The House of Assembly Management Commission voted Wednesday evening to defer the idea of adopting an interim anti-harassment policy for the legislature.
The Privileges and Elections Committee has been charged with developing a legislature-specific anti-harassment policy. But the commission debated whether to use the government’s Harassment-Free Workplace Policy as an interim measure until the committee completes its work.
The commission was told there would be complexities with how the government policy would work alongside the existing MHA Code of Conduct. Commission members voted to defer the issue until their next meeting so they can consult their respective caucuses.
The commission did approve a plan for the Law Clerk to draft amendments that will make it mandatory for all MHAs to take anti-harassment training. The commission will vote on those amendments at its next meeting.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Legislative Standards, Bruce Chaulk, said he has received two formal complaints from MHAs. He has also spoken to other MHAs, so more complaints may be coming. He added that he had considered launching an investigation on his own when the allegations first arose.
PC MHA Paul Davis asked for a status update on independent MHAs Dale Kirby and Eddie Joyce, who have been removed from cabinet and the Liberal caucus pending an investigation into their conduct. Speaker Perry Trimper said he has granted their requests to be absent from the House of Assembly for an indefinite period of time.
In other business, the commission also deferred a complicated request by the PC caucus involving the $42,000 travel budget for the Leader of the Official Opposition. Because PC leader Ches Crosbie does not have a seat in the House of Assembly, the Tories are asking for a policy change to allow other MHAs to access that money.
Finally, the commission approved a new rule that prevents MHAs from being reimbursed for cannabis purchases. The rules already prevent MHAs from being reimbursed for alcohol purchases. So when cannabis becomes legal, MHAs will not be able to expense taxpayers for weed.