Former NDP cabinet minister denies he was subject of harassment probe

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Former NDP cabinet minister Ron Lemieux never placed a hidden camera or other recording devices under the desks of a female co-worker at the Manitoba legislature and was not aware that any such allegation about him was ever made or investigated, his lawyer says.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/07/2019 (1242 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Former NDP cabinet minister Ron Lemieux never placed a hidden camera or other recording devices under the desks of a female co-worker at the Manitoba legislature and was not aware that any such allegation about him was ever made or investigated, his lawyer says.

Ron Lemieux (Joe Bryksa / Free Press files)

Lemieux’s lawyer, David Simpson, put the Free Press on notice last week that Lemieux is considering libel action over an article published June 22.

The article reported that Lemieux was the subject of a civil-service investigation after a hidden camera was found under the desks of a woman he worked with at the Legislative Building.

The article also reported that the current Progressive Conservative government hired a former RCMP investigator to conduct an investigation into the allegation.

“The content of the article… is inflammatory, untrue and defames our client’s reputation,” Simpson wrote. “To be very clear, at no time did Mr. Lemieux ever place hidden cameras or other recording devices under the desks of a female co-worker at the legislature.

“Further, Mr. Lemieux has no knowledge of any civil service and / or ex-RCMP investigation into any of these false allegations.

“Clearly, these defamatory words and statements are intended to lower Mr. Lemieux in the estimation of right-thinking members of society, generally. As a consequence, our client has suffered serious damage.”

Lemieux, who served 16 years in provincial politics, retired in 2016.

Simpson said the newspaper should not have published the story before speaking with Lemieux, the former MLA for Dawson Trail.

“In our view, this falls well below the standard expected of a journalist in the circumstances, especially given the subject matter of the article.”

Lemieux acknowledges he got a message that a reporter wanted to speak to him, but says he didn’t return the call because he wasn’t told what it was about, he was travelling back to Manitoba at the time and he didn’t have the reporter’s contact information.

“Mr. Lemieux’s notice is about our reporting on how the legislature and political parties deal with allegations of workplace misconduct, a matter of clear public interest,” said Free Press editor Paul Samyn.

“We tried to reach Mr. Lemieux before the articles were published and we welcome the opportunity to publish his comments now.”

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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