September 22, 2019

Winnipeg
16° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

NDP offers Saran 'reconciliation path' on harassment claims

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/1/2017 (985 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The political fate of a New Democrat MLA twice accused of verbal sexual harassment remains in limbo after NDP MLAs and the provincial executive met for more than six hours on Tuesday.

Mohinder Saran, a former cabinet minister and longtime MLA for The Maples, has been suspended from caucus since November, following an allegation of sexual harassment by a staff member.

Caucus met behind closed doors Tuesday to decide if Saran should be fully reinstated and able to attend meetings, or be booted from caucus and left to sit as an independent.

Instead, a third option was announced: Saran will remain suspended, but a "path to reconciliation" has been mapped out for Saran to return to the party fold.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/1/2017 (985 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The political fate of a New Democrat MLA twice accused of verbal sexual harassment remains in limbo after NDP MLAs and the provincial executive met for more than six hours on Tuesday.

Mohinder Saran, a former cabinet minister and longtime MLA for The Maples, has been suspended from caucus since November, following an allegation of sexual harassment by a staff member.

Caucus met behind closed doors Tuesday to decide if Saran should be fully reinstated and able to attend meetings, or be booted from caucus and left to sit as an independent.

Instead, a third option was announced: Saran will remain suspended, but a "path to reconciliation" has been mapped out for Saran to return to the party fold.

"Everyone in caucus would like to see that, if we did not feel that way, we would not have offered this path," said NDP caucus chair Rob Altemeyer after the meeting ended. "But there are steps that need to be achieved so that can happen."

Altemeyer didn't offer many details of what that path looks like, except it would involve an apology by Saran to the victim and to caucus.

Saran would have to agree to this reconciliation process, with or without the victim's involvement, Altemeyer said. A timeline for when a final decision will be made was not given.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>NDP MLA Mohinder Saran, suspended from caucus, will learn his fate after a meeting Tuesday.</p></p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

NDP MLA Mohinder Saran, suspended from caucus, will learn his fate after a meeting Tuesday.

The victim filed a formal complaint with the legislature's human resources department in November.

It was later revealed by the Free Press that Saran had previously been accused of sexual harassment when the NDP was still in government, but there was no formal complaint on that alleged occasion.

A report of the 2016 incident was prepared by the HR department, but for confidentiality reasons the NDP caucus was not given access to the report.

For this reason, Altemyer said they did not have all the facts as they went into Tuesday's meeting.

Several people at the meeting spoke to the victim and were able to tell the room the victim's side of the story, he said.

Saran was not present, but Altemeyer said his lawyer spoke at the meeting and he "presented the case for Saran to go back to caucus".

After caucus announced its decision late Tuesday afternoon, Saran's lawyer, William Gange, did not have an immediate comment.

"I am trying to clarify what it is that the NDP caucus wants," he said in an email to the Free Press.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Interim NDP leader Flor Marcelino outside the NDP party caucus room Tuesday morning, prior to the meeting to decide the future of suspended MLA Mohinder Saran. </p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Interim NDP leader Flor Marcelino outside the NDP party caucus room Tuesday morning, prior to the meeting to decide the future of suspended MLA Mohinder Saran.

The lawyer said last month that the three-term MLA has been undergoing sensitivity training and expects to be allowed to rejoin caucus.

Interim NDP Leader Flor Marcelino declined to comment after the meeting.

She has been under considerable fire within the party for her handling of the incident — she claimed to have made caucus aware of the allegation against Saran soon after she first heard about it, but it has been alleged Marcelino tried to handle it internally and attempted to persuade the woman not to file a formal complaint before she informed MLAs.

There has been considerable confusion and disagreement among Marcelino, NDP staff and MLAs about the dates and the timeline of the complaint, Marcelino's actions, when she told caucus, and the decision to suspend Saran.

Despite the length of Tuesday's meeting, Altemeyer said the discussions never became heated and tempers did not flare. Altemeyer said a "consensus" on this decision was made by the 13 members of the NDP caucus. He was unable to spell out what a reconciliation process would entail, but said emphatically that the complainant's job with the NDP is not dependent on her agreeing to take part.

Saran barely won his seat over a Tory challenger last April, with the Liberals running a strong third. The NDP has already lost an MLA this week when Point Douglas MLA Kevin Chief formally resigned Monday to pursue interests in the private sector.

If the NDP expels Saran, he could sit as an independent in the legislature.

It is provincial statute that any MLA leaving a caucus can sit as an independent, but must do so for the remainder of the term. An MLA seeking to join another party during his or her term would have to face a byelection, NDP press secretary Rachel Morgan said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

kristin.annable@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 12:02 PM CST: The NDP clarified an earlier statement Morgan had made about the potential of Saran’s crossing the floor..

2:34 PM: Writethrough

3:19 PM: Adds "not" to 3rd graph

4:57 PM: Adds video

6:40 PM: Changes head, adds content

7:52 PM: Changes head

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us