Nfld. & Labrador

After Eddie Joyce says they can't work together, Sherry Gambin-Walsh says they can

"It's very unfortunate for MHA Joyce to feel that way," Gambin-Walsh said.

Gambin-Walsh responded to comments made by Joyce on Wednesday

Sherry Gambin-Walsh says she tries to work with everyone, and believes Premier Dwight Ball has been supportive of her and the caucus. (Katie Breen/CBC)

One day after Eddie Joyce said it's him or Sherry Gambin-Walsh in the Liberal caucus, Gambin-Walsh says she has worked well with Joyce in the past and is willing to find a way to continue to do so.

"It's very unfortunate for MHA Joyce to feel that way," Gambin-Walsh said, referring to Joyce's comments made Wednesday on Here & Now that he would not return to a Liberal cabinet or caucus that includes Gambin-Walsh.

The MHA speaks with CBC's Here & Now in response to findings in his behaviour 7:38

"It's hurtful that he's saying that, and it's unfortunate that he's saying that."

Gambin-Walsh said she believes a system of restorative justice is possible.

But for now, she thinks it's best to follow the suggestions of the commissioner for legislative standards, Bruce Chaulk, and let matters play out in the House of Assembly.

"I can work with anyone who's just and honest," Gambin-Walsh told reporters Thursday after question period at the House of Assembly.

She declined to clarify if she believes Joyce himself fits that description.

Gambin-Walsh's complaint resulted in a report finding that Joyce broke the code of conduct for elected officials by lobbying to have a friend hired for a government job.

Ball noncommittal on Joyce

Premier Dwight Ball addressed both Gambin-Walsh's and Joyce's comments after question period Thursday.

"Minister Gambin-Walsh talked about a restorative process, which is important," Ball said. 

"I think all of us can learn a lesson from the comments that she's made about what the future would look like."

Premier Dwight Ball, speaking to reporters Thursday, says he's watching the situation intently. (Katie Breen/CBC)

The premier wouldn't commit to inviting Joyce to return to the Liberal caucus, saying he wants to wait to allow the process to play out. Ball also said his position isn't affected by Joyce's unwillingness to be in the Liberal caucus with Gambin-Walsh. 

"I'm watching this very intently, very closely," he said.

"The responsibility on me right now is to make sure that I do what I said I would do, and then once the debate is over decisions will be made by me as premier and leader of the Liberal Party."

Report should be public: Ball

Ball said he has not read the Rubin Thomlinson reports that both Joyce and MHA Dale Kirby want released, but would like to see them made public at the right time.

It's also important to ensure that the privacy of those involved in their reports, as well as their families, is respected, said the premier.

The information within the reports could help make the House of Assembly more respectful, Ball said.

"We are committed, I am committed, to improving the system," he said.

"Having that information available to us, I think, could lead to some of the ideas and suggestions that would lead to an improved environment within this House of Assembly."

Committee reviewing alleged breaches by Kirby, Holloway

After MHAs voted in favour of having a legislative committee look into whether Kirby breached house privilege by releasing harassment reports to the media, Kirby argued Thursday that MHA Colin Holloway should be investigated as well.

Back in August, Holloway gave CBC News copies of a harassment report conducted by Chauk into bullying allegations Holloway had lobbied at Joyce and Kirby. 

"If you're going to refer me to the committee, then it is only fair for the member who did exactly the same thing months before I did to be referred there as well, regardless of whether or not it makes any sense to do that," said Kirby. 

But Holloway maintains he did nothing wrong, and said as the person who came forward with a complaint in the report, his situation is different from Kirby's.

He said he was not the first person to release the reports in August, and only discussed them publicly to defend himself.

"I was not in the same category. I was actually the person who was the complainant, and now my reputation was being trashed in the media because the reports were already in the public domain."

Ultimately, Holloway lost his argument, and after a short break, speaker Perry Trimper ruled that like Kirby, Holloway will also face a breach of privilege investigation.

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