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Hospitals chaplains accuse priest of bullying them at Winnipeg facility


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WINNIPEG - A priest accused of bullying chaplains at a Winnipeg hospital says most but not all of his staff embraced the changes he was forced to make in a divided department in an evolving institution.
At an arbitration hearing Wednesday, Father Gerry Ward testified that after he took the job of spiritual care director at St. Boniface General Hospital in 2005, changes had to be made in his department because of infighting.
When he told the hospital chaplains they were no longer allowed to send emails to their colleagues at work without his approval, he got a swift response from one of them: "Heil Hitler."
The remark was made by Sister Jeannine Corbeil, one of three chaplains who have filed a grievance against Ward.
Ward testified Tuesday that others in the department nicknamed Corbeil "Attila the Nun" because of her anger.
Corbeil, Father Roland Lanoie and Rev. Carlyle Murrell-Cole allege Ward verbally abused them, threatened to undermine their careers, then labelled them as troublemakers.
The email edict was an attempt to curtail some of the divisiveness, Ward testified.
Ward testified Tuesday that others in the department nicknamed Corbeil "Attila the Nun" because of her anger.
There also had to be changes in staffing to reflect changes in the overall hospital, the priest said.
Ward said nowadays, patients spend fewer days in hospital than a decade ago, so chaplains have to respond more quickly.
Ward removed Murrell-Cole from his 13-year position in the psychiatric unit after the non-denominational minister was elected as the union representative for the spiritual care department staff.
On Wednesday, he said he believed the psychiatric unit didn't require a lot of spiritual care.
Murrell-Cole testified earlier that he was kicked out of his office and reassigned to another part of the hospital with twice the responsibilities.
He told hearing arbitrator Arne Peltz that he was assigned to share a desk with another chaplain in a tiny office and noted that at the time, there were no chaplains with any psychiatric training, experience or desire to take his place.

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