Hamilton Votes

NDP human rights feud set to spill over into school board trustee race

Paul Miller's wife is running against Todd White to be a public school board trustee — a move sure to remind people of the ongoing battle between the Hamilton NDP MPP and his staffer.

White, the board's current chair, has filed a human rights complaint against MPP Miller, his employer

Todd White, chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, is running again in Ward 5. So has Carole Paikin Miller, who is married to Paul Miller. Miller, an MPP, is White's employer, but the relationship has been fractured. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)

The wife of NDP MPP Paul Miller is running for public school trustee against incumbent Todd White, who is embroiled in a human rights and employment grievances feud with her husband.

Carole Paikin Miller's candidacy sets the stage for the NDP's internal squabbles to spill over into the school board race this fall.

White, who is current chair of the board, is Miller's constituency assistant and has filed a human rights complaint against his boss and several grievances against him over workplace issues.

I'll let voters conclude what this all means.- Todd White

Carole Paikin Miller registered Thursday to be a Ward 5 trustee for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB). That's the seat White has held for two terms.

Paikin Miller, a retired teacher who registered with a Binbrook address outside of the east-end Ward 5, wouldn't comment Thursday.

"I'd rather not discuss this now," she told CBC News.

White, who is HWDSB's chair, has served as Miller's constituency assistant for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek for 11 years. But in 2015, White alleges in his human rights complaint, the relationship grew tense.

Carole Paikin Miller, second from left, is running against Todd White for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Paikin Miller is married to Paul Miller, an NDP MPP White has filed a human rights complaint against. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

That's when he took parental leave to be the primary caregiver for his baby, White said. 

White, who is on parental leave for his second child now, alleges Miller pressured him to leave and questioned his commitment to his job.

His complaint also alleges Miller routinely made sexist, racist and homophobic comments around the office, and pressured employees to campaign for him during office hours.

Miller deferred CBC News questions to the NDP at the time, and the party said it wouldn't comment on specific personnel issues.

But Marla DiCandia, caucus director of operations, said the NDP is the only unionized caucus in Ontario. And the party is committed to the grievance process.

​"We are committed to working with our staff unions to resolve all disputes in a fair, transparent and credible way consistent with the terms of their agreements," she said in April.

White's was one of three recent human rights complaints filed against a Hamilton NDP MPP, the other two being from Hamilton Mountain constituency employees. White has also filed several grievances.

Todd White, Carole Paikin Miller and Jason McLaughlin are running in Ward 5. (HWDSB)

Of Paikin Miller running, ​"there's little that I can add to the conversation that hasn't already been said," White said.

"I think the actions and behaviour are consistent with what has already been reported. I'll let voters conclude what this all means."

White said he's running again to continue with some big ongoing board projects. That includes community hubs planned for Greensville and the downtown Sir John A. Macdonald high school site that include schools and community services

He's also been working with the city on a Riverdale community hub, he said.

"A lot of those projects are near the final stages" and just need provincial funding, he said. "To ensure those projects are completed are very important to me, very important to the board, and most importantly to students."

Jason McLaughlin is also running in Ward 5. He said he's focusing on his own campaign.

"I'm going on a low budget," said McLaughlin, a nurse and father of three. "I'm just going to get out there and hit the streets."

Nominations close at 2 p.m. Friday.

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