LAKELAND – Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole has asked the House of Commons to investigate alleged workplace harassment claims against Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs.
Allegations made against the Member of Parliament by former aides and staff members, reported by the Globe and Mail early Monday morning, allege that Stubbs created a toxic work environment, engaged in abusive and demeaning behaviour, and even pressured employees to paint her house.
While Stubbs sat in the House of Commons on Monday, Tina Warawa who has been the constituency assistant for Stubbs over the last six years, tells Lakeland Today the news of these allegations are “horrible and hurtful,” but said she was not able to provide further comments on the record.
Warawa has worked alongside Stubbs for nearly as long as the MP has been elected to the Lakeland riding, first taking office in 2015. Warawa has helped run the Two Hills constituency office and has regularly travelled with Stubbs between her Lakeland and Ottawa offices.
Stubbs has so far denied allegations of staff mistreatment, but has not commented publicly on the matter or made a statement since being interviewed by the Globe and the Mail.
Lakeland Today attempted to contact Stubbs in Ottawa, but was told by her staff that the MP would be releasing a statement in the coming days to address the serious allegations.
During a media scrum Monday, O’Toole said he had learned of the allegations against Stubbs Friday.
“I've referred them to the to the House of Commons because they are allegations, but they are of a serious nature,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole acknowledged that these accusations of staff mistreatment against the MP are, at present, only allegations and that is why he has asked the House of Commons to investigate the matter.
“As I've been leader for a year, I have set an expectation on all my MPs that we will have a professional and respectful workplace environment. I have that expectation because we haven't seen that from the Liberal Party, which has covered up allegations that came in through their caucus,” he said. “If we are going to hold them to account, we have to make sure that we are welcoming people to work on Parliament Hill free of any form of harassment or a bad workplace.”
The incidences of alleged abuse reported by two former aides, who have not been identified for fear of reprisal, took place in 2016 and 2018, according to the Globe and Mail article, which also stated the Conservative Leader’s office was made aware of allegations related to abusive treatment of staff in January of this year.
Meanwhile others who have worked with Stubbs' have come to her defence through social media posts.
Gregory Loerts, who currently works as a legislative assistant in Stubbs’ Ottawa office, took to social media Monday to offer support for the MP.
“I have been with (Stubbs) for just shy of a year now. She's super driven and a great voice for Conservatives and her riding, wonderful to know personally. The work has been challenging, but extremely rewarding. I really enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy, working for her,” Loerts tweeted.