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Jack MacLaren is seen in this undated image.
Jack MacLaren is seen in this undated image.

Sensitivity training for Ont. MPP after ‘joke’ about Liberal MP

TORONTO — People won’t be seeing controversial Progressive Conservative MPP Jack MacLaren around the Ontario legislature for a while — he’s been ordered to take sensitivity training after telling a sexist joke about a Liberal MP.

PC Leader Patrick Brown moved again Monday to try to quell the controversy surrounding the “joke” MacLaren told about Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon when the two shared a stage at a fundraising event last month, and after fake testimonials were posted on MacLaren’s website.

This time Brown told MacLaren, who represents the Ottawa-area riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, to stay away from the legislature for an indefinite period of time because of “recent inappropriate conduct.”

 “MacLaren will be taking time away from Queen’s Park in order to focus on his constituency work and partake in sensitivity training,” Brown said in a statement.”I have been clear that there is no room for anything less than respect and tolerance in the Ontario PC party and caucus, in our legislature, and society.”

Last week MacLaren was demoted as the PC caucus representative for eastern Ontario, but both times Brown stopped short of kicking the trouble-prone MPP out of the Tory caucus.

MacLaren eventually issued a statement apologizing for his remarks about McCrimmon, weeks after the event when the media got hold of the story.

Last week MacLaren was forced to apologize again for posting constituent testimonials on his official website with fake names and pictures apparently grabbed at random from the Internet.

The website was eventually taken down, but MacLaren refused to offer any explanations for the phoney postings other than a terse apology before he bolted away from reporters.

Brown was not available to comment Monday on his latest actions to deal with MacLaren because he was scheduled to run in the Boston Marathon, but his statement left open the time for the MPP’s return to the legislature.

“Reassignment of MPP MacLaren’s roles will remain in effect until such time as I determine that appropriate corrective action has been taken,” he said.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, who last week strongly suggested Brown should kick MacLaren out of the PC caucus, sent a letter to the Speaker of the legislature Monday saying she wants the parties to develop a code of conduct for MPPs.

“I believe that we must not tolerate inappropriate conduct by or against our members as their conduct their work, be it in the legislative precinct or at events in their ridings and elsewhere,” wrote Wynne.

“Members are expected to act in a manner that promotes confidence in the integrity of each member and protects the dignity of the Assembly.”

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