NDP leader vows to en­sure ‘safe space’ for ev­ery­one

Party takes claims of sex as­sault and ha­rass­ment ‘very se­ri­ously,’ Sa­rauer says

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY + REGION - MOR­GAN MODJESKI mmod­jeski@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/Mor­ganM_SP

The in­terim leader of the Saskatchewan NDP is as­sert­ing that the safety of the party’s mem­bers, staff and vol­un­teers is a pri­or­ity in re­sponse to a blog post that emerged Wed­nes­day night.

Ni­cole Sa­rauer, who was named in­terim leader of the Saskatchewan NDP in June, told re­porters in Regina on Thurs­day that the party has an anti-ha­rass­ment com­mit­tee and takes all al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault and ha­rass­ment “very se­ri­ously.”

“Our No. 1 goal is do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to en­sure the sur­vivor is sup­ported and that she’s safe and that we do ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly can to en­sure that not only she’s safe within the party, but the party is a safe space for ev­ery­body,” she said.

Sa­rauer said the ha­rass­ment com­mit­tee process is un­der­way, but that she doesn’t know what stage the process is at, due to the fact it’s in­de­pen­dent and sep­a­rate from party lead­er­ship and cau­cus. She told re­porters nu­mer­ous times dur­ing Thurs­day’s news con­fer­ence that she be­lieves sur­vivors.

She said the party will also con­duct an in­ter­nal re­view to de­ter­mine if any im­prove­ments could be made to the process.

“We want to do ev­ery­thing we can to cre­ate a safe space for ev­ery­body within our party and part of that is about hav­ing that larger dis­cus­sion,” Sa­rauer said.

“I’m not go­ing to stand out here and tell you we’re go­ing to be fin­ger point­ing, but we’re go­ing to be look­ing at how this sit­u­a­tion was dealt with and how we can bet­ter deal with that sit­u­a­tion in the fu­ture.”

Sa­rauer noted po­lit­i­cal par­ties aren’t the only or­ga­ni­za­tions sus­cep­ti­ble to is­sues of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, not­ing the anti-ha­rass­ment com­mit­tee does have the power to im­pose sanc­tions on a mem­ber, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing a per­son from the party.

MICHAEL BELL

Ni­cole Sa­rauer, Saskatchewan NDP in­terim leader, says she be­lieves sur­vivors of sex as­sault.

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