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May 3rd, 2018

Statement on Erin Weir

The following statement was issued by Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s NDP:

“New Democrats are committed to changing the culture of politics in Ottawa and across the country, to end the harassment and discrimination that silences women, and protects or condones the behaviour of those that use their positions of power – whether they recognize it or not – to hurt others.

We know that this is not a partisan issue, and that we are all responsible for creating change. Male politicians have a special responsibility to reflect on how they interact within this environment and with others around them.

In regards to Mr. Erin Weir, the independent investigator found one claim of harassment and three claims of sexual harassment were sustained by the evidence. In regards to the sustained claims of sexual harassment, which the investigator defined as acts of a sexual nature “that might reasonably be expected to cause offence,” it was found that Mr. Weir failed to read non-verbal cues in social situations and that his behaviour resulted in significant negative impacts on the complainants. The report found that when Mr. Weir was told his advances were unwanted, he stopped.

Based on the investigator’s findings I considered various corrective resolutions including conciliation. Such a rehabilitative approach would require Mr. Weir take full responsibility for his actions as well as commit to a successful completion of training designed to ensure such behaviour would not reoccur. In conversations with Mr. Weir, I was led to believe that he was prepared to be accountable for his behaviour.

However, recent developments demonstrate Mr. Weir is unwilling to take appropriate responsibility for his actions and therefore any rehabilitative approach is now untenable. Last night, I informed Mr. Weir of my decision to remove him from caucus, effective immediately.

As Leader of the NDP, my primary responsibility is to ensure that the behaviour at the root of these incidents is addressed, that it never happens again, and to make every effort to meet the needs of those who were impacted by these actions. Without being able to attain such assurances I cannot in good conscience allow Mr. Weir to remain a member of the NDP Caucus.

I am confident that in this situation we have responded appropriately and fairly to the claims brought forward and that Mr. Weir was provided with the opportunity to accept the findings of the report and take responsibility for his actions.

The NDP has begun a comprehensive review of our policies on harassment in concert with all aspects of our organization. This is important work and a top priority for me personally.

We need to hold individuals accountable for their behaviour, but at the same time we need to ensure that we are doing everything possible to build a workplace where people can come forward feeling supported by a protected and uncompromised process that does not contribute to further harm to the complainant.

Above all we need to create a safe work space for everyone. Those are my values. Those are New Democrat values. Those are Canadian values.”