Ousted NDP MLA demands high-stakes, independent investigation into bullying claims

Ousted New Democrat MLA Robyn Luff wants an independent investigation into her allegations of bullying and message control by party brass.

If a single NDP MLA corroborates her claims, she wants Premier Rachel Notley to resign. If any United Conservative MLAs recount similar experiences, she wants party leader Jason Kenney out, too.

But if no NDP MLAs report a culture of fear and intimidation, she says, then she’ll resign.

“Let’s all three of us agree to this in the spirit of transparency and honesty that the Alberta public deserves,” Luff wrote in an open letter Friday.

“I have nothing to fear. Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney should welcome this.”

Luff ended her letter with a blunt message to anyone, “who will immediately ask: ‘Who does she think she is?’”

“I say to them: I am the MLA for Calgary East. And I am through with accepting (b.s.) excuses.”

‘Rise above your partisan roots’

Luff wants the independent investigation to give all Alberta MLAs the chance to anonymously recount experiences around fear of repercussion, disrespect, belittlement, or having their or their constituents’ voices censored.

“I am asking you to rise above your partisan roots and take this opportunity to move democracy forward,” she wrote in a plea to her fellow MLAs. 

“The status quo as we’ve experienced it will not be accepted in the future. This form of representation will end. Why not take the first steps now?  Why not etch our names in the ever-evolving staircase of human betterment?”

Luff said she assumes her conversations with Notley’s chief of staff last week were recorded, and she’d like them released “in the spirit of honesty and transparency.”

She also had a dig at Notley’s claims that Luff was given the option of a mediator when she brought up complaints of bullying and intimidation with NDP leadership.

“The person you suggested was a 20 year NDP insider. To me, that is like proposing the Stanley Cup finals be refereed by a longtime member of one of the teams playing,” Luff wrote.

Luff first raised concerns with what she labelled a “culture of fear and intimidation” in the NDP caucus on Monday. In protest, said she wouldn’t sit in the legislature until the situation changed. Hours later, she was turfed from the NDP caucus.

Notley and various caucus members have repeatedly dismissed Luff’s allegations.

On Thursday, former UCP MLA for Calgary-Greenway Prab Gill said he faced a gag order when he was part of the official Opposition. His claim was dismissed as “sour grapes” by UCP House Leader Jason Nixon.

Luff said she hopes her constituents will stand with her as she protests “this lack of representation and culture of leading with intimidation.”

Notley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

egraney@postmedia.com

twitter.com/EmmaLGraney

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