Senate Turns to Federal Court in Racial Discrimination Dispute

The Canadian Press, August 24, 2017 | Go to article overview

Senate Turns to Federal Court in Racial Discrimination Dispute


Senate racism dispute goes to Federal Court

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OTTAWA - The Senate is asking the Federal Court to block the release of documents in a labour dispute where one of its top officials faces racism allegations.

The allegations come from Darshan Singh, who was fired as the Senate's director of human resources in early December, days after he levelled the accusations of racial discrimination against his boss that form the basis of his employment grievance.

Singh was the first executive of colour in the Senate's history and served in his job for two-and-a-half years before his firing, which senators were told was for insubordination.

A grievance panel reviewing Singh's case ordered the Senate earlier this month to hand over minutes and attendance records from closed-door meetings and a review of Singh's department, all of which Singh and his lawyer argue will prove his discrimination allegations.

The due date to hand over the documents is Friday.

The Senate's request to the court, filed Wednesday, argues the upper chamber will suffer irreparable harm if it surrenders documents subject to parliamentary privilege.

The Senate's interim law clerk, Jacqueline Kuehl, said the Senate's position is that the labour board is overstepping its jurisdiction.

"Parliament's privilege as it pertains to in-camera meetings is well established. …

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