Former Manitoba minister ousted from NDP caucus after harassment allegations

Former Manitoba minister ousted from NDP caucus



WINNIPEG — A former Manitoba cabinet minister accused of sexual harassment has been kicked out of the NDP caucus.

Caucus chair Tom Lindsey read a terse statement Tuesday  announcing that Mohinder Saran no longer sits with the official Opposition.

“In order to respect the confidentiality of all parties involved, no further comment will be made regarding this decision,” Lindsey said following a closed-door meeting.

“The NDP caucus stands against all form of sexual harassment.”

Saran was suspended from caucus meetings in November following a formal complaint that he had harassed someone in the workplace. He is not facing any criminal charges.

The NDP and Saran have not disclosed any details, but a party source told The Canadian Press that Saran was accused of making inappropriate comments and overtures to a subordinate.

Saran has never spoken publicly about the allegations.

In a written statement issued shortly after the NDP announced its decision, Saran said he was disappointed and is considering his legal options.

“I deny the accusations that were made against me,” wrote Saran, who added that NDP sources have supplied “inaccurate and selective information” to the media. “These individuals know that I am unable to argue factually against their inaccuracies, as doing so would break confidentiality.”

The legislature’s human resources branch investigated the complaint and Saran said he co-operated fully, including following a recommendation to undergo sensitivity training.  

“The recommendation was not a statement of fault … My completion of it was not an admission of guilt,” Saran wrote. “I have personally remained quiet with media to uphold confidentiality and to respectfully allow the appropriate processes to take place.”

Earlier in January, the caucus said Saran could come back to the fold if he apologized to the complainant and agreed to take part in some sort of reconciliation. Saran said he provided caucus with an apology, which he said was not acknowledged, and was willing to continue the reconciliation.

“This whole situation has deeply impacted me both professionally and personally,” he wrote. “I have spent my lifetime as a community advocate and decades as an NDP member.

“I will now sit as an Independent and I assure you all that I will continue to devote myself to my constituents and my community.”

Saran was first elected in 2007. He played a key role in 2015 in helping then-premier Greg Selinger survive an internal revolt led by five cabinet ministers and was minister of housing and community development.

Saran helped deliver 117 delegates to Selinger’s leadership campaign from his constituency in The Maples in north Winnipeg. At the ensuing leadership convention, Selinger hung on to his job by 33 votes and, weeks later, elevated Saran to cabinet.

The Canadian Press

Canadian Press