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Matthews says 'take our word' there was sexual harassment probe

Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief

By Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief

Liberal MPP and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews speaks at Queen's Park in Toronto Monday, May 9, 2016. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)

Liberal MPP and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews speaks at Queen's Park in Toronto Monday, May 9, 2016. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

Just take the Liberal government’s word for it.

That’s what Deputy Premier Deb Matthews said Tuesday when asked how Ontario’s Liberals can prove they looked into allegations of sexual harassment against a former caucus member.

Matthews wouldn’t say if the government would release a report penned by a third-party investigator or discuss the allegations against former Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor.

“Well, I guess you’re going to have to take our word for that,” she said, after being asked how anyone could believe they looked into the matter. “A member was removed from caucus after a third-party investigation.”

Matthews lauded Premier Kathleen Wynne’s handling of the controversy in 2013, adding “we dealt with this in a way we’re very proud of.”

Craitor has denied any wrong-doing and told the Niagara Falls Review the allegations were “unfounded and unsubstantiated.” A former employee of the MPP, Michelle Tavano, told the newspaper that she disagreed with his suggestion that the allegations were “unfounded.”

Asked Tuesday if the government would release a redacted version of the report to protect the alleged victims, Matthews was noncommittal. She also wouldn’t identify the second MPP who — according to Wynne — also faced sexual harassment allegations.

“We’ve been very clear about what that process is and the resolution of that process,” she said. “There’s nobody in this province, in this country, who takes the issue of sexual harassment more seriously than our premier.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said “you can’t trust anything the Liberal government is doing these days.”

She added the government’s handling of the matter has raised more questions than answers.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown argued that by refusing to provide more details, the Liberals have cast a cloud over their entire caucus.

“Obviously, there’s been no transparency here and that’s disappointing,” he said. “I think if there was an investigation that, even if it was a redacted version of the report, that government should share it.”

sjeffords@postmedia.com  



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