An extensive social media post from former New Democratic MLA Adam Walker reveals no new details about his dismissal from government caucus, but signals defiance and confirms his decision to stay on.
“It is a with a heavy heart that I acknowledge my removal from the BC NDP caucus,” Walker said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I look forward to an opportunity to address any allegations in the appropriate forum. I stand resilient, holding my head high, embracing the trust and responsibility, vested in me by the wonderful people of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and north Nanaimo.”
Walker posted the message just before noon on Monday, less than a day after news of Walker’s initial dismissal had broken and mere hours after Premier David Eby had spoken about it, while offering few additional details.
“What I can say is that we received a complaint from an employee in July (2023),” Eby said during an unrelated announcement in Richmond. “This was not a sexual harassment complaint and the complaint started a formal process under our collective agreements. That just concluded and based on the findings of that caucus investigation, I made the determination that Mr. Walker could not continue in our caucus.
“There is no criminal investigation, this is not a criminal matter,” Eby said.
News of Walker’s dismissal from government caucus first broke Sunday afternoon. The NDP caucus said in a statement that the discovery of “misconduct” by Walker following a human resources complaint and a “thorough” internal investigation by caucus led to the dismissal. “As with any other human resources issue, we are not able to disclose additional details,” it reads.
Based on the NDP’s caucus statement and Eby’s statements Monday, several questions remain unanswered, starting with the source of the complaint, and the nature of the actions that led to the investigation and Walker’s dismissal. It is also not clear when and where the actions leading to the complaint took place.
Walker’s statement also leaves these questions unanswered but draws a parallel between himself and his grandfather, who served under Tommy Douglas.
“In the same spirit that guided my grandfather, Robert Walker, during his 19 years of faithful service as an MLA in Saskatchewan, I hold true to the values and integrity that my constituents expect,” Walker said, adding that his “collaborative spirit remains undeterred” in the face B.C.’s challenges.
“My doors are always open to constituents wishing to discuss issues that are important to them,” he said. “I am here, ready to listen, and more importantly, read to act.”
Voters of Parksville-Qualicum first elected Walker as their MLA in 2020 with 42 per cent of the vote, more than six per cent ahead of incumbent Michelle Stilwell, who had represented the riding since 2013 as a member of the BC Liberals, now BC United. Voters had last elected a New Democratic in the riding in 1996, current Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.
Eby said MLAs not only represent their communities, but they are also employers.
“They have obligations to their employees directly and we’re operating in an unionized environment with collective agreements as well, which adds a level of complexity for people may be, who haven’t been employers before. “
Eby added that the announcement concerning Walker is also a moment for reflection.
“(Can) we improve training? Are there things that we can do to provide better support to people to set them up for success? I can advise, though, the people of Parksville-Qualicum, that, in my opinion, this was not a matter of training. My concern about the conclusions of the investigation was that they could not be remediated by training and that the only way to move forward was to remove Mr. Walker from our caucus.”
Eby confirmed Walker’s previous public comment that he would sit as an independent.
Walker had also served as parliamentary secretary of sustainable economy, a position he no longer occupies.
A former town councillor in Qualicum Beach from 2018-2020 and self-described farmer, Walker had made provincial headlines earlier this month, when a deer attacked him. Eby said that incident is unrelated to Walker’s dismissal from caucus.
Walker’s departure from the NDP caucus leaves the governing party with 56 seats in the provincial legislature.
BC United holds 26, while the BC Green Party and Conservative Party of British Columbia hold two a piece. The latter party saw its seat count double after Bruce Banman, the MLA for Abbotsford South, defected from BC United last week.
– with files from Canadian Press