Weir’s future uncertain


author: john loeppky | editor-in-chief

Sometimes, signs lie Jeremy Davis

Regina MP faces continued criticism

Facing allegations of sexual harrassment, and having been removed from the NDP Caucuss, Regina-Lewvan Member of Parliament Erin Weir faces continued pressure from local constituents even after a letter signed by 67 high-ranking members of the party.  

It was the letter, urging federal leader Jagmeet Singh to reinstate Weir, that inspired local activists to confront Weir’s actions. Chelsea Flook was one of the organizers of a demonstration as part of a Weir-related barbecue. 

“After the letter came out with the 67 or so former MLA’s and MP’s who signed the letter in support of Erin Weir’s reinstatement, a group of us got chatting online and we figured that it would be important to send a message that not everyone in Saskatchewan is on the same page about this. “ 

Flook said The action was initiated in under twenty four hours and the group of six received a less than warm reception.  

“When we got there we unfurled our banner and Erin Weir himself didn’t come up and speak with us, but handfuls of his supporters did, to which we got one of our pamphlets torn up, someone took our pamphlet and then slammed it back in our hands rather violently, we got all kinds of verbal barbs thrown at us here and there, so we were received with quite a lot of hostility, to say the least.”  

The barbecue action, complete with “Just Resign Already” banner, was not the only resistance Weir faced. A letter signed by thirty former NDP volunteers, staff, and constituents was released on Sept. 20. The letter makes a number of statements in regards to Weir’s actions as the federal representative of a large section of Regina constituents.  

“We are people who worked and volunteered with Erin Weir, and who donated our time and money to get him elected in Regina-Lewvan. We are people who currently live in or have lived in Saskatchewan, who are represented by Erin Weir as our Member of Parliament, and who are members of the provincial and/or federal branches of the NDP. Together, we are people who are disgusted by Erin Weir’s behaviour.” 

The letter continues to detail Weir’s transgressions, including his claims that the #MeToo movement has gone “too far,” before calling into question his response to the public backlash against his actions.  

“It is incredibly irresponsible and borderline misogynistic for an MP to quote a media story that claims a movement about sexual harassment is “going too far.” Weir and his staff members seem to lack a very basic understanding of what sexual harassment is.” 

“In 2018, we expect more from our elected MPs. The fact that 1 in 3 women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime means that the #MeToo movement, unfortunately, has a long way to go. As constituents, volunteers, members, and voters, we stand with the women who feel unsafe in their workplace because of Erin Weir. Collectively, we want an MP who stands up for women’s rights and who views sexual harassment as a serious issue. At the very least, we want an MP who takes responsibility for his actions when he is accused of harassing women.” 

The letter closes by asking for Weir to remove himself from his seat in parliament.  

” We stand behind Jagmeet Singh’s decisions to remove Weir from caucus, and to not allow him to run under the NDP banner in subsequent elections. We are also calling for Erin Weir’s resignation, effective immediately. We hope that Weir does the right thing, not only for the NDP, but for the women who feel unsafe, betrayed, and hurt by his behaviour.” 

Flook said that her message to Weir centres, like many others’ reactions, on his actions since the reports of his conduct. 

“I would tell him that his behaviour since the report came out where he lashed out against the complainants, and he painted himself to be the victim in all of this, and he mobilized stereotypes around women and whether we’re overreacting, these are all things he needs to take responsibility for. These are all very harmful and triggering for women who have been groped and sexually assaulted.” 

“I’d like him to think a bit more deeply and a bit more clearly about what he is doing and how painful that is to watch. He has a lot of learning to do on these subjects and on these issues and until he does that learning I don’t feel comfortable being in the same room as him.” 

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