to change my decision because people in a position of privilege want to intimidate me,” Singh said.

Weir said it was disappointing that Singh dismissed 67 long-serving New Democrat politicians in Saskatchewan as privileged rather than addressing their concerns about the lack of due process.

He said he feels a tremendous obligation to the hundreds of people who worked hard in Saskatchewan to regain some federal NDP seats after the party was shut out of the province for a decade.

“I feel a responsibility to try and maintain and build upon those hard-won gains in Saskatchewan,” he said.

Weir remains a sitting MP and said he’s eager to return to Parliament next week and speak up for the people of his riding.

“I’ve been active in the NDP since I was 15 and feel a deep affinity to the movement,” he said. “I never thought I’d be in this situation. It’s been a difficult process to navigate, but I try to be focused on the task ahead.”

— By Laura Kane in Surrey and Janice Dickson in Ottawa

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

New Lumby Disc Golf Course nears opening

Man behind new outdoor village activity says course will open “in a couple of weeks”

Vernon man arrested after reports of assaults on Kal Lake Rotary Pier

RCMP officers successful in taking man into custody after takedown on railway trestle

Lake Country UBCO grad wins top honours

Teagan MacDougall is the 2020 recipient of the Pushor Mitchell LLP Gold Medal Leadership Prize and $10K

Vernon man arrested after reports of assaults on Kal Lake Rotary Pier

RCMP officers successful in taking man into custody after takedown on railway trestle

Community Champion: no greater gift than giving, Lisa Kurulok says

July 2020 Community Champion volunteers in several organizations throughout North Okanagan

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Kamloops man pleads guilty in vehicle-ramming incident that injured a Mountie

Adam Hibbert was arrested following a collision during a police pursuit on May 26, 2019

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read