BRANDON — The New democratic Party (NDP) of Manitoba has suffered during the years of a “toxic culture” of sexual harassment and intimidation where the victims were terrified, or unable to get help, according to a report released by the education policy at its congress held in Brandon during the week-end.
Kemlin Nembhard, one of the two commissioners who investigated the problem, addressed Saturday to the 200 delegates present at the annual congress of the party.
She described a work environment and an atmosphere toxic where inappropriate behaviour has been tolerated by senior members of the party during a long period of time.
The report refers to an “old boys club” where people have been excluded from decision-making positions. People have said to have experienced pressure to drink and party, so that the sexual activities inappropriate took place within the walls of government buildings.
The opposition party of manitoba has established its own commission of inquiry earlier this year after women had claimed to have been harassed and victims of inappropriate sexual touching of the hand of the ex-minister Stan Struthers. One of the victims, Shannon Van Raes, alleges that the politician put his hand under her skirt, making comments of a sexual nature while she was his press attaché.
Stan Struthers, who has left the policy in 2016, has refused all interview requests, but issued a statement by way of a press release in which he apologized for his actions inappropriate.
“We have spoken to people who have been involved or are involved in the party since a variable number of years, and trends on the plan of the work atmosphere and the culture in general are pretty consistent,” said Ms Nembhard.
The commissioners ‘ report do not include names of victims or alleged assailants. It does not clarify how many people have denounced nor how many assailants are involved. The document says only that former politicians were interviewed, as employees of the party at the Manitoba legislative building and other individuals.
According to Kemlin Nembhard, witnesses interviewed during the investigation revealed that they had no other choice but to endure the harassment and inappropriate behavior.
The commissioner referred to an “atmosphere of fear and loyalty”.
“The fear inspired by certain executives and an atmosphere of loyalty to the party,” she revealed.
Among the proposed recommendations include mandatory training anti-harassment and human resources for all elected and senior officials, in addition to the establishment of a formal process to allow victims to file a complaint.
The leader of the NDP of Manitoba, Wab Kinew, says he wants to adopt all of the recommendations and the delegates voted in favour of their adoption.