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Embattled MLA Graydon to face media

Embattled Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon has scheduled a news conference for Thursday to answer questions. (John Woods / Free Press files)</p></p>

Embattled Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon has scheduled a news conference for Thursday to answer questions. (John Woods / Free Press files)

After dodging media inquiries for nearly a month, embattled Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon has scheduled a news conference for Thursday to answer questions.

Graydon emailed reporters Wednesday, saying he will be available at 10 a.m. "to discuss my political future, legislative issues and priorities moving forward, and my constituency."

Last month, the Free Press reported Graydon allegedly made at least three inappropriate comments to former and current legislative staff, telling two young women — on separate occasions — they should sit on his lap. He also reportedly asked a female staffer to lick food off his face, sources said.

Graydon was subsequently ousted from the Tory caucus Oct. 22, due to a "pattern of inappropriate behaviour," chairman Wayne Ewasko said at the time.

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After dodging media inquiries for nearly a month, embattled Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon has scheduled a news conference for Thursday to answer questions.

Graydon emailed reporters Wednesday, saying he will be available at 10 a.m. "to discuss my political future, legislative issues and priorities moving forward, and my constituency."

Last month, the Free Press reported Graydon allegedly made at least three inappropriate comments to former and current legislative staff, telling two young women — on separate occasions — they should sit on his lap. He also reportedly asked a female staffer to lick food off his face, sources said.

Graydon was subsequently ousted from the Tory caucus Oct. 22, due to a "pattern of inappropriate behaviour," chairman Wayne Ewasko said at the time.

Premier Brian Pallister called the move "a difficult decision," but said it was in keeping with the respectful workplace the government is trying to cultivate.

"I think it’s important we have a culture here that’s much more sensitive than we’ve had in the past," the premier said at the time.

A few days before Graydon was removed from the PC caucus and from his seat on the Manitoba Hydro board of directors, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election in 2020, and would be taking an immediate medical leave of absence.

Graydon also said he would be taking sensitivity training, which he first underwent last winter, when he got in hot water over social media comments he made calling asylum-seekers "a drain on society." He also retweeted posts that called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a "scumbag" and "turdeau."

The veteran MLA has been spotted around the legislature sporadically since announcing his pending retirement Oct. 17, attending some question periods, and sitting as an Independent MLA in the opposition backbenches.

Graydon, who is in his 70s, has represented Emerson since 2007.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @_jessbu

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Legislature reporter

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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