Saskatoon

Erin Weir questions legality of expulsion from NDP caucus, points to Philpott

Regina MP Erin Weir is questioning the legality of his expulsion from the NDP caucus last year. This comes after MP Jane Philpott said in the House of Commons that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated her rights and the rights of Jody Wilson-Raybould when he expelled them from Liberal caucus without a full caucus vote.

Weir says MP Jane Philpott raised similar questions about her expulsion from the Liberal caucus

The federal NDP claim that an independent investigation found one claim of harassment and three claims of sexual harassment against MP Erin Weir. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Regina MP Erin Weir is questioning the legality of his expulsion from the NDP caucus last year.

This comes after MP Jane Philpott said in the House of Commons that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated her rights and the rights of Jody Wilson-Raybould when he expelled them from Liberal caucus without a full caucus vote.

"Now that the issue has been put out there for public discussion I think it is worth noting and worth remembering that Mr. Singh ignored the law when he threw me out of the NDP caucus," Weir said.

Weir said the question of legality stems from the Parliament of Canada Act, which sets out a model rule for expulsions from caucus.

"The NDP caucus voted to not adopt that model rule in 2016, which was far later than required by law and therefore of questionable legitimacy," he said.

"The reason the NDP caucus voted not to adopt those safeguards is that we were assured by our leadership that the only reason someone would be expelled is if they were subject to criminal charges and then a conviction."

Weir was expelled after a harassment investigation but no charges were laid.

'Worth calling attention to'

He said the Speaker has ruled that he will not enforce the Parliament of Canada Act and the section in the Act that deals with caucus expulsions is not subject to judicial review.

"So the speaker isn't going to enforce the law and the courts can't enforce the law. So I'm not really sure how it could be pursued in a more formal way. But I think it is worth calling attention to the fact that the law was ignored by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in removing me from the NDP caucus," Weir said.

We were assured by our leadership that the only reason someone would be expelled is if they were subject to criminal charges and then a conviction.- Regina MP Erin Weir

He said he also feels due process was lacking in his expulsion, noting that he didn't receive written notice and a caucus vote was not held.

"It's important to have that process because it creates enough of a delay that the MP at risk of being expelled would have an opportunity to make their case to the caucus…. There was no opportunity for me to actually go to caucus and tell my side of the story and explain what happened and make the case as to why I should remain a member of caucus."

He said it's important to keep some power in the hands of MPs, "rather than concentrating it all in the leader's hands."

Weir said that since the accusations surfaced, he has participated in sensitivity training and he's apologized for his actions.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon, CBC Saskatchewan, and CBC North; and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca

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