NDP MLA Mohinder Saran suspended after sexual harassment allegation
New Democrats refuse to reveal identity of member suspended from caucus
A Manitoba MLA has been suspended from attending NDP caucus meetings after allegations the New Democrat verbally sexually harassed someone.
The NDP refused to reveal the identity of the member, but sources with knowledge of the investigation told CBC News Maples MLA Mohinder Saran was suspended following the allegations.
"The Speaker and the legislative assembly take any allegations of harassment very seriously," House Speaker Myrna Driedger said. "We have policies in place to ensure a safe work environment."
Accused of 'inappropriate overtures'
Saran was accused of making "inappropriate overtures" and comments that bordered on propositioning to a subordinate, a source who spoke with the Canadian Press said. Because of the power imbalance, "someone's livelihood was potentially at stake," the source told CP.
Saran was born in India and moved to Canada in 1970.
The former cabinet was first elected in 2007, and re-elected in 2011 and 2016. He narrowly beat out Tory Kaur Sidhu by 127 votes in The Maples riding this past spring.
Promoted by Selinger
Saran was a backbencher until April 2015, when then-premier Greg Selinger promoted him to the cabinet portfolio of Housing and Community Development. The promotion came a few weeks after Selinger survived an internal coup by a 33-vote margin at a NDP leadership convention.
Saran played an important role in helping Selinger win. He backed Selinger and helped deliver 117 delegate votes from The Maples.
Saran ran and lost to Driedger for the House Speaker position in May.
According to the NDP, Saran was the province's first Indo-Canadian cabinet member.
Saran has been actively involved with Folklorama over the years. He was formerly the president of the Sikh Society of Manitoba and director of the India Association.
Human resources investigated allegations
The party plans to reassess the status of the MLA after the process has come to a close.
"The provincial human resources branch was notified and investigated the allegations. The branch completed its investigation and is working with all parties to resolve all outstanding issues," an NDP spokesperson wrote in a statement.
The legislature isn't slated to sit again until March.
With files from Sean Kavanagh and the Canadian Press