NDP employee says Hamilton MPP bullied him and made racist comments

In a new complaint filed to Ontario’s human rights tribunal, a Hamilton NDP MPP faces allegations he bullied an employee and made racist comments.

Paul Miller says he won't comment on specifics, but will work through proper channels to resolve it

Todd White, shown here as the chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, has filed a human rights complaint against his long-time employer, MPP Paul Miller. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

A local NDP MPP faces allegations of bullying, racist comments, and abuse of office resources to campaign in a new complaint filed to Ontario's human rights tribunal.

Todd White, an active party volunteer and chair of the local public school board, has filed a complaint against MPP Paul Miller, his long-time employer in the riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

White's complaint alleges that Miller makes "routine racist, sexist and homophobic comments" in the office, including about other public officials. He also alleges "abuse of public office," threatening to discipline staff who don't do re-election work during staff time.

The crux of White's complaints are around what he says was improper discipline, much of it outlined in a dozen outstanding grievances through his union.

Among them: White says he was invited to a Canada Day event in his capacity as chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. He mentioned the invite to Miller. But when he sent regrets to organizers, he said, Miller suspended him for two weeks for missing work.

"My employer boasted to three separate witnesses … that he was finally terminating me," the complaint reads.

Paul Miller is the MPP for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. (Ontario NDP)

White also mentions getting disciplined when lack of child care prevented him from attending a Saturday night Black History Month event. Miller didn't want to go himself, White alleges, because "'those people' can't organize events."

White's lawyer, Wade Poziomka, said "the allegations, if proven, are extremely troubling. Mr. White intends to see these matters through to their conclusion."

Miller, who is the party's critic for pensions and poverty, wouldn't comment on specifics Wednesday, but said the NDP's human resources department is involved.

"As a lifelong New Democrat and labour activist, I fundamentally believe in the importance of fostering a safe and supportive workplace for my employees," he said in an email.

"As this is a personnel matter, it would be inappropriate to comment on any specifics, but I can say that I look forward to resolving the matter through due process, while helping my constituency staff continue their excellent work for the people of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek."

Andrea Horwath, Hamilton Centre MPP and NDP leader, was in a debate Wednesday organized by members of Toronto's black community and couldn't comment.

The allegations come at a tense time for the party. There is a provincial election on June 7, and Horwath is pitching ideas such as universal dental care to try to pull ahead of Kathleen Wynne's Liberals and Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives. Miller, an MPP since 2007, was officially declared a candidate on March 6.

This is also the third human rights complaint filed against a Hamilton NDP MPP in recent weeks. Two have already been filed against Monique Taylor, Hamilton Mountain MPP. Taylor also said the matter is being resolved through due process.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs

Reporter

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca