During a Langley campaign appearance, B.C. Conservative party leader Trevor Bolin addressed a Liberal Party release of a WorkSafe BC investigation into a 2018 incident of sexual harassment at a business he owns, saying the rival party should be discussing policy and platform issues rather than “dig up mud” and dredge up a nearly-three-year old matter.
“If they want to come at me, or come at us, come at us under platform, come at us under policy,” Bolin said, responding to questions following a Conservative press conference on transit policy on Sunday, Oct. 18.
Bolin said WorkSafe found the complaint of sexual harassment by an employee was handled “correctly,” but the firing was not.
“She was let go unjustly,” Bolin said.
As a result, he said, lesson were learned and changes have been made in his company so that workers can feel “safe’ and bring complaints of sexual harassment directly to him.
“It [the complaint] enabled me to create a better structure to deal with these types of issues,” Bolin told the Langley Advance Times.
In the July 26, 2018 report by WorkSafe BC investigator Abudi Awaysheh, an employee filed a discriminatory complaint under the Workers Compensation Act when she was fired shortly after she reported an incident of sexual harassment.
The incident involved another worker who, in the words of the report, had “vulgarly stated that he wanted to have sex with her.”
While the employer did not dispute the worker’s claims that she was dismissed, or that she reported bullying and harassment at the workplace, it did dispute that she was dismissed for reporting health and safety matters, the report said.
“It [the employer] submits that she was dismissed because of her disrespectful and uncooperative behaviour, and her performance, and that her dismissal was long overdue.”
That argument was not accepted by the investigator, who declared that the employer “took prohibited discriminatory action under the Act in terminating the worker”
In a written statement issued after the documents came out on Saturday, Oct. 17, Bolin said a “monetary fine was implemented, as was a reference letter [for the employee].”
“It is unfortunate that with the political fortunes of the BC Liberals collapsing, that they have chosen to turn their focus on an event that was already hard enough for the families involved,” Bolin went on to say.
Bolin and several Conservative candidates gathered Sunday in Langley by the railway tracks on 256 Street and 68th Avenue, outside a former power substation for the defunct interurban electric rail service that once provided public transit from Vancouver all the way to Chilliwack.
Langley East Conservative candidate Ryan Warawa had nominated the site for the event to underline the current lack of service, something he said a Conservative government would correct by reviving rail service along the original route.
While there are plans to bring SkyTrain to Langley City, “there are still no plans to bring a line to Langley East and that’s unacceptable,” Warawa commented.
Warwa said provincial Liberal campaigns are in “shambles,” and voters concerned about the rise of the NDP should look to the Conservatives.
Bolin made the same point, attacking the Liberals for complaining about vote-splitting in the last election when Conservatives are said to have taken votes away from Liberals, who lost to the NDP as a result.
There are eight Liberal losses in the last election that have nothing to do with vote-splitting, Bolin maintained.
“It’s 2020,” Bolin declared.
“You don’t have to vote for somebody just to keep the other guy out.”
Other candidates present included Langley Conservative hopeful Shelly Jan, who used her time at the microphone to slam the NDP and Liberals for failing to do enough to fight crime, especially drugs.
“The other parties have had over 30 years to come up with a solution.” Jan said.
“Their solution is that the problem is out of control. The Conservatives of BC are the only ones to make real change.”
Chilliwack candidate Diane Janzen also invited disenchanted Liberals to make a move, saying “people are concerned about the rising NDP tide” that threatens to swamp the Liberals.
Abbotsford Conservative candidates Michael Henshall and Trevor Hamilton also attended along with Surrey-Cloverdale hopeful Aisha Bali.