Friday, October 31, 2008

Old Saskatchewan scandal gets new life

In 2007, the NDP paid out $275,000 to Murdoch Carriere, a civil servant who faced sexual harassment allegiations. While still Leader of the Opposition, current premier Brad Wall (above) received piles of letters from citizens upset about the settlement. The NDP insisted Carriere was fired, but now it seems he resigned. The Regina Leader-Post sheds new light on the controversy, unveiling bizarre allowances that allowed Carriere to collect a full pension.

REGINA -- The NDP government agreed to pay former senior environment manager Murdoch Carriere $275,000 compensating him for "pain and suffering and damage to his reputation," according to a settlement agreement obtained by the Leader-Post through a Freedom of Information request.

And despite NDP cabinet ministers' insistence that Carriere had been fired, the Jan. 7, 2007 agreement stipulates that Carriere "will resign from his employment with the Government of Saskatchewan, effective February 2, 2007 or such later date as required to ensure that the Plaintiff (Carriere) is credited with 35 years of pensionable service."

The five-page document signed by government lawyers and Carriere -- a former director of fire management and forestry protection who the NDP government said it fired in February 2003 in the aftermath of alleged sexual harassment allegations reported in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix -- indicates that both parties "agree that the Plaintiff has been on leave from the Government from the period of time commencing with his suspension on Feb. 12, 2003."

It states that the $275,000 settlement was also being paid for "the consequent loss of earning capacity resulting from the words published by the Settlors (the government and former NDP cabinet minister Joanne Crofford) that the Plaintiff asserts were defamatory.

The lump sum included 16 months in lieu of notice -- $120,048 plus pension contributions, according to the document. It adds that Carriere would commence receiving his full pension "based on 35 years of experience" -- $4,418 a month plus a $814-a-month bridge until age 65 years.

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