A 28-year old Liberal MP remains parliamentary secretary for international development despite filing a human rights complaint against Mexican diplomats, says the Prime Minister’s Office. Cabinet yesterday issued a new Guide For Parliamentary Secretaries urging appointees to show “appropriate judgment”.
MP Karina Gould of Burlington, Ont. in 2014 was fired after nine months as a consultant at the Toronto office of ProMexico, a foreign trade commission. Gould subsequently filed a human rights complaint alleging a “toxic” workplace. Her claim was dismissed last September as Gould campaigned for Parliament.
Gould has not commented, and the Prime Minister’s Office declined repeated requests for details on whether authorities checked her resumé. Officials would not say if they had concerns the MP’s employment history would compromise official contacts with Mexican diplomats. Gould made no mention of her ProMexico posting in her campaign literature.
“As a representative of the Government you should exercise appropriate judgment in your words and actions,” cautioned the Guide For Parliamentary Secretaries; “You are subject to increased public scrutiny and your actions reflect on your reputation of your Minister and of the Government as a whole. You must therefore set an example by satisfying the highest standards of personal conduct in fulfilling your duties as parliamentary secretary and as a Member of Parliament.”
Gould was hired by ProMexico in January 2014 to “generate business opportunities” for Mexican exporters and fired the following September, according to Ontario Human Rights Tribunal records. Gould subsequently alleged she suffered discrimination because of gender, age and other complaints.
“The allegations describe the applicant’s employment up until the termination of her employment, which she says was a forced resignation due to a toxic work environment,” a Tribunal adjudicator wrote in dismissing Gould’s allegations. “She describes a series of incidents which she believes show that she was targeted by her employer, treated unfairly and falsely accused of inadequate performance of her duties. She alleges that the reason for this treatment was her sex and age. Many of the allegations related to the applicant’s involvement in various trade shows and related events, and reports she prepared relating to trade issues.”
Gould also complained of “inter-office conflicts about job roles and alleged preferential treatment of other employees as compared to her treatment,” the Tribunal wrote. The complaints were dismissed under the State Immunity Act.
The Tribunal made its ruling September 2 as Gould campaigned for Parliament in Burlington. Gould won the riding by 2,400 over incumbent Conservative MP Mike Wallace, and was appointed parliamentary secretary December 2.
The Mexican Embassy in Ottawa earlier declined an interview on the MP’s employment as a trade consultant. “We have no comment on Ms. Gould,” a diplomat said.
By Tom Korski