Province mum on whether MLA accused of harassment still on Manitoba Hydro board

The provincial government is refusing to say whether a veteran MLA accused of harassment still has a seat on the Manitoba Hydro board.

Ministers dodge questions on Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon, who PCs aren't identifying as alleged perpetrator

Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon is the only surviving member of the Manitoba Hydro board after mass resignations earlier this year. His future may be in doubt after he became the subject of a harassment allegation. (CBC)

The provincial government is refusing to say whether a veteran MLA accused of harassment still has a seat on the Manitoba Hydro board. 

Crown Services Minister Colleen Mayer deflected the question Tuesday, as her government remains tight-lipped on the political future of Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon.

"Internal discussions are happening and it is a cabinet decision and it will be discussed as soon as we are able to convene together," Mayer said.

Manitoba Hydro has declined to comment. 

Graydon reportedly asked a female legislative staff member to sit on his lap during a recent meeting where there were no chairs available, according to a government source familiar with the situation.

The matter came to light on Friday when the Progressive Conservatives said the complaint was dealt with internally. The government and PC caucus have not said what measures were taken or even acknowledged Graydon is the MLA involved or if he apologized to the staff member.

Graydon has not spoken with CBC News, but he told the Canadian Press last weekend the decision appeased everybody involved.

Taken seriously  

When asked, Mayer declined to comment on the allegations, nor share whether she's witnessed any untoward behaviour by her colleague.

Mayer said harassment allegations of any kind should be investigated promptly.

"When I became an MLA, I stated as a woman first of all, all allegations in any workforce anywhere are taken seriously," she said, insisting an appropriate resolution must be sought in every case.

Graydon was the lone holdout on the Manitoba Hydro board when every other director resigned en masse earlier this year due to multiple disagreements with the government.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the harassment allegation has been addressed with the original complainant to their satisfaction. 

"We will be meeting as a caucus next week to review the facts. We will have a caucus discussion," he said.

Cullen said Monday that more information on the harassment complaint may soon be forthcoming.

The PC government announced its new sexual harassment policy last February. The new "no wrong door" policy gives all staff, including political employees, the option to take their complaints to Fred Meier, the clerk of the executive council — the highest ranking civil servant. 

This is not the first time Graydon has been in hot water politically.

Earlier this year, the Emerson MLA was disciplined for tweeting that asylum seekers were "illegals" in Canada and a "drain on society." Graydon was required to undergo sensitivity training. He apologized. 

With files from Kristin Annable, Sean Kavanagh