Opposition MLA calls harassment complaint from civil servant an 'unprecedented' intimidation attempt
WINNIPEG -- A member of Manitoba's official opposition says a high-ranking civil servant in the provincial government has filed a workplace harassment complaint against him – calling it an 'unprecedented' attempt to intimidate and silence him.
In a matter of privilege tabled in Manitoba's Legislative Assembly on Wednesday evening, NDP MLA Adrien Sala said Treasury Board secretary Paul Beauregard launched a complaint in early October claiming that Sala bullied, harassed, offended, and embarrassed him.
Sala said the complaint stems from a line of questioning he put to Beauregard in the Legislative Assembly, alleging he interfered with Manitoba Hydro during an RFP process for an 'important government contract.'
The MLA said the contract was awarded to Bell MTS, Beauregard's former employer.
"I have asked questions about this issue and the appearance of a conflict of interest that it raises because I am voicing the concerns of the Manitobans I represent," Sala said in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
He said lawyers investigating the complaint have been demanding he release the names of people who revealed the information to the NDP, the names of the journalists he spoke with, and release the documents the NDP obtained during its research into the matter.
He said the lawyers also told him to sign non-disclosure agreements.
"Mr. Beauregard has demanded I stopped my questions of the government in this house on this issue. He has demanded his complaint be kept confidential, that a cloak of secrecy be placed on this entire matter," Sala said, calling the investigation an attempt to 'silence' him.
"This matter is unprecedented, and such an abuse of a policy of the Legislative Assembly, in order to intimidate a member, has never taken place in this chamber before," Sala said.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Premier Brian Pallister said Beauregard was being "personally attacked on the basis of false information."
"I think that's exactly what the anti-harassment, anti-bullying legislation was designed to prevent," Pallister said.
"If Mr. Sala or anyone else in the NDP wants to attack me, they can have at 'er, but when they're attacking a civil servant in my province, I'm going to stand up and defend the civil servant every single time."
When asked if Beauregard would comment on the matter, a provincial spokesperson told CTV News the matter had been addressed by elected officials.