Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sexual harassment complaint against Senator Brazeau proceeding at CHRC

Mr. Harper's questionable Senate appointee back in the news today: "Senator harassment case to go to fed rights panel." The sexual harassment complaint against Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, by one complainant (there was another), has been transferred to the federal body, the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
"The parties are agreed, although for different reasons, that this tribunal has no jurisdiction over the application and the applicant has taken steps to have her complaint dealt with under the federal act."
Lawyer Michael Swinwood, who represents the woman behind the complaint, says she will decide "imminently" on next steps. She is considering suing Brazeau and the congress, he said.

"We're quite concerned about the way the matter has been dealt with all the way through from the perspective of the organization - which would include our friend Senator Brazeau.

"I'm really talking about issues surrounding the complaint itself, and how they were handled internally at the time the complaints were made."

Brazeau declined to comment Wednesday.

He has confirmed the dispute involves inappropriate text messages and phone calls. But he has repeatedly tried to distance himself from the case, stressing that the human rights complaint formally named the congress - not him specifically. (emphasis added)
Read the rest of the article which canvasses the long list of issues surrounding Senator Brazeau which have clouded this particular appointment and called into question Mr. Harper's judgment in making it in the first place.  It remains a source of amazement that the fact that sexual harassment allegations had been made meant little to the Conservative crew compiling Senate appointments while parliament was prorogued in December. They had a questionable basis for engaging in any of the Senate appointments, given that their government was on tenuous ground and facing the possibility of defeat. And yet in this case, defiantly announced that despite the allegations, of which they were aware, were proud to make the appointment. Standing up for women? Not so much.

So now Mr. Brazeau and the complainant will have their hearings at the CHRC. Due process for both parties and we will await the results of that proceeding. And perhaps a lawsuit.