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Former Dauphin MLA called out for unwanted touching


Accusations of sexual misconduct continue to mount against former Dauphin MLA Stan Struthers.
News of Struthers’ conduct broke last week when his former press secretary Joëlle Saltel-Allard informed CBC she complained to NDP party brass about unwanted touching and tickling at the hands of the Struthers who, she said, party staff, nicknamed “Minister Tickles.”
“If he would see me coming down the hall, he would come and start tickling me, or in his office, around staff, around his assistant, so it would happen quite frequently and it continued for a long time,” Saltel-Allard told the CBC.
Throughout the week other complainants came forward including other NDP staffers, cabinet and committee colleagues and one radio reporter, all claiming to be victims of Struthers’ unwanted touching and tickling, which many have referred to as an “open secret” within the NDP.
Struthers has not commented on the allegations beyond a prepared statement sent to the CBC last week.
“This week I learned of incidents in which my behaviour made former colleagues and staff feel disrespected. I am sorry. I apologize for any interactions I have had that have been inappropriate and that have caused any person to feel disrespected or uncomfortable.
“My intention was never to treat women as anything other than equal and respected. I have been fortunate to work with many strong, intelligent and talented women and have always valued these relationships. I believe it’s imperative that workplaces be safe and respectful sites for all. I support the ‘Me Too’ movement and hope it produces real and positive changes in our society. My commitment is to ensure my son learns the lessons of this movement. My commitment is to learn from this and do better.”
In light of the allegations, Manitoba New Democrat leader Wab Kinew told media Thursday his party “deserved to lose the last election.”
The NDP will launch a commission to look into the allegations and the party’s failure to act on complaints when they were received.
“It looks like we failed not just one person, but many people over many years,” Kinew said during a news conference.
“And I want to apologize for that and say it is not right.”
Struthers was first elected in the 1995 general provincial election and remained the area’s MLA until 2016 when he did not seek re-election. During his time in office Struthers served in several high-profile portfolios in the governments of Gary Doer and Greg Selinger including time as the minister of finance, the minister of agriculture, the minister of conservation and the minister of municipal government.

Staff Writer