Manitoba

NDP names women to lead anti-harassment commission

Manitoba's NDP has named the two women who will lead a commission to investigate "systemic failures" in the party that allowed harassment and misconduct to occur.

Move follows CBC probe that uncovered complaints against former NDP MLA Stan Struthers

Kemlin Nembhard has worked as the senior project manager and policy analyst with Intergovernmental Affairs, and in the community economic development committee of cabinet from 2007–2008. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Manitoba's NDP has named the two women who will lead a commission to investigate "systemic failures" in the party that allowed harassment and misconduct to occur.

The New Democrats named Kemlin Nembhard and Sandra Delaronde on Tuesday as the commissioners whose work will begin in the coming weeks.

Sandra Delaronde is the co-chair of the Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (CBC)

They are tasked with investigating the experiences of current and former staff and elected officials, identifying systemic failures of the work environment that allowed incidents of harassment and misconduct to occur, and developing recommendations for change, according to a news release from the NDP.

Those recommendations will include "proper policies and protocols to ensure anyone who experiences harassment has a clear and supportive path to have it stopped and addressed," the release says.

The Commission to Establish a Safe and Respectful Political Environment was announced by party leader Wab Kinew in the wake of complaints made against former MLA and cabinet minister Stan Struthers.

A CBC News investigation revealed that four women complained to NDP brass about Struthers's behaviour between 2010 and 2015.

The party told CBC that no formal disciplinary action was taken and the complaints were never formally investigated.

Three more women have come forward in the days since the initial story. Struthers has since apologized for his actions.

After calling for the commission, Kinew approached MLA Greg Selinger — the party's former leader and the province's former premier — asking him to resign.

It was under Selinger's government that the incidents of Struthers's inappropriate touching took place, and under Selinger that nothing was done.

A week later, Selinger held a news conference to say he would retire from politics on March 7.

It is expected the commission will conclude its work by the end of April, with an interim report to be presented to the NDP convention in May 2018.

Those who want to participate in the commission can send a message to a confidential email address: commission@todaysndp.ca.

The email is accessible only to commissioners and any information shared will be kept confidential, the NDP said.

Dates and times for meetings will be set as individuals reach out to the commissioners.

Commissioner biographies

Sandra DeLaronde is the co-chair of the Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the executive director of the Indigenous Women's Leadership Institute. She served as executive director of the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation from 2001–2013.

Kemlin Nembhard served as the executive director of the Daniel McIntyre–St. Matthews Community Association from 2008 until 2017. She has worked in the provincial government as the senior project manager and policy analyst with Intergovernmental Affairs, and in the community economic development committee of cabinet from 2007 – 2008. She serves on boards for the West End Cultural Centre and Herizons Magazine, and has previously served on many others.

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