Legislative Report (21 March 2007)

Carriere Affair Demonstrates Hypocrisy of Calvert NDP

I may say we all read with interest (the newspaper) coverage, but before that I and the ministers had no particular knowledge (of complaints against Murdoch Carriere).
- Lorne Calvert, April 3, 2003

Realizing that this was a matter of personnel, realizing that by virtue of her letter that some complaint had been laid with the RCMP, I wrote back and said I couldn’t, I wouldn’t meet. I referred her then to take this concern to the Deputy Minister of the Environment.
- Lorne Calvert, March 15, 2007

When did the Premier first know about allegations of sexual harassment against senior government employee Murdoch Carriere and what did he do when he found out? Those are the questions being asked this week at the Saskatchewan Legislature.

The issue is important, because it cuts to the heart of credibility and accountability. Since 2003, Lorne Calvert has repeatedly said he was not aware of any allegations against Mr. Carriere, until the matter was leaked to the media. Now, the Premier admits that’s not in fact, the whole truth.

The whole truth is that on March 10, 2003, one of the women complaining about sexual harassment in Saskatchewan Environment’s Fire management and Forest Protection Branch wrote the Premier. This was well before news that Carriere was being transferred instead of being fired made its way on to the front pages of Saskatchewan newspapers on April 1 of that year.

What was the Premier’s response? Did he ask his officials whether the allegations were true? Did he ask what action his government was taking to investigate these claims? Did he agree to a request from the nine women involved for a meeting to discuss the decision to transfer instead of fire Murdoch Carriere? No. Mr. Calvert sent back a letter saying it would not be appropriate for him to get involved.

Interestingly, that is the very same response he’s been using to justify the decision to pay Murdoch Carriere $275,000 to settle an outstanding legal action against the government of Saskatchewan. He said, there’s nothing I can do. And if I had to do it over again, I’d do the same thing.

Radio stations across the province have been playing the voices of women who say they were sexually harassed. They’re angry at the decision to pay Murdoch Carriere. And they’re angry with the way the NDP has bungled this case.

They say people in authority looked the other way. One woman said “All of the people who covered his butt all the years, they’re still out there and that’s the one thing that I can’t understand”.

It’s long past the point where you can believe anything that anyone says in this tired, old NDP government. The only time they tell the truth is when they are in danger of being discovered. This was seen in SPUDCO, in the Oyate Safe House case, where young women were put in danger because the NDP turned a blind eye to poor conditions at the safe house. And we’re seeing the same pattern again in the Murdoch Carriere scandal.

The people of Saskatchewan deserve honest and accountable government. They deserve something better than an NDP government that doesn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.

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