Mayoral candidate Glen Murray says he has experienced crisis but does not bring personal problems to work
Murray said last week he allowed private life to spill into his work at Pembina Institute
Glen Murray said Wednesday he has dealt with a lot of crises but he does not bring his personal life to work.
The Winnipeg mayoral candidate made the statement six days after he said his personal life spilled into his work at Alberta's Pembina Institute, where he served as executive director from September 2017 to September 2018.
During a mayoral forum organized by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association Wednesday morning, moderator Richard Cloutier asked Murray why his leadership style would suit the City of Winnipeg in 2022 if it did not fit with Pembina's in 2018.
Murray said he has a "pretty stellar" record over the course of a 40-year career in politics but has dealt with crisis in his own personal life.
"Yes, I've gone through some things, things that many people can't handle. I lost my son, I lost my mom. I'm tough. I don't bring my problems to work, but it doesn't mean that every job I've had in my life is a good fit, or there aren't people there that are going to be unhappy with change," Murray said at the forum, held in a conference room at the Holiday Inn Express Airport Polo Park.
On Thursday, Murray said his private life affected his work at Pembina.
"In my time at the Pembina Institute, I was ambitious and working hard on goals I thought we all shared as a team. It was also, however, a time of great change in my private life, and it is clear that I allowed that pressure to spill over into my work life," Murray said in a statement at his Portage Avenue campaign headquarters on Sept. 29.
According to former Pembina staff and correspondence obtained by CBC News, Murray was forced out of his job at Pembina following complaints about his management.
Murray told the mayoral forum the decision to leave was mutual.
"I came in to create significant change in an organization that clearly didn't want it. I didn't stick around. I respectfully left, mutually, and I learned with some humility that I'm not good at everything and that sometimes you have to not do things that you're not good at."
A CBC News investigation published Sept. 29 cited Pembina employees, who described Murray as a "chaotic personality" who breached confidentiality, refused to accept briefings, failed to show up to some internal meetings, showed up late to some meetings with government and corporate leaders, often did not respond to communications and drank to excess at some organization functions.
Two former Pembina employees, Duncan Kenyon and Ed Whittingham, alleged Murray used sexual innuendo in the workplace. Kenyon also alleged Murray grinded up behind him on a dance floor at a Pembina social function.
Kenyon said there were no witnesses to that alleged event and that he told a supervisor and several colleagues about it but did not take the complaint further.
Murray said on Thursday he is certain the allegation is not true and that no allegations of that nature were ever raised with him by Pembina leaders or board members.
At a policy announcement later Wednesday morning, Murray declined to answer questions about the sexual harassment allegations or other statements made about him by former Pembina staff.
WATCH | Murray declines to answer questions about sexual harassment allegations:
He did respond when he was asked why he should be mayor.
"Winnipeggers know me very well and they know me as someone who is respectful as an agent of significant change, and that always, always creates challenges sometimes when you do culture change," he said during a policy announcement on Broadway.
Murray's campaign sends support letters
In an email sent Thursday afternoon, Murray's campaign sent CBC News three letters of support for its candidate, including one from former Pembina Insititute board chair David Runnalls.
In a second letter, Bill Reed, a keynote speaker hired by Pembina for a conference that took place when Murray was executive director, said he did not see Murray drink to excess at that conference, as Kenyon and former Pembina employee Jason Switzer alleged.
Reed also said the conference was organized well, contrary to opinions expressed by former Pembina employees Kenyon, Switzer and Iain McMullan.
In a third letter provided by Murray's campaign, entitled "stiffer response v1," former Pembina employee Angus Affleck — who worked in Murray's Toronto constituency office when the Winnipeg mayoral candidate was an Ontario Liberal MPP — called the former Pembina employees who spoke out against Murray "small-minded and embittered bureaucrats" who "found Glen's ideas and personality threatening."
"Glen was hired by Pembina's board to increase the Institute's impact both within and outside of government. Unfortunately, this mandate was met with hostility and rigidity by some staff who were content to maintain the status quo," Affleck wrote.
With files from Cameron MacLean