MLA Robyn Luff says she won’t run under another party banner after being ousted from NDP caucus

Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff says she won’t run under another party banner after being kicked out of the NDP caucus late Monday.

Luff was turfed from caucus hours after issuing a statement that levelled allegations of bullying against party leadership.

“The fact that I was the only caucus member to speak up publicly in three years, and that I was removed from caucus within hours after doing so only further reinforces my assertion that a culture of bullying exists,” she said in a lengthy statement issued Tuesday.

Late Monday night, the NDP issued a news release saying the decision to remove Luff from caucus came during a meeting of MLAs.

“Owing to Ms. Luff’s actions, NDP MLAs have lost confidence in her ability to participate as a productive and trustworthy member of the government caucus,” the party said in the release.

Government house leader Brian Mason told reporters Monday he was disappointed with the outcome.

“Everybody in a caucus, especially a large caucus, is frustrated from time to time, and I have been, too,” he said. “You take decisions, and you go forward. People have to realize that’s the way government works.”

On Tuesday, Luff said she was saddened by Mason’s stance.

“I refuse to believe that the way government works is that all members of the same party have to agree in public all the time,” she wrote.

Luff’s concerns included the fact she must vote with the leader at all times, that questions are written on her behalf and that she’s told what to say in the house.

“For some time now, I have been having increased anxiety and stress responses when I know I have to have meetings where my concerns will be belittled,” she said in her letter Tuesday.

Luff said joining another party was never an option.

“My children have made it abundantly clear that they would prefer to have more of my attention, and I intend to honour that,” she said.

In her letter, she alleged that MLAs were told not to contact Alberta Party MLA Karen McPherson after she left the NDP caucus last year, or comment to media.

She also said when federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was in Edmonton, she was sent a text message saying not to be photographed with him.

“We are also frequently directed to share key messages on our social media,” she said. “Based on past behaviour, one can assume that there is an order out not to communicate with me, or to comment on me to the press.”

Luff said she’s writing to the Speaker and house leaders to outline ways her concerns could be addressed.

“I believe more substantive changes are necessary to curtail the power of the premier’s office before the next election,” she said. “This should be an election issue.”

Luff said she has chosen to abstain from the legislature and will consult with her constituents during a town hall meeting.

More to come.

With files from Emma Graney


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