Em­bat­tled MLA takes med­i­cal leave

Calgary Herald - - CLASSIFIED - Steve Lam­bert

•AMan­i­to­bagov­ern­ment back­bencher who made in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments to a fe­male staff mem­ber says he is go­ing on med­i­cal leave and will not seek re­elec­tion.

Cliff Gray­don’s an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day came as the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus was pre­par­ing to dis­cuss his case next week.

“Re­cently, I made in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­marks to a staff mem­ber at the Man­i­toba leg­is­la­ture,” Gray­don said in a writ­ten state­ment.

“I have apol­o­gized fully and un­equiv­o­cally to the im­pacted in­di­vid­ual for my re­marks, which the in­di­vid­ual has ac­cepted. In ad­di­tion, I would like to of­fer the same full and un­equiv­o­cal apol­ogy to my col­leagues, my con­stituents, and, most of all, my fam­ily, all of whom ex­pect and de­serve a greater level of re­spect than I have demon­strated.”

The Win­nipeg Free Press and the CBC, quot­ing un­named sources, have re­ported that Gray­don told a cau­cus worker she should sit on his lap at a lun­cheon where there was a short­age of chairs.

The news­pa­per also said Gray­don on an­other oc­ca­sion was told by a fe­male staffer he had food on his face and he in­vited her to lick it off.

Gray­don said he is go­ing on med­i­cal leave to deal with un­spec­i­fied health prob­lems, will not run again in the 2020 pro­vin­cial elec­tion, and will un­dergo fur­ther sen­si­tiv­ity train­ing.

“I ac­knowl­edge that every­one has the right to a safe and re­spect­ful work­place. As such, I will be tak­ing ad­di­tional, more com­pre­hen­sive sen­si­tiv­ity and re­spect­ful work­place coun­selling, to be de­ter­mined by cau­cus lead­er­ship.”

The Tory politi­cian, in his early 70s, has rep­re­sented the Emer­son con­stituency near the U.S. bor­der since 2007. He faced con­tro­versy last win­ter when he used so­cial me­dia to call asy­lum-seek­ers who had been cross­ing the bor­der “a drain on so­ci­ety.”

He also retweeted other peo­ple’s posts that called Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau a traitor, a scum­bag and a dis­grace.

Gray­don apol­o­gized, deleted the tweets and agreed to step back from so­cial me­dia and un­dergo sen­si­tiv­ity train­ing, the de­tails of which were never made pub­lic.

Gray­don was fac­ing pos­si­ble sanc­tions from his fel­low Tories in the com­ing days.

Colleen Mayer, min­is­ter for Crown ser­vices, said she and her fel­low cab­i­net min­is­ters were pre­par­ing to dis­cuss whether Gray­don should be re­moved from the board of the prov­ince’s en­ergy util­ity.

The Tory cau­cus was also set to meet, although Jus­tice Min­is­ter Cliff Cullen would not say whether Gray­don faced pos­si­ble ex­pul­sion.

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