Eddie Joyce sounds off at Dwight Ball, says premier told him allegations were 'B.S.'
Ball denies allegations, after Joyce says he 'doesn't have the courage to stand up for what's right'
If there was any glimmer of hope for Eddie Joyce to one day rejoin the Liberal caucus, he may have shot it down on Monday evening.
Joyce stood in the House of Assembly during a debate about an unrelated subject and instead used the bulk of his 10-minute timeframe to rant about the premier.
Joyce claims Dwight Ball was on his side throughout the allegations of harassment and bullying, until distancing himself after the reports came out.
"I'm not letting you go public anymore and destroy my career because you haven't got the courage to stand up for what's right," Joyce said.
"Did you ever tell me that [the allegations] were B.S.? Your exact words, they were B.S. Did you tell me that, Premier? Stand up."
In a phone call with CBC News, Ball denied that he called the harassment allegations "B.S.", saying he doesn't recall that conversation and it doesn't sound like the type of language he uses.
Ball said the rant was "disappointing," given that he and Joyce used to be close friends and colleagues, but said it's a turn of events he expected.
"I've known Eddie Joyce a long time and there's a level of frustration that I see in those types of comments," Ball said. "I said early on that once this debate started, the reports would be one thing, but the response by the MHAs involved would be another thing."
Despite Joyce's directions for Ball to "stand up," the premier was not in the House of Assembly early Monday evening during the debate.
The next time you go to the media, tell them how many discussions we had over those five or six months.- Eddie Joyce, MHA for Humber-Bay of Islands
Joyce was particularly incensed by allegations he leaked Sherry Gambin-Walsh's name as the source of a complaint against him.
"The allegations are 100 per cent false, but yet I'm the big bad bully. I'm the big, bad guy here in this whole House of Assembly."
'Restorative' process needed, Ball says
Joyce was mostly cleared of wrongdoing in reports by the Commissioner for Legislative Standards, Bruce Chaulk.
Despite coming up fairly clean, Joyce was not invited back to cabinet or caucus. His former post as Minister of Municipal Affairs was instead given to Labrador West MHA Graham Letto.
In an interview with NTV aired on Sunday, Ball said he hasn't spoken to Joyce since the reports were tabled, but said the option is there for a "restorative justice process."
I'm not being the whipping boy anymore- Eddie Joyce, MHA for Humber-Bay of Islands
Joyce took the opportunity on Monday to go in the opposite direction.
He asked Ball to go on record about how many times he called Joyce's house after the allegations came out and to reveal his personal opinions on the allegations.
"The next time you go to the media, tell them how many discussions we had over those five or six months [after the allegations]," he said. "I'm not being the whipping boy anymore."
Despite Joyce's tirade, Ball said his offer stands — sign on for a restorative process and there's a pathway back to the Liberal caucus.
Ball did acknowledge, however, that Joyce's comments may have hurt his chances of being accepted by others in the caucus.
"[Restorative justice] is only effective when all members so desire and are willing to engage and show an ability to effectively engage and work together."