It's astonishing how hard the Winnipeg news media are working to sanitize the details of former mayor Glen Murray's disastrous stint in his "dream job" (before he got fired) at the Pembina Institute, an Alberta clean-energy think tank.
Is it because they think their readers/viewers can't handle the truth or that they are too sensitive to be told the gross facts? Or is this reflective of their slanted coverage of the Winnipeg mayoral candidates?
Murray quit his job as an elected member of the Ontario legislature to become the executive director of the Pembina Institute because, he said at the time, he couldn't resist his "dream job", working on environmental issues at the end of his political career. Then, only eight months later, he got the bum's rush out the door.
Today Murray is painting himself as a victim. He was hired, he says, to bring fresh thinking to the think-tank but the organization couldn't handle change, so they agreed "mutually" that he would leave. All that talk about his being responsible for harassment in the workplace is false, and simply a reflection of how employees rebelled at his management style, he's telling the press. And they're swallowing it:
Mayoral hopeful Murray maintains emphatic denial of harassment allegations
In mid-August, The Black Rod raised a red flag over Murray's time at the Pembina Institute. "There's always been something fishy about Glen Murray's abrupt and unexplained departure from his "dream job" in Alberta," we said at the time.
We looked at the timeline of his tenure and discovered that after only 8 months into the job his name was never again associated with the Pembina Institute in news releases or public appearances. Something was up.
At the time we thought it was related to reports from Toronto revealing his clumsy attempts as an MPP to intimidate the mayor of a small Ontario town to force her to accommodate a land developer. She stood her ground, refusing to be threatened into doing his bidding.
Then the CBC followed up on our suspicions, and using their resources uncovered the shocking details of Murray's short and toxic time at his "dream job." We could never have imagined the story in our wildest dreams.
Glen Murray began his job by creeping out Pembina employees with inappropriate and unwanted remarks about his sex life with multiple partners outside his relationship with his "life partner, Rick".
Over the ensuing months, his behavior at, in the words of the story, "company social functions and public events" undermined his authority. He would get so shit-faced drunk he couldn't stand, is how Pembina staff described it.
But the turning point came in March, 2018, when Pembina's staff and board gathered in Banff for an annual strategy and acquaintance building get-together.
"It was a shambles," the Institute's director of strategic partnerships told the CBC. Murray was drunk, unprepared, and started tossing out wild ideas that had never been discussed with anyone. Then it got worse.
As the attendees relaxed later with drinks and entertainment, Pembina's Alberta director was on the dance floor when, he told the CBC, "Murray rubbed up against him, pelvis to buttocks."
"You're just like, 'Oh, come on, man.' I'm being like, grinded by my boss on the dance floor. Unbelievable."
Was this what we think? We searched on Google. And yes. There's a term for it, in legal circles, in Section 271 of the Criminal Code: SEXUAL ASSAULT.
- If the alleged victim was a female, the press would be calling for Murray's scalp.
- Instead, the reporting dismisses it as "harassment" because the victim is a straight man.
- Murray says it never happened, despite the fact that the director informed two people, including his immediate supervisor.
It was the beginning of the end for Glen Murray, executive director. The staff was in open revolt and meeting to discuss ways to remove Murray. Board members were approached and told Murray was "beyond repair" CBC reported.
Was all this, as Murray says, just pushback for his "management style" and the original ideas he brought to the table? The staff unrolled a long list of complaints against Glen Murray. And unlike the usual "anonymous sources", there were many names from the Institute giving details to their charges.
* Four long-term employees quit rather than work with him
* His heavy drinking was embarrassing; one time he got so drunk he couldn't walk at an event attended by the federal environment minister.
* He talked over corporate and government officials, who couldn't get a word in edgewise
* Staff often didn't know who he was meeting with, what was discussed, and why no notes were taken
* When he did meet with government officials, and possibly more importantly, potential donors- he wouldn't stay on message
* He repeatedly breached confidential information leaving staff to worry about lawsuits for defamation or harassment.
This is the track record of Glen Murray, a story the Winnipeg news media is afraid to touch.
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