The leader of Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative Party has been ousted following allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving a female staff member in the caucus office.
An independent investigation conducted by the party concluded that Jamie Baillie violated the Nova Scotia House of Assembly policy on the prevention and resolution of harassment in the workplace.
Party president Tara Miller and caucus chair Karla MacFarlane would not provide details about the allegations but indicated sexual harassment was one of the claims, CBC News reported.
Miller said the party received the report last night and then decided to request Baillie’s resignation. The caucus’ support was unanimous.
The party would not say whether the matter has been referred to the police, but a Halifax Regional Police spokesperson said they had not received a report.
“I am protecting the individual,” MacFarlane said. “It’s a delicate, delicate issue and it’s been a difficult process and we’re respecting those involved at their request.”
“It’s a lot to digest. But as we all know, no one is above the law.”
On Twitter, Baillie wrote that he resigned as party leader due to “personal reasons.” He also quit as MLA for Cumberland South.
“My priority is my family and I ask that our privacy be respected,” Baillie wrote. “It has been an honour and privilege to lead the PC Party for the past seven years, and to represent the people of Cumberland South.
Baillie, a chartered accountant, became PC leader in 2010 and led the party through two elections. The party won 17 seats in the 2017 provincial election, an increase of seven, and formed the Official Opposition.
Former PCP president Rob Batherson, who has known Baillie for years, said he was shocked when he heard the allegations this week.
“It’s shocking, it’s not the Jamie that we know or knew,” Batherson said.
“It’s difficult to square the finding of sexual harassment with the person that I know, knew [and] worked with.”