Let Aalya Ahmad Speak: Manitoba Liberals Call on CUPW to End Gag Order;  Ask CLC for New Investigation

November 9, 2022

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals are calling on Federal Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan and other Labour Leaders to work with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) to lift a gag order on Aalya Ahmad, a former CUPW staffer. They are calling on the Canadian Labour Congress launch a new independent investigation into how Ahmad was treated by her union.

Lamont's call came after dramatic testimony at a Manitoba Legislative committee hearing into his Bill 225 to reform the abuse of non-disclosure agreements so they can only be used to protect ideas, not predators and harassers.

Ahmad and many other witnesses who have been subject to legal gag orders were able to speak publicly for the first time in years. Under the rules of the Manitoba Legislature, and other legislatures in the Westminster system, witnesses at committee have "parliamentary privilege" to speak freely without repercussions of being sued for libel or defamation for their testimony.

The legislative committee allowed individuals who signed non-disclosure agreements to speak freely about the circumstances in which they were silenced for reporting wrongdoing.

Ahmad, a former communications staffer with CUPW in the National Capital region, said she endured years of harassment. When she finally reported it, she faced reprisals. Ahmad was coerced to sign a partial settlement which included a one-sided non-disparagement clause that meant when the union she worked for smeared her publicly with false accusations, she could not defend herself.

Manitoba Liberals are asking for the Manitoba Federation of Labour, the Ontario Federation of Labour, and the Federal Minister of Labour Seamus O'Regan to support their three calls:

  • CUPW immediately release former Director of Communications Aalya Ahmad from her "non-disparagement" gag order.
  • Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) launch a new, impartial and independent investigation into Ahmad's case.
  • The Federal and Provincial Governments move to enact legislation to reform NDAs and ban non-disparagement clauses across the country.

"If CUPW is so confident that they can prove what they are saying is true, then surely there is no need for a 'non disparagement clause,'" said Lamont. "There is no justification for treating another human being this way, in any context, ever. Not the abuse, and not the silencing. This must stop, and for justice to be done, people must be free to speak, starting with Ms. Ahmad."

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Attached:

  1. Letter to Federal Labour Minister, Canadian Labour Congress, MFL, OFL, CUPW
  2. Manitoba Legislative Committee Video (at 3:23:00)
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChcN4Jruosk&t=4780s

 


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