Nfld. & Labrador

House moves for more severe reprimand for Kirby and Joyce, adding respect training

Debates began Tuesday in the House of Assembly on reports into harassment, resulting in more severe reprimands for Dale Kirby and Eddie Joyce.

MHAs to receive 'individualized respectful workplace training'

Members of the House of Assembly stand to vote in favour of an amended motion that would see a reprimand for Dale Kirby that includes respectful workplace training. (CBC)

After weeks of delays, debates began Tuesday in the House of Assembly on the reports into harassment involving former Liberal MHAs Eddie Joyce and Dale Kirby, resulting in more severe reprimands for both members.

During debate of the Kirby Report of Oct. 3 in connection with a complaint from MHA Pam Parsons, Opposition leader Ches Crosbie called for a 21-day suspension for Kirby.

Crosbie pointed to "aggravating conduct, which shows intransigence, defiance and absence of remorse" on Kirby's part, and an "apparent unwillingness to publicly admit the gravity of his conduct."

The motion for suspension was voted down, but a second amendment was then brought forth by NDP MHA Lorraine Michael.

Michael said she concurred with the commissioner's recommendation that Kirby be reprimanded, but pointed out that there is nothing in provincial legislation that defines a reprimand, and felt that more than an apology was needed.

She moved to require Kirby "receive individualized respectful workplace training."

Kirby reminded the House before the vote on the amended motion that he was "exonerated by Rubin Thomlinson," but the motion was carried, 25-6 in favour, with the PCs voting against.

Kirby left the House before the vote and did not return.

Joyce reprimanded, claims 'rights violated'

In the debate of the Joyce Report dated Oct. 18, Crosbie again moved for a 21-day suspension without pay.

Crosbie said Joyce demonstrated "intransigence, defiance and absence of remorse" in the House and in the media, and a "mere reprimand" was not sufficient.

Joyce compared his treatment to a "lynching" and said he had his rights violated "like somewhere over in Syria."

I'm the punching bag here.- Eddie Joyce

"I'm the punching bag here," he said.

"It's just like Syria — someone don't like you? Let's leak it to somebody, get your name out there. Once your name is out there, they'll drag you out and flog you, who cares."

That amendment for suspension was defeated, spurring Gerry Rogers to raise a second amendment, the same as the one for Dale Kirby, for "individualized respectful workplace training."

Liberal MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh made an emotional statement and explained the details surrounding her complaint.

In a second lengthy statement from Joyce, he told members of the House to "remember who got bullied" when considering the motion to reprimand him.

The amended motion passed, with only PC MHAs voting against, and Joyce very quickly said "I apologize" when prompted to do so by Speaker Perry Trimper.

Perry's complaint 'significantly downplayed'

While debating the Joyce Report dated Oct. 19, MHA Tracey Perry told the House she first raised concern of bullying and harassment in October 2017, and considered submitting a complaint at that time, but decided not to proceed.

Perry said she "significantly downplayed" her complaint, in part because she saw what had happened to Holloway in relation to his complaint.

She called the process a "nightmare," but she had a duty to come forward in hopes of improving the House in the future.

In the House of Assembly Tuesday, Eddie Joyce said reports from the province's commissioner for legislative standards were coordinated in a "frenzy" to attack him. (CBC)

Joyce told the House, "think about what I went through." He said fighting is part of the process of being an MHA, and members who didn't fight for their districts should not be in the House of Assembly.

Joyce said he'd "rather stay as an Independent" than rejoin the Liberals, and accused Perry of orchestrating a play against him.

All the reports were coordinated because it was a frenzy to get Eddie Joyce.- Eddie Joyce

"This was coordinated, this was planned, the information was leaked to the opposition, and all the reports were coordinated because it was a frenzy to get Eddie Joyce," he said.

The motion to concur with the commissioner's recommendations was carried, again, with the PCs voting against, claiming defects in the process of assembling the report.

Joyce received no further reprimand in relation to the Oct. 19 report.

No reprimand in earlier reports

Earlier in the day, the legislature voted to carry motions to concur with the recommendations of the commissioner for legislative standards for both the Joyce and Kirby Reports of Aug. 24.

Both those reports were in relation to complaints filed by MHA Colin Holloway, and neither recommended a reprimand.

The House adjourned shortly after 9 p.m. and will resume Wednesday at 10 a.m.