Premier Dwight Ball has written a letter to opposition leader Paul Davis complaining about a confrontation with Tory MHA Jim Lester outside the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
“Yesterday after Question Period, Mr. Jim Lester, a member of your caucus representing the district of Mount Pearl North, waited outside the House of Assembly to confront me,” Ball wrote in the later dated March 1. “During this confrontation, he physically stood in front of the government caucus room door, preventing me from entering. I asked Mr. Lester if he was intending to block me, to which he aggressively responded “yes”. He then proceeded to make heated comments. Eventually, I was able to enter the caucus room without further incident.
“Fortunately I did not feel personally threatened; however, I do feel that this is reprehensible behaviour that could intimidate other members of the House of Assembly or employees of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The fact that this occurred on Anti-Bullying day is particularly egregious.
“As you are aware, I committed that the government caucus will be the first to participate in training on our new Harassment-Free Workplace Policy, which is one of the most progressive workplace harassment policies in Canada. I am disappointed that within minutes of restating this commitment, this incident occurred. I request that you please ensure Mr. Lester, and the rest of your caucus, also participate in this training such that this potentially intimidating behaviour is avoided in the future.”
Davis said Friday he had spoken to Lester and described the incident as a discussion.
“He was in the House and he’s a brand new MHA,” Davis said on NTV’s Issues and Answers. “They were riding him pretty good in the House, and the premier was saying some stuff across the aisle to him. So, that happened, Jim had a discussion with him, we have discussions outside the House every day. … I’m not really sure why they’ve taken the approach on it that they have.”