Former MPP Kim Craitor’s ex-staffer wants him to be 'accountable' for sexual harassment allegations
Former Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor is pictured in this file photo. (Mike DiBattista/Niagara Falls Review/Postmedia Network Files)
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- A former female staff member of Kim Craitor says she hopes he will “stand up and be held accountable” for sexual harassment allegations made against him while he was Niagara Falls Liberal MPP.
“Tell the truth with openness and transparency,” Michelle Tavano, one of four women working at Craitor’s Niagara Falls constituency office in 2013, told the Niagara Falls Review.
“He can begin by doing this, then, he may ask for forgiveness. It is also my opinion that without the truth, Mr. Craitor is undeserving of the privileged title, councillor for the City of Niagara Falls.
“He has betrayed the public, employees and his family.”
Craitor, in an e-mail to The Review in early May, claimed he was forced by the Liberal party to resign in September 2013 after “unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations of sexual harassment” were made against him earlier that year.
During a press conference on May 6, Premier Kathleen Wynne said an investigation was done into sexual harassment allegations against Craitor and that after receiving the results, Craitor was asked to resign.
Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said the decision on whether to release the investigator’s report “should be up to those people” who made the complaints.
“I think they need to be consulted first because there’s people, there’s families that may be affected, and I think it’s got to be the will of those people, the desire of the people that were involved,” he said.
“If they’re comfortable with (making the report public), then sure, why not? I think all that people are asking for is openness and transparency, and I think that’s a reasonable request.”
Diodati said he doesn’t think anybody wants to see the issue “turn into a political football.
“No one wants to see anybody hurt. I just think that there’s a desire for answers, and right now there’s just lots of questions, not a lot of answers.”
Craitor, who is now a city councillor, said a sexual harassment complaint in the summer of 2013 took him “completely by surprise,” and led to the Liberal party asking him to resign to “protect the Premier.”
He said the allegations were not true. Craitor said he had “not done anything wrong,” which he reiterated to party officials.
At the time of his resignation, Craitor cited mental exhaustion and that he wanted to put his health and family first, as the reasons for leaving his post after 10 years as the riding’s representative.
Neither Tavano, nor Craitor, have elaborated on the specifics of the allegations.
Craitor has not responded to repeated interview requests by The Review since early May, other than to say he would not attend the May 10 council meeting, citing a bout with the shingles. He has also not responded to an inquiry on whether he will attend Tuesday’s council meeting.
In 2014, Craitor ran for Niagara Falls city council and finished first out of eight councillors elected. Tavano also ran in that election, placing 18th out of 33 candidates.
During the May 6 press conference, Wynne confirmed sexual harassment allegations were made against Craitor, but was only commenting on the matter, she said, because a woman involved in the issue broke her silence to the media earlier in the day.
Earlier that day, Tavano told The Review she disputes Craitor’s claims the allegations against him were unfounded.
“He knows what he did,” an emotional Tavano said at the time. “He spoke of transparency and allegedly held the goal of honourable MPP. I question his honourability. I’ll leave it at that.”
During her press conference, Wynne said the government’s human resources staff received sexual harassment complaints regarding Craitor in 2013.
“Upon receipt of the complaints, an investigation led by an external and independent third-party investigator, with expertise in the area of workplace investigations, was undertaken.
“When the issues were first brought to Mr. Craitor’s attention, he indicated his willingness to resign his seat if his conduct was found to have been sufficiently serious,” said Wynne.
“When the results of the independent investigation were received, I determined that action, indeed, needed to be taken, and Kim Craitor was asked to resign.”
Since then, the premier’s office has not answered questions related to specific details surrounding the allegations - who the investigator was that probed the allegations, or if and how much public money was spent to bring in an investigator.
Wynne has been asked if she would release some sort of redacted version of the investigator’s report, but said she has talked about the details “as we can.”
Wynne said there’s “nothing” stopping anyone who made allegations against Craitor from discussing the issue.
Wynne has not revealed how many complaints were made against Craitor, or how quickly the matter was dealt with.
“I’m not going to go into more details. I’ve given the details that are appropriate. We dealt with it. We brought in an investigator and I acted on the recommendations — or I acted on the findings of the investigation,” she said.
Tavano did not directly answer whether she thinks the provincial government should release the investigator’s report.
Some of Craitor’s former provincial colleagues have declined to discuss the allegations.
St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley’s office said the veteran politician will provide “no comment at this time.”
Toronto-area Liberal MPP Michael Chan’s office said he would not discuss the allegations, but that Chan stands by Wynne’s sexual harassment policy.
Craitor was assistant to Chan when Chan was tourism and culture minister.
Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates, who won a byelection in 2014 to replace Craitor, has not responded to interview requests to discuss the issue.