Sylvain Chicoine, NDP MP, countersues ex-staffer for 'smear campaign'
Politician says Fabiola Ferro's claims against him are 'malicious and politically motivated'
New Democrat MP Sylvain Chicoine is seeking $175,000 in a defamation lawsuit filed against former employee Fabiola Ferro, who in the fall filed a court claim alleging that the politician had a sexist and misogynist attitude towards her.
In a countersuit filed against Ferro in Ontario Superior Court on Monday, Chicoine is seeking $175,000 for legal costs and alleged defamation of his professional reputation.
Chicoine represents the Quebec riding of Châteauguay-Saint-Constant and works as the NDP deputy critic for veterans affairs.
In a lawsuit filed on Nov. 7. Ferro is seeking $194,000 in damages from Chicoine, who she claims failed to deal with harassment by another staffer and fired her without cause.
The former employee alleged that Chicoine showed favouritism towards another staffer, David Cimon, who she alleges was harassing her, threatening her, and unfairly criticizing her work.
CBC News on Tuesday spoke with Chicoine's lawyer, Alexander Herrick Duggan from the Montreal law firm of Duggan Avocats, who said his client rejects the accusations against him.
"He [Chicoine] bent over backwards to help and accommodate the plaintiff, Ms. Ferro, who then maliciously attacked and defamed him in an abusive and meritless lawsuit."
Duggan said Chicoine's statement of defence and counterclaim shows he is "the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign and abusive lawsuit by a former employee."
The counterlawsuit alleges that Ferro's lawyer is a former defeated candidate for Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party and that Ferro, through her counsel, "threatened to embarrass the NDP politically."
Chicoine also claims the "smear campaign" was the result of Ferro's "dissatisfaction with her limited role as an administrative assistant."
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Ferro's lawsuit was filed amid allegations of harassment by two female NDP MPs against Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau kicked Andrews and Pacetti out of his party's caucus due to the allegations of misconduct against them.