PMO looking into Liberal MP Tabbara's assault charges as MP says he'll leave caucus
MP issues statement, says he's being treated for 'anxiety and depression'
The Prime Minister's Office says it's looking into allegations made against Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara, while Tabbara himself says he'll be stepping away from the government caucus to deal with the charges laid against him.
Guelph police have confirmed that Marwan Tabbara has been charged with two counts of assault, one count of "break and enter and commit an indictable offence" and one count of criminal harassment.
The charges are dated April 10.
Tabbara, the MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler, issued a statement late Friday that said little about the charges themselves. He said that he has been receiving counselling and treatment for anxiety and depression, conditions he said he has been living with for some time.
Peter Maloney, the MP's executive assistant, told CBC News his office had no comment on the matter.
The details of the case are still unconfirmed but Tabbara said in his statement that he believes "strongly in the right of every individual to live a life free of the hurt and trauma of physical, verbal or emotional abuse."
"Other than to state unequivocally that every incident of violence is unacceptable and inexcusable, it would be in appropriate for me to comment further while this matter is before the courts."
The Liberal government's chief whip, Mark Holland, issued a short statement on Twitter Friday evening acknowledging the allegations and saying the party takes them "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
It's not the first time the party has had to deal with allegations of misconduct against Liberal caucus and party members.
- In 2018, then Calgary-area MP Kent Hehr was allowed to remain in the Liberal caucus but was booted out of cabinet following a report on sexual harassment allegations levied against him.
- That same year, former Liberal MP Raj Grewal resigned from caucus to deal with a compulsive gambling problem. The Globe and Mail reported at the time that Grewal had accumulated debt amounting to more than $1 million.
- In December 2017, the deputy director of operations in the PMO, Claude-Éric Gagné, went on leave while a third party investigated allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
- In August 2017, Calgary MP Darshan Kang resigned from the Liberal caucus amid allegations of sexual harassment.
- In May 2016, Nunavut MP and former federal cabinet minister Hunter Tootoo resigned from cabinet and the Liberal caucus over allegations he had a "consensual but inappropriate" relationship with a female staffer.
- And before the Liberals took office, Trudeau kicked two of his MPs — Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews — out of the caucus over allegations of harassment made by two New Democratic MPs.
Tabbara's next court appearance is scheduled for June 19.
The backbencher chairs the parliamentary subcommittee on international human rights and sits on the standing committee on citizenship and immigration.
with files from the CBC's Rosemary Barton and Paula Duhatschek