Embattled MLA takes medical leave
•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.