Children’s advocate O’Soup resigns following suspension: Speaker of Legislative Assembly
Moments after the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly announced the suspension of Corey O’Soup, it has been confirmed that O’Soup has resigned.
The Board of Internal Economy suspended O’Soup from his duties as the Advocate for Children and Youth, according to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Mark Docherty.
Provincial Ombudsman Mary McFadyen has been appointed to serve in the interim.
“O’Soup’s suspension is the result of an investigation into multiple complaints of harassment. The investigation was conducted by an independent investigator with extensive experience investigating harassment complaints,” a press release fromm the Office of the Speaker said.
According to Docherty the investigation into the harassment allegations has been going on for a number of months.
“We knew of a number of issues in the office and that resulted in one formal complaint,” he said. “These were all interactions with female staff.”
O'Soup issued a statment late Thursday night which contained an apology, information on the complaint, and that O'Soup had resigned.
“I would like to first apologize to my family, friends, the children of Saskatchewan and to the staff members of the Advocate’s office,” reads a quote from O'soup in the statement.
It says the nature of the harassment complaint involved one other person and primarily consisted of "inappropriate electronic communication and was not physical in nature.". In the statement O'Soup described his actions as inappropriate and unprofessional.
"O’Soup understands because of his leadership position in the advocate office his actions were inappropriate and unprofessional, and he regrets the hurt and pain he may have caused. He believes that all workplaces should be safe and free of all harassment and is ashamed by his actions."
O'Soup also says he wants to shift the focus back to helping children in Saskatchewan.
“I would like to take this opportunity to turn the focus back on the children of Saskatchewan, particularly the Indigenous children, who continue to be let down by the government systems that are supposed to be taking care of them. In the future I will continue to fight for the rights of our Indigenous children and youth in Saskatchewan,”
According to the The Legislative Assembly Act, 2007, those appointed as Independent Officers of the Legislative Assembly may only be removed following a vote of the Members of the Legislative Assembly.
“Harassment cannot be tolerated in any workplace, and certainly not in the office of a Statutory Officer of the Assembly,” said Docherty in the press release. “I want to assure the staff members of the Advocate’s Office, and of all Statutory Offices, that we support their right to work in a safe and respectful environment. I fully intend to bring this matter before the Assembly at the earliest opportunity in its next sitting.”
McFadyen has been appointed to ensure the operations of the office are able to continue as usual.