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Scandal in the Canadian Lower House of Commons

BY: Nathaniel Saad

When campaigning for government in a federal election, political parties usually want three main things. Let’s get the obvious one out of the way; firstly they want votes. In order to be elected, every party must have a certain amount of ballots with their people’s names on them. That’s just how our democratic society works. Secondly, they need to have a strong platform to run their campaign on. Their ideas and plans for policy change need to be innovative, yet realistic enough for them to appear desirable. Thirdly, they need solid candidates. Anyone who’s been involved in an election can tell you that while things like the leader, platform, and fundraising are important, the backbone of any election is the candidates. They’re the ones who do the groundwork, the canvassing, the travelling back and forth from one event to the next, and the hours of research and studying. Any political party with the hopes of being elected needs good candidates to represent them and carry their brand. 

Apparently, this isn’t always the case for the Liberal Party of Canada, who during the last election in 2019 approved candidate (and now MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler) Marwan Tabbara despite the charges on criminal harassment and assault being laid against him. In the five years since 2015, multiple reports of inappropriate behaviour between the 35-year-old MP and a female staffer were made to the Liberal Party, as well as to many individuals who are currently working in government. Every political party goes through a process of vetting their candidates to ensure that they are fit to represent them. Nevertheless, the party seems to have failed to seriously address the allegations, which included crude comments and unwanted touching towards the female staffer, until Tabbara appeared in court this Friday, Juin 19. 

This wasn’t the first red flag. In fact, Tabbara was arrested by Guelph police on April 10 on charges that included two counts of assault, one count of "break and enter and commit an indictable offence”, and one count of criminal harassment. Around two months later, he stepped back from the Liberal caucus, but remained an MP. After going to jail and making bail on Easter Friday of 2020, the judicial system chose not to release the information to the public. The Prime Minister himself stated that he wasn’t aware of the criminal charges until the media reports began to emerge. While there hasn’t been a plea regarding the charges yet, the Liberal party definitely needs to revisit its candidate-selection process as this certainly darkens the shadow that has already been cast on them amidst much criticism in the current political arena. It also doesn’t look like the constituents of the Kitchener South-Hespeler riding in Ontario will be pleased with their member of parliament any time soon. 

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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