Nfld. & Labrador

Kirby, Joyce demand release of investigation clearing them of harassment

The MHAs say the "unedited" reports, which mostly clear them of wrongdoing, should be made public.

Reports were made by Toronto firm, formed basis of ruling they had mostly done no wrong

Dale Kirby and Eddy Joyce were booted from the Liberal caucus after complaints were filed against them. (CBC)

Two MHAs are demanding the release of original reports which — for the most part — cleared them of complaints of harassment in the House of Assembly.

Dale Kirby and Eddie Joyce, both former members of the Liberal caucus, issued a joint statement Thursday morning, saying it was "incumbent" on Bruce Chaulk, the province's commissioner for legislative standards, to release the unedited reports from the Toronto consulting firm Rubin Thomlinson "in their entirety."

But they may not get their wish, even though Premier Dwight Ball, opposition leader Ches Crosbie, and NDP leader Gerry Rogers have also indicated they'd be interested in seeing the firm's findings shared publicly.

"I think we need to see for ourselves what work product they produced and how that compares to what ultimately the commissioner did," said Crosbie.

"I believe that may be something that will help. There is so much at stake here for the complainants, and there's so much at stake for the respondents," said Rogers.

"I think that information can be useful to help guide us through the decisions that we need to make," said Ball.

Chaulk said the documents are "privileged and will not be released," in response to a CBC News request to see them.

CBC asked to see the Rubin Thomlinson reports as they directly influenced Chaulk's rulings that neither Kirby nor Joyce had bullied or harassed other members of the House of Assembly. Chaulk, however, did determine that each had in certain instances breached the code of conduct for MHAs. 

Chaulk not an expert

Chaulk contracted Rubin Thomlinson to investigate complaints of harassment and bullying that erupted this spring. 

Chaulk told CBC News in May that he wasn't qualified to do it.

"I'm not a harassment investigator," he said.

Bruce Chaulk is the commissioner of legislative standards. (CBC)

But Rubin Thomlinson "wrote the literal book" on workplace harassment investigations, he said at a press briefing on Wednesday. 

Among other cases, the firm handled the investigation into Jian Ghomeshi, the disgraced radio host, and how the CBC had managed the star broadcaster before firing him in 2014. 

The Prime Minister's Office and the Canadian Olympic Committee both hired the firm of lawyers Janice Rubin and Christine Thomlinson to handle investigations of inappropriate conduct and sexual harassment, respectively. 

Chaulk used the information in the Rubin Thomlinson reports on Kirby and Joyce to write his own findings. 

Kirby was cleared of most accusations, save for comments — which Kirby said he made during a dope-smoking incident at a party convention two years ago with complainant Pam Parsons. 

Joyce was cleared for most allegations, although Chaulk faulted him for code of conduct breaches in which he tried to influence fellow minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh to have a friend hired for a government job. Gambin-Walsh refused, arguing that Joyce's friend was found to be unqualified. 

"We were confident from the beginning that these allegations were unfounded and had no merit," the statement from Kirby and Joyce read.

Firm doesn't have power to recommend action

At Wednesday's briefing, Chaulk said Cory Boyd, a lawyer with Rubin Thomlinson, led the investigation. Boyd determined who would be interviewed during the investigation and what questions would be asked, Chaulk said.

Chaulk wrote five of his own reports based on the Rubin Thomlinson documents, which Boyd wrote. Two of those looked at Kirby's behaviour, while three looked at Joyce's.

All five were tabled in the House of Assembly on Tuesday and are available to the public.

MHAs Eddie Joyce, left, and Dale Kirby sit in the House of Assembly on Oct. 23, just before reports detailing investigations into claims of harassment against them are tabled. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Chaulk said in many instances, he cut and pasted text from the Rubin Thomlinson reports into his own, changing only the names for privacy reasons.

When asked why Rubin Thomlinson didn't make the rulings on Joyce and Kirby's behaviour, he said it was because the firm doesn't have the authority to recommend recourse for members of government.

Chaulk said he is the one with that power. 

With files from Katie Breen

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