CANADA POLITICS National Chief of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples RoseAnne...

National Chief of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples RoseAnne Archibald removed from office


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The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples (AFN) and its national board of directors voted to immediately remove national leader RoseAnne Archibald from office.

Archibald was accused of bullying and harassment by four of her employees. The claims are now the subject of an external investigation.

“The national chief has been removed from office, with pay, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation into four complaints against her,” the AFN said in a statement on Friday.

This is the first time that an executive committee has removed a national leader from office.

“She will be suspended until the Executive Committee reviews the investigation report and makes a final decision regarding her status,” the statement said.

The AFN said it made the decision because Archibald’s statement released Thursday — in response to CBC News’ report of the allegations — “violated its obligations to the AFN” by going against its code of conduct, its whistleblower policy and its oath.

Archibald said in a statement on Thursday that four employees were seeking $1 million in contract payments and accused AFN of collusion and corruption.

On Friday, Archibald released another statement, calling the allegations against her a “smear campaign.” She repeated her calls for a forensic examination and an independent investigation into AFN operations for eight years.

Archibald disputes the decision

In a statement posted on Twitter on Friday, Archibald said he would not back down.

“What’s going on is wrong, but it’s not about me; this is an artificial distraction from my repeated calls to investigate the past eight years of offenses in the FSA,” she said.

Archibald later released another statement in which she said that her AFN email was blocked at 7:30 p.m. and that she learned of the suspension from media reports.

She challenged the legality of the decision to remove her from the post of head of state.

“While the regional chiefs have the right to remove me from the board and the chairmanship of the board, they do not have the right to remove me from the post of national head of the AFN,” Archibald said in a statement.

“As a national leader, I will continue to push for a forensic investigation and a full impartial investigation into the activities of the AFN, and I will continue to release truthful information in the coming days… Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

On Thursday, the AFN confirmed that it had received a number of complaints against Archibald last month and determined that the findings supported further investigation by an external investigator.

Regional chief Paul Prosper, an AFN spokesman, said the organization had no choice but to suspend Archibald.

“It is unfortunate that we had to go to such drastic measures, but we had no other choice,” Prosper said in a statement to the organization on Friday.

“It was not an easy decision”

“The National Chief has committed grave violations of his obligations to the AFN through unwarranted and unwarranted public attacks on the integrity of our organization and our staff, which will only undermine the good work we are doing while continuing to serve our Indigenous communities. “

In an interview with CBC News on Friday, Prosper said Archibald’s statements were not in AFN’s interests and that she should respect the privacy of the complainants and the confidentiality of the investigation.

Indigenous Assembly National Leader RoseAnne Archibald speaks at a press conference in Kamloops, British Columbia on September 30, 2021. (Darryl Dyke/Canadian Press)

He said that the meeting at which the decision was made to remove Archibald lasted five or six hours.

“It was not an easy decision, I admit it,” Prosper said. “I can tell you that this proposal has received strong support.”

He added: “It’s difficult, but we can do it.”

Prosper said that the executive committee had not chosen an interim national leader and that the organization’s leadership would be decided at a later date.

Toxic workplace claimed in complaints

The four employees who filed the complaints are on paid leave. AFN hired an outside firm to investigate.

Among the complaints is that Archibald allegedly introduced a new practice at weekly meetings, a Hawaiian tradition called ho’oponopono, which involves staff talking about trauma as a form of healing.

Sources told CBC News that some employees complained that the practice re-traumatized them.

Archibald’s legal adviser, Aaron Detlor, said he was not aware of Archibald practicing ho’oponopono, including that she asked employees to share her injuries.

Sources also told CBC News that shortly after Archibald took over the organization, AFN became a dangerous place to work.

Archibald claims the four filed complaints against her after they tried to get $1 million in contract payments.

The complaints were filed as part of the AFN Whistleblower Policy, which was created after Archibald became national head last year in response to allegations of bullying and harassment while she was regional head of Ontario.

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