Nfld. & Labrador

Ball accuses Crosbie of 'mudslinging' after request for investigation of premier

The opposition leader says the premier breached code of conduct by discussing harassment allegations with former Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce.

Opposition leader says premier breached code of conduct by discussing allegations with Eddie Joyce

Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie has requested an investigation of Premier Dwight Ball by the commissioner for legislative standards. (CBC)

It took only a couple of hours for Premier Dwight Ball to respond to the Official Opposition leader's announcement that he has asked the commissioner for legislative standards for an investigation into the premier. 

"I also respect the people of the province, and I hope this shows them how Ches Crosbie and the PC Party spend their time — playing politics and mudslinging," he said in a release shortly after Crosbie accused him of breaching the House of Assembly's code of conduct by counselling at least one MHA on how to handle being investigated for ethics breaches. 

Commssioner Bruce Chaulk confirmed he received Crosbie's letter requesting an investigation.

"As with any correspondence received by me it is necessary for me to review same to determine how to proceed. I am presently reviewing the correspondence to determine my next steps," Chaulk told CBC News in an e-mail.

Crosbie's complaint stems from the Dec. 3 session of the House of Assembly, when then-Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce said Ball discussed and downplayed allegations against Joyce, advised him on how to respond and agreed to be a witness for him. 

"The allegations of witness tampering against Premier Ball undermine the integrity of months of deliberation by the House of Assembly," said Crosbie in the statement. 

"Return to honest government requires they be investigated."

Playing politics

Ball said he respects the House of Assembly and its rules, and that he encouraged the complainants and respondents involved to be complete in their submissions to the commissioner, "and today, Ches is taking issue with that."

Five weeks after the tense debates in the House of Assembly, Ball said all members recognized the need to work together to advance the needs of the people of the province. Crosbie's claims against him are contradictory to that," he said. 

"What Ches has done today does not contribute to collaboration, nor does it advance the priorities of the people we supposed to serve," said Ball's statement. 

Ball says Crosbie and the PC Party are 'playing politics and mudslinging,' not advancing the priorities of the residents of the province. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Hansard transcripts from the dates in question, Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, show Ball admitted to having had conversations with Joyce during Joyce's period of investigation over alleged bullying claims. Ball said he spoke with all of his MHAs at the time. 

"It was the proper thing for me to do to make sure that everyone that was engaged would do so in a very fulsome way," Ball said when pressed during question period Dec. 4, who said he didn't "coach" Joyce on the allegations.

"What I was saying [was] that people should put their responses in at a very comprehensive way, with the level of details."

Crosbie pressed the matter further at the time by asking if Ball said the allegations against Joyce were "BS," though Ball didn't directly answer the question.

As for being asked to be a witness for Joyce, Ball said in December he would have been if he were called, but he was not. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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