The Assembly of First Nations executive council has suspended Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Regional Chief Morley Googoo after a report outlined how he had discriminated against Mi’kmaq women.
The AFN confirmed Thursday Googoo had been suspended, with pay, after a meeting of the AFN executive Wednesday in Vancouver.
In a statement the AFN said “At a meeting with the AFN Regional Chiefs and National Chief yesterday in Vancouver, B.C., it was decided that AFN Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Regional Chief Morley Googoo is suspended with pay pending the results of an investigation led by external legal counsel.”
The statement said “Details of the meeting are confidential and AFN will provide no further comment until the investigation is complete and a decision is made by the AFN Executive. The investigation will move quickly and diligently but does not presuppose a timeline. The decision of the AFN Executive will be made public once determined.”
Googoo has denied the allegations that stem from a September 2018 report and in a statement has called it “disappointing.” He says he will cooperate with the process.
The independent report commissioned by the Tripartite Forum. The forum is an organization made up of Mi’kmaq, provincial and federal government representatives. The report outlined how Googoo engaged in what it described as “direct discrimination” against former Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association President Cheryl Maloney.
Maloney alleged Googoo had subjected her, and other women involved in the Tripartite Forum, to harassment and “gender-based bullying,” the report said. It said the results were it contributed to an “unsafe work environment.”
Googoo had been served with a 20-day suspension notice by the AFN after the 2017 allegations and the report’s subsequent findings were made public .
Maloney filed a series of complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against executive members of the Tripartite Forum and the First Nations, provincial and federal partners in August that named AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett in the complaint. Maloney is a noted advocate for First Nations women’s rights. Both Bennett and Bellegarde have declined to comment on the human rights complaints.