Sudbury MPP victim of bullying?

Thibeault was choked up as he spoke to reporters about the toll the Sudbury byelection scandal is taking on his family.

Former MPP says legislature, social media attacks is what ‘politics is all about’

Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault says he received this towel with the words 'crying towel for babies' scribbled across it. Attacks like this are just part of the political terrain, some say. (Glenn Thibeault- Instagram)

Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault continues to face criticism after getting emotional on the job last week.

Thibeault was choked up as he spoke to reporters about the toll the Sudbury byelection scandal is taking on his family.

"I got into this because I know the game is tough, but my kids didn't get into this, my wife didn't get into this, my mother-in-law, my sisters," Thibeault said.

However the opposition accused him of crocodile tears and criticized Thibeault for bringing his family into it.

And most recently, someone sent Thibeault a piece of cloth labelled "crying towel for babies."

Thibeault posted a picture of that to his Instagram account, saying this is what you have to deal with in public office.
Ontario Energy Minister, Glenn Thibeault choked up last week after a question period dominated by opposition calls for his resignation, saying the scandal is hard on his family. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

This comes on the heels of Calgary MLA Sandra Jansen rising in the Alberta legislature to read a litany of insults leveled at her from across social media.

And although elected officials' behaviour outside of the legislature often comes under tight scrutiny, their behaviour inside might leave something to be desired.

Attacks 'what our politcal system's all about'

Former Finance Minister and retired Nickel Belt MPP Floyd Laughren knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of political attacks. He said these types of attacks, often meant to rattle an opponent, comes with the political territory.

"If you're going to go into that arena, the political arena and take on responsibilities, then you're going to have to expect some very severe criticism," Laughren said, "that is what our political system's all about."

Although Laughren said he never felt bullied during his tenure as MPP, he thinks the attacks on Thibeault are more partisan than personal.

But after establishing this type of behaviour, which often goes uncorrected by other MPPs, the political arena becomes tainted, said David Tabachnick, a professor of political science at Nipissing University in North Bay.

"The best people for the job of being a politician say that they don't want anything to do with it because they look at it and say, that's not for me," he said, "I just don't like the way all those politicians behave."

Thibeault said he doesn't know who sent the message.


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