Nfld. & Labrador

Leaked letter breaks Liberal MHA's trust in bullying investigation of ousted colleagues

Liberal MHA Colin Holloway wants an independent investigation of his allegations of bullying against ousted cabinet ministers Eddie Joyce and Dale Kirby, after his confidential letter of complaint was leaked.

Colin Holloway now wants an independent investigation into his allegations

Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway says he was caught off-guard when his letter was leaked. (CBC)

If Liberal MHA Colin Holloway had any faith in the investigative process of his allegations of bullying within the caucus, he definitely doesn't anymore. 

"I am now calling for an independent investigation into the allegations I have brought forward to the commissioner of legislative standards," Holloway told CBC News on Friday, adding that he's hired a lawyer. 

The representative for Terra Nova's request comes a day after his letter of complaint to commissioner Bruce Chaulk about the behaviour of Eddie Joyce and Dale Kirby was leaked.

An excerpt from Holloway's leaked letter of complaint to the commissioner of legislative standards. (CBC)

CBC News received a copy of the letter Friday. 

Holloway details several situations in which he felt Joyce and Kirby bullied him, including when he "was the only MHA who refused to agree" and support a proposal to redefine the MHA pension benefit plan. 

When Holloway publicly supported fellow MHA Pam Parsons as Speaker of the House of Assembly instead of Premier Dwight Ball's pick, Perry Trimper, Holloway wrote that he found himself "in quite the quandary." 

Joyce allegedly called him 11 times within two weeks, saying things like, "Pam's success would be a vote against the premier," and Kirby sent the below message. 

Holloway referenced this message he allegedly received from Dale Kirby in his complaint against the former cabinet minister. (CBC)

'Taken off guard'

Holloway said he learned the letter was leaked Thursday afternoon, when, as parliamentary secretary, he attended an event for Justice Minister Andrew Parsons. 

"It was unusual that I was asked to fill in at the environmental workshop yesterday at the last minute, and when I got there, reporters had the leaked letter."

He said he was "taken off-guard by the reports" and is not the person who leaked the letter. 

Another excerpt from Holloway's leaked letter of complaint to the commissioner of legislative standards. (CBC)

"I was confident it would remain confidential through the investigation process," Holloway said. 

He also said his colleagues told him to "only give the commissioner high-level information to identify the issues, but not go into great detail."

"In hindsight, I should have listened to them," said Holloway. 

"There's only two other people who had copies of my complaint, that I know of, besides the commissioner — and they are the lawyers for Mr. Joyce and Mr. Kirby."

'Completely independent, completely unbiased'

Chaulk is responsible for enforcing the House of Assembly Code of Conduct and investigating potential breaches of it, and right now he has several complaints on his desk.

At a media update Friday afternoon, Finance Minister Tom Osborne defended Chaulk and the current investigative process. 

Finance Minister Tom Osborne defended the investigation into Holloway's complaints. (Meghan McCabe/CBC)

"Completely independent, completely unbiased. [He has] not have shown any bias in any way over the many years that he's worked there," said Osborne.

"And he was endorsed by the House of Assembly as an independent person, who've all said that he holds the characteristics and the qualifications to hold that position.

"He shouldn't be taking the brunt of some comments that some people are making."

Kirby, left, and Eddie Joyce are the subjects of Holloway's request for an inquiry. (CBC)

The two cabinet ministers, Eddie Joyce and Dale Kirby, were removed from the Liberal party after Premier Dwight Ball was told of the complaints. 

Kirby told CBC News on Friday that he cannot speak with media at this time, and Joyce said the same, but that he would be happy to share his side after the investigation. 

A new harassment-free workplace policy for public servants came into effect June 1, with mandatory training, and members of the House of Assembly will adhere to it as well until a new policy governing their behaviour is in place. 

With files from Fred Hutton