Saskatchewan

Woman at centre of Sask. NDP sexual harassment investigation wants premier to stop citing her story

The woman who sparked a sexual harassment investigation inside the Sask. NDP wants the premier to stop using her story as a rebuttal during question period.

Brad Wall apologizes on Twitter

Interim Saskatchewan NDP leader Nicole Sarauer said the party has hired outside experts to review allegations of sexual harassment. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

The woman who sparked a sexual harassment investigation inside the Saskatchewan NDP wants the premier to stop using her story as a rebuttal during question period.

For the past two days, Brad Wall has raised allegations made by Rylee Schuhmacher to respond to questions from interim Opposition leader Nicole Sarauer on the Global Transportation Hub.

Schuhmacher wants him to stop.

"Yes my case was public but that doesn't mean he gets to bring it up to avoid answering questions about the GTH," she said.

Rylee Schuhmacher has accused a former NDP candidate of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The party is investigating. (Submitted by Rylee Schuhmacher )

The premier raised the issue in the legislature on Tuesday, saying: "I do think it's interesting that the party that's lecturing on the issue of accountability and transparency has a former leader who is alleged to have had a complaint on sexual harassment brought to him and it's also been alleged that he did nothing about it."

Premier Brad Wall raised the NDP's sexual harassment allegations in response to Opposition questions about the RCMP investigation into the Global Transportation Hub on Tuesday. (Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly)

Sarauer said that comment was disgusting.

"We've been very open. I've been very clear about this issue. And for him to try to drag this place down and try to use a survivor's story for his own political gain is absolutely disgusting," she said after question period.

Schuhmacher had called on the premier to apologize, which he later did on social media.

"He apologized to me publicly before ever apologizing to me privately, so it's entirely PR," she said. 

Outside expert investigating

Schuhmacher has accused a former NDP candidate of harassment and sexual assault.

She also says complaints about his behaviour were made to higher-ups in the party at the time, but that nothing was done about them.

The NDP had previously said the allegations would be reviewed by an internal, but independent, committee of the party.

Now, Sarauer says the party has hired outside experts to investigate.

Schumacher said the premier's apology fails to note the steps the party is taking to investigate her claims.

"The NDP is dealing with this. They've hired a third-party investigator," she said.

"I'm optimistic that that process will work out and be timely and thorough and I don't think it was his place to bring it up."

The provincial secretary for the Sask. NDP, John Tzupa, said he is limited in what he can say, since the party's constitution requires the anti-harassment committee to operate in a confidential manner.

However, he did confirm that the committee has decided to bring in external expertise to review the allegations.

"These investigators have extensive experience in investigating harassment complaints," he said in an email. "Bringing in someone external also ensures the investigation is independent and objective."

Tzupa said there is no deadline by which the work must be done. He said the committee believes this is the best way to ensure the concerns are appropriately investigated.