Ousted NDP MLA wants probe into al­leged bul­ly­ing

Luff urges oth­ers to ‘rise above par­ti­san roots and … move democ­racy for­ward’

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - EMMA GRANEY egraney@post­media.com twit­ter.com/Em­maLGraney

Ousted New Demo­crat MLA Robyn Luff wants an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her al­le­ga­tions of bul­ly­ing and mes­sage con­trol by party brass.

If a sin­gle NDP MLA cor­rob­o­rates her claims, she wants Premier Rachel Not­ley to re­sign. If any United Con­ser­va­tive MLAs re­count sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences, she wants party leader Ja­son Ken­ney out, too.

But if no NDP MLAs re­port a cul­ture of fear and in­tim­i­da­tion, she says, then she’ll re­sign.

“Let’s all three of us agree to this in the spirit of trans­parency and hon­esty that the Al­berta pub­lic de­serves,” Luff wrote in an open let­ter Fri­day.

“I have noth­ing to fear. Rachel Not­ley and Ja­son Ken­ney should wel­come this.”

Luff ended her let­ter with a blunt mes­sage to any­one “who will im­me­di­ately ask: ‘ Who does she think she is?’”

“I say to them: I am the MLA for Cal­gary East. And I am through with ac­cept­ing ( b.s.) ex­cuses.”

Luff wants the in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion to give all Al­berta MLAs the chance to anony­mously re­count ex­pe­ri­ences around fear of reper­cus­sion, dis­re­spect, be­lit­tle­ment, or hav­ing their or their con­stituents’ voices cen­sored.

“I am ask­ing you to rise above your par­ti­san roots and take this op­por­tu­nity to move democ­racy for­ward,” she wrote in a plea to her fel­low MLAs. “The sta­tus quo as we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced it will not be ac­cepted in the fu­ture. This form of rep­re­sen­ta­tion will end. Why not take the first steps now? Why not etch our names in the ev­ere­volv­ing stair­case of hu­man bet­ter­ment?”

Luff said she as­sumes her con­ver­sa­tions with Not­ley’s chief of staff last week were recorded, and she’d like them re­leased “in the spirit of hon­esty and trans­parency.”

She also had a dig at Not­ley’s claims that Luff was given the op­tion of a me­di­a­tor when she brought up com­plaints of bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion with NDP lead­er­ship.

“The per­son you sug­gested was a 20-year NDP in­sider. To me, that is like propos­ing the Stan­ley Cup fi­nals be ref­er­eed by a long­time mem­ber of one of the teams play­ing,” Luff wrote.

Luff first raised con­cerns with what she la­belled a “cul­ture of fear and in­tim­i­da­tion” in the NDP cau­cus on Mon­day. In protest, she said she wouldn’t sit in the leg­is­la­ture un­til the sit­u­a­tion changed. Hours later, she was turfed from the NDP cau­cus.

Not­ley and var­i­ous cau­cus mem­bers have re­peat­edly dis­missed Luff ’s al­le­ga­tions.

On Thurs­day, for­mer UCP MLA for Cal­gary-Green­way Prab Gill said he faced a gag or­der when he was part of the of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion. His claim was dis­missed as “sour grapes” by UCP House Leader Ja­son Nixon.

Luff said she hopes her con­stituents will stand with her as she protests “this lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion and cul­ture of lead­ing with in­tim­i­da­tion.”

Ch­eryl Oates, Not­ley’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, sent a brief state­ment in re­sponse to Luff’s let­ter.

“The Al­berta NDP cau­cus has a ha­rass­ment pol­icy and pro­ce­dures in place. We have no fur­ther com­ment,” Oates wrote.

UCP cau­cus spokes­woman Chris­tine My­att pointed to re­cent com­ments from Ken­ney in re­sponse, in which he said his party works as a team as much as pos­si­ble.

“On is­sues where peo­ple re­ally feel they need to vote freely, they’re wel­come to. They can ex­press their own views, but ... let’s keep it within rea­son, be­cause when you run for a party, you’re run­ning as a team mem­ber,” he said.

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