PC Party

Investigation into Baillie allegations was ‘thoughtful,’ says PC leadership candidate

Independent investigation was led by a lawyer in Halifax

MLA Tim Houston answers media questions after committee meeting
Tim Houston, PC leadership candidate, says he’s “satisfied” that the investigation into allegations against Jamie Baillie was thorough. (file photo)   Blake Prendergast

A Nova Scotia PC leadership candidate says the investigation into former party leader Jamie Baillie was a “thoughtful process,” though it didn’t follow the process set by the House of Assembly.

“I am satisfied that it was a thorough investigation,” Tim Houston, the MLA for Pictou East, told reporters Wednesday after a public accounts committee meeting at Province House.

Baillie stepped down last week after the party requested his resignation following an investigation into “allegations of inappropriate behaviour,” according to the PC party. The party had hired an independent investigator to look into the claims.

The PCs helped draft the House policy for investigating claims of harassment in the legislature, less than two years ago. The policy applies also to anyone “whose salary or remuneration is paid from the Legislative Services budget of the House of Assembly,” which includes staff.

Had the investigation followed that policy, the NDP and Liberal parties may have had access to its results. In that case, the House may have been in charge of making the final decision regarding punishment.

Houston said the decision not to follow the policy rested with the PC “party people.” In a statement released last Friday, Tara Miller, president of the PC party of Nova Scotia, said that neither Baillie nor the individual who made the allegations chose that route.

The statement also says the investigator — a lawyer in Halifax — used definitions from the policy “to make their findings.”

Miller said the report’s findings will remain private in order to protect the victim’s identity.

Susan Leblanc, New Democratic Party caucus chair and MLA for Dartmouth North, said that although the House policy should be followed, she understood why it wasn’t.

“As a woman, and as a believer of survivors, we need to go forward in these types of processes in the best ways that most protect the victim,” she said.