British Columbia Premier David Eby says a complaint by an employee in late July led to the removal of MLA Adam Walker from the New Democrat caucus, but the issue doesn’t involve police or sexual harassment.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since Walker was kicked out over the weekend, Eby says he decided the member could no longer be part of the group after a formal investigation by NDP caucus.
Eby says he wishes he could share more but rules related to human resources and privacy prevent him going into specifics about the accusations, which are not a criminal matter.
The premier says he doesn’t believe what the investigation found could be remedied by a training process for Walker, who will now sit as an independent.
An emailed statement from Walker’s constituency office says it does not have a comment to provide on the situation.
The premier says the situation was “challenging” and informing Walker he was being removed was “not a happy day.”
He says any time an MLA is removed from caucus is “an opportunity for review.”
“It’s a big responsibility we ask people to take on as MLA, they not only have to represent their communities, they not only have to be up-to-date on policy and law, and be able to advocate, but they’re also employers, they have to run an office in their community, they have obligations to their employees directly,” Eby says.
“And we’re operating in a unionized environment with collective agreements as well, which adds a level of complexity for people who maybe haven’t been employers before.”
Walker was elected to the provincial legislature in 2020 to represent the riding of Parksville-Qualicum on Vancouver Island. He was previously a town councillor in Qualicum Beach.
Eby says he can assure the people in Walker’s riding that a formal and thorough process was followed.
“As in any human resources process, we have an obligation to privacy in those matters,” he said.
“And simultaneously, you know, Mr. Walker is a public official, accountable to the people of Parksville-Qualicum. … I wish I could share more about this, but I can’t”