Nfld. & Labrador

Tory leader raises spectre of harassment in cabinet ranks, but won't name names

Paul Davis pushed for answers Tuesday on whether the Liberals have been dealing with harassment and bullying in their ranks.
Paul Davis wouldn't name names but asked a series of questions about whether Dwight Ball has been dealing with complaints about bullying or harassment. (Ted Dillon/CBC)
Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis pushed for answers Tuesday on whether the Liberals have been dealing with harassment and bullying in their ranks, but stopped short of asking a completely detailed question.

In a series of questions at the House of Assembly, Davis raised the spectre of bullying within the top political circles at Confederation Building, but would not reveal who allegedly said or did what to whom.

"I ask the premier if he can confirm if any harassment or bullying-related complaints have been filed or made to his office by any member or members of his caucus or his cabinet," Davis asked Premier Dwight Ball.

Ball said while the government takes the issue seriously, he said nothing has been put before him.

"No, there has been no allegations that have come to me on any issue facing our caucus or cabinet members," said Ball, who responded in a similar way to follow-up questions.

Extra detail revealed outside House of Assembly

Outside the legislature, Davis gave slightly more information to reporters.

He revealed that Liberal MHAs had approached him with concerns that they could not raise themselves publicly.

Dwight Ball said if harassment complaints had been brought to his staff, he would know about it. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Davis said he was encouraged to speak up, and was shown documentation about an unnamed cabinet minister.

He said he was told that the premier's office had been involved in a dispute resolution process that had been unsuccessful.

Ball, though, insists that if his staff had been involved, he would have known.

He made that point during his exchange with Davis in the House, after which Ball made his own suggestions about the Tory side.

"I could go on and give, you know, examples of, you know, within his own caucus, but I am not going to go there," said the premier.

Speaking to reporters later, Ball said he was referring to an earlier incident involving Tory MHA Jim Lester, in which he felt that Lester had been too aggressive during a conversation outside the legislature. Ball said he took his concerns to Davis directly.

Status of Women Minister Siobhan Coady, who fielded a similar question from Davis, said nothing "privately or otherwise" has been raised with her.

"I do encourage the member, if he's aware of something that he needs to come forward with, he should do so," Coady told the House.