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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jamie Baillie resigns after sexual harassment investigation

PC Party refuses to say whether police are investigating former leader after third-party investigation.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 4:24 PM

click to enlarge Jamie Baillie, the former leader of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative party. - VIA FACEBOOK
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  • Jamie Baillie, the former leader of Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative party.

Former Progressive Conservative Party leader Jamie Baillie has resigned Wednesday following an investigation into “inappropriate behaviour.”

According to PC president Tara Miller, the Party conducted an independent, third-party investigation after being made aware of allegations against Baillie late in December.

The investigation concluded Baillie had breached the Nova Scotia House of Assembly's policy on harassment in the workplace.

In response, this morning the PC Party requested and accepted his immediate resignation.

Karla MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West MLA will serve as interim party leader.

“The PC Party is committed to a healthy, safe and supportive working environment where all Nova Scotians are treated with respect and dignity,” writes Miller and caucus co-chair MacFarlane in a joint statement.

“The PC Party does not, and will not, tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace.”

At a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, Miller said she could not provide any more details on the complaint, citing privacy concerns and respect for the victim.

She did say the Party is only aware of one complainant, but would not say whether it was one incident or multiple incidents over a period of time.

Both Miller and caucus chair Karla MacFarlane dodged repeated questions from reporters about whether the investigation's findings have been passed on to police.

Baillie tweeted earlier today, before news of the investigation came out, that he was resigning for “personal reasons.” He has also stepped down as MLA for Cumberland South.

“My priority is my family and I ask that our privacy be respected,” he writes via Twitter. “It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the PC Party for the past seven years and to represent the people of Cumberland South.”

The former politician announced last November that he would be stepping down and leaving behind public life after seven years as PC leader. At the time, he said he would stay on in his role until an interim leader could be chosen.

Over the past year, Baillie has been an outspoken critic of the province's handling of women's issues. He attacked the government for its policies on domestic violence, accused the premier of engaging a cover-up regarding how the Liberal Party treated Michelle Coffin and called for a formal inquiry into Judge Gregory Lenehan's comments on consent.

Speaking about her personal reaction to the news, MacFarlane said she was “obviously very disappointed, very sad.

“As we all know, nobody is above the law,” she continued. “I’m very proud of the work the PC Party has done moving forward with this.”

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