OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The federal NDP leader is calling for the prime minister to launch a probe into complaints of workplace harassment and abuse against Governor General Julie Payette.
“There’s got to be something. Given the seriousness and the number of complaints, it requires some follow-up. And the prime minister has to follow up,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said.
“If that evidence is strong, then we need to go to the next question about the continued role of the Governor General.”
A new report by CBC News details allegations from past and present staffers in the office regarding workplace harassment and abuse, with many of the employees accusing Payette — Canada’s highest-ranking public servant — of the behaviour.
Several current and former staffers at Rideau Hall have accused Payette and her secretary of perpetuating a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall.
Rideau Hall is rejecting the allegations, suggesting they have no basis in reality.
Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau preparing for today’s hybrid sitting of the House. Said nothing on his way in as reporters asked about the harassment and verbal abuse allegations against Governor General @GGJuliePayette #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/LtaGipOVQd
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) July 22, 2020
Singh’s not suggesting Julie Payette be removed or replaced. He wants Trudeau to investigate first.
The prime minister should set a good example for everyone, Singh added.
Singh also praised the employees for speaking up, but reiterated Trudeau needs to get involved and set a good example for employers.
Trudeau, as he entered the House of Commons on Wednesday, did not address questions about the report.
His office says the government is committed to ensuring all federal workplaces are free of harassment.
In a statement to CBC, the Governor General’s office says the reporting is in “stark contrast” to reality, and that its turnover rate is low compared to other federal departments.
It adds Payette strongly believes in the importance of a healthy workplace, and has taken steps towards that end.
The CBC source was just one of a dozen the outlet spoke with who accused Payette of inappropriate behaviour. She’s accused, among other things, of throwing tantrums on staff, sometimes leaving them crying in their vehicles on the way home.
The majority of the harassment was apparently directed at staff who reported directly to Payette.
For now, the prime minister’s office has referred all questions on the matter to Rideau Hall.