Liberal MP facing assault charges 'stepping back' from caucus
Marwan Tabbara issued statement late Friday afternoon
The Liberal MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler, Marwan Tabbara, said Friday he will "step back" from the Liberal caucus as he faces charges of assault, break and enter and criminal harassment.
The charges are related to an incident that happened April 10 this year, Guelph Police confirmed.
In the statement, Tabbara acknowledged that he is facing criminal charges and said there are "mandatory steps" that must be taken to address a criminal case. He said those steps take time and that he plans to step back in the interim.
"Meanwhile, I continue to receive counselling and treatment for anxiety and depression, which I have been living with for some time," Tabarra said in the statement.
"Other than to state unequivocally that every incident of violence is unacceptable and inexcusable, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further while this matter is before the court."
Tabbara said he still plans to work on behalf of his constituents and to help them access federal benefits and services.
Sources in the Liberal Party confirmed to CBC they were aware of the allegations against the MP. The Prime Minister's Office said it is looking into the matter.
In a statement on Twitter Friday, MP Mark Holland, the Liberal caucus whip, said the party is taking the situation "very seriously."
On the statement issued earlier today by Mr. Tabbara, the Liberal Party takes this issue very seriously. Mr. Tabbara has confirmed that he will be stepping away from the Liberal Caucus.—@markhollandlib
Tabbara is scheduled to appear in court June 19 at 9 a.m., police say.
A publication ban on evidence and proceedings has been imposed by the court.
Tabbara, who previously worked for Frito Lay, was first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019.
On Friday, Tabbara's office in a south Kitchener commercial plaza was darkened and empty.
Read the full statement
MP Marwan Tabbara released this statement Friday afternoon:
As a proud Canadian who came to this country with his family to escape the violence of war, I deplore violence in all its forms.
In addition to my work and my commitment to human rights in Canada and abroad, I personally believe strongly in the right of every individual to live a life free of the hurt and trauma of physical, verbal or emotional abuse.
I am currently facing criminal charges which arose in April.
There are mandatory steps that must be taken to address a criminal case, and those steps take time, particularly with delays due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, I continue to receive counselling and treatment for anxiety and depression, which I have been living with for some time.
Other than to state unequivocally that every incident of violence is unacceptable and inexcusable, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further while this matter is before the court.
In the interim, I will be stepping back from the Liberal caucus.
Meanwhile, I will continue to work diligently for my constituents, as their Member of Parliament, assisting them in accessing services and benefits to which they are entitled from their federal government.