Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May at the Victoria International Airport in a Black Press file photo. Former employees have alleged mistreatment by May and now the Party has asked a third party to investigate. (File)

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May at the Victoria International Airport in a Black Press file photo. Former employees have alleged mistreatment by May and now the Party has asked a third party to investigate. (File)

Green Party to investigate claims of bullying

Former staffers of Elizabeth May have alleged mistreatment

An investigation has begun into bullying allegations levelled at federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

In a media release today (Jan. 29) the Party is reporting they have engaged a third party investigation at the request of May herself.

The release says the Saanich-Gulf Islands MP asked the party this morning to launch an investigation into claims made in the Toronto Star newspaper and the Hill Times over the weekend. In those reports, three former staffers allege they were on the receiving end of bullying behaviour by May in regards to the operations of her office — including over the repainting of said office.

The Green Party of Canada came to May’s defence on Jan. 27 after the allegations came to light in the media.

“The Green Party of Canada stands firmly behind Leader Elizabeth May,” stated a Party media release. “She is admired and respected by staff, her constituents in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and by the party’s members and supporters.

“The claims of three former employees are simply the statements of disgruntled former staff and their credibility should be viewed in that context. Interactions between Ms. May and party employees are limited. Staffing is handled by the Executive Director and the Leader has no role in HR matters, other than as one of 18 members of the Federal Council.”

The party also stated that May was being treated differently due to her gender.

“… As a female political leader, she is being held to a different standard than her male counterparts. A man with these qualities is admired for his leadership. A woman is portrayed as overbearing and bullying. These outdated gender stereotypes have no place in 21st century Canada.

“It is extremely unlikely that a decade-old anecdote about a man’s frustration with his office paint job would merit national news.”

The Party has hired Shiela Block of the Toronto legal firm Torys LLP to run the third-party investigation and it’s expected to take two to four weeks. The Party said its findings, when complete, will be made public.

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