Nfld. & Labrador

Eddie Joyce demands apology for harm to reputation and 'flawed' investigation

The investigation into Eddie Joyce's behaviour was flawed and he never should have been punished, says his new legal counsel.

Ousted Liberal enlists new lawyer to help fight against government

Eddie Joyce sat down with Here & Now's Anthony Germain to speak about why he wants an apology from the House of Assembly management commission. (CBC)

Three days after a 10-minute tirade in the House of Assembly, Eddie Joyce has gone on the offensive again, this time with a terse letter demanding senior members of the Newfoundland and Labrador government say they are sorry.

Crafted by his new lawyer, Scott Burden, the letter says Joyce was never interviewed by Bruce Chaulk, the commissioner for legislative standards, about the allegation Joyce was eventually ordered to apologize for.

 "With stakes as high as this investigation presented, we believe it was an egregious error on the commissioner's part, to conclude this investigation without a personal interview of Mr. Joyce," Burden wrote.

If I had a chance to sit down with Bruce Chaulk ...I would have been able to explain to him that this never happened- Eddie Joyce

In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, the former Liberal cabinet minister said he offered to sit down with commissioner Chaulk on Aug. 1, but his lawyer couldn't make it.

Chaulk didn't want to conduct the interview without Joyce's lawyer present, Joyce said. 

Scott Burden is a lawyer with MacGillivray Law in St. John's and Halifax. (MacGillivray Law)

Rather than reschedule, he said Chaulk completed the investigations and filed the subsequent report without speaking to him in person.

That report faulted Joyce for trying to get a government job for a friend. Chaulk reprimanded him for a code of conduct violation.

Joyce said his friend didn't get a job interview for the position he applied for. He said he never pressured anybody in government to hire him.

"If I had a chance to sit down with Bruce Chaulk and show this guy applied through the [proper process], this guy never even got an interview … I would have been able to explain to him that this never happened," Joyce told Here & Now's Anthony Germain.

"This whole process was flawed. When the premier says the process was flawed, the opposition says, each member [says it], why should I have to go through this?"

Reputation suffered for months, lawyer says

In the hours after cabinet minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh laid her complaints against Joyce, his conduct became a top story around the province.

In the months between the complaint and the apology, Burden says Joyce's reputation took a major hit.

Obviously, there was a smear campaign started here.- Eddie Joyce

As a result, Burden and Joyce are demanding an an apology from Chaulk.

"While the damages to our client cannot be reversed at this point, perhaps they might be controlled by a reversal of the finding against Mr. Joyce, an acknowledgement of the unfairness of this process and an apology to him," the letter reads.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the management commission said they received Joyce's letter on Wednesday and have yet to discuss it.

Code of conduct?

Chaulk found that Joyce violated principle 10 of the code of conduct for MHAs, which states "relationships between members and government employees should be professional," and should have "regard to the duty of those employees to remain politically impartial."

Burden says this section of the code should not have applied to this situation, since the complainant — Gambin-Walsh — is a fellow MHA and not a government employee.

"Mr. Joyce did not violate principle 10 of the code of conduct," the letter reads. "It wasn't applicable in this instance …This should be acknowledged and the record of my client's violation of this principle reversed."

According to Joyce, the whole process was a witch hunt that played out in the public sphere rather than behind closed doors.

"This all supposed to be confidential. It wasn't. So, obviously, there was a smear campaign started here."


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