Notley says outside firm will review NDP treatment of staff and volunteers

Content of the article

EDMONTON — Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley apologized to her members Sunday for reports she revealed last week about mistreatment of party staff and volunteers.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

“It is clear that in some cases we have failed. We have heard concerns expressed about this,” Notley said in a speech in Red Deer to the party’s provincial council – a gathering of members of the legislature, volunteers, staff and executives.

“As your leader, I take responsibility for this and I apologize.

“I now take responsibility for ensuring that the directives you gave us this weekend are carried out.”

Delegates at the weekend meeting endorsed several actions recommended by Notley and the executive to address workplace concerns, including engaging a third party to investigate and resolve respect and harassment complaints at work.

The NDP will also hire a third party to review and, if necessary, improve existing human resources policies and codes of conduct.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Notley added: “And all management staff, including myself, will be undergoing additional respect in the workplace training because we know we can always grow. We can always improve and we can always learn more.

The change comes nearly two weeks after a letter written to Notley and the executive in early March by 15 NDP constituency presidents and regional vice presidents was revealed in the media.

The 15 authors of the letter called for an independent third-party review of what they called “a pattern” of volunteer mistreatment.

The letter did not specify the type of abuse alleged, but several volunteers and former volunteers told The Canadian Press of repeated instances of verbal abuse by staff, belittled and harangued in individual or group sessions.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Notley, in an interview on Sunday, said the third party would not only investigate future workplace issues, but also any ongoing complaints or concerns about past behavior.

“We’ve had a very developed anti-harassment policy in place since 2014, but obviously not everyone thought they could use it, maybe they didn’t think it was independent enough,” Notley said. .

“So the whole point behind it is to make sure people, maybe in the past, didn’t think they couldn’t use it will feel more comfortable (doing it now).”

The letter writers also called for changes in how the party selects candidates to run in the next election.

All 15 said there was a lack of clarity and timelines and said vetting some candidates took over a year, raising concerns of favoritism towards some candidates.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

They also said that the concerns of constituency associations had not been taken into account in discussions regarding their regions and that their comments to the party headquarters were being ignored.

“We are committed to addressing the outstanding issues that were raised by our riding associations in many corners of this province – in their March letter – by the end of July,” Notley said during his speech.

“And we will complete vetting applicants who are currently in process by August.”

In recent weeks, a number of former and current party members have expressed concern about the party’s handling of the letter.

In a June 7 letter distributed to the executive and obtained by The Canadian Press, the two caucus co-chairs of the party’s executive disability caucus called for a full independent investigation into all allegations, “including the misconduct towards volunteers, the lack of transparency regarding the vetting process and the favoritism of candidates selected by parties.

Advertising 6

Content of the article

Co-chairs Justin Reinke and Clare Hickie also wrote that while they appreciated the executive trying to resolve the issue internally, “the breadth and depth of these allegations made it clear that it would not be enough to fully and impartially investigate. on these allegations and provide transparency and accountability to our members to ensure we can move forward.

On Friday, Wyatt Tanton, an outspoken volunteer and former Camrose candidate, posted on social media that he was quitting the party, saying he wanted the party to succeed but couldn’t stay because he didn’t feel he could change the current culture from within.

“My story is one of many that cover a range of extremely serious allegations of party misconduct,” Tanton wrote.

Advertising 7

Content of the article

“(The party) is unable to successfully form the government and lead this province while it is weighed down by the enormous weight of deep systemic rot.”

Notley, in his speech, said the party had well over a third of its 87 candidates selected, to go along with a strong fundraising of $6.1 million in the past fiscal year.

“It’s that kind of momentum that is made possible through teamwork,” Notley said.

“So, to all of our staff: thank you for growing our party.

“And I promise you that you will be respected as workers, because that is one of our core values ​​as New Democrats.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 19, 2022.

Advertisement 1

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

About Antoine L. Cassell

Check Also

Treatment deemed insufficient for growing mental health disorders

GENEVA – The World Health Organization is calling for a step change in the treatment …