Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has lost a member of his Montreal caucus with the resignation today of Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio who finally walked away from his seat in the House of Commons after announcing he would do so back in the spring.
The MP for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel initially said he would step down in April, but failed to fulfil that promise. In November he posted a lengthy statement on his Facebook page explaining that his resignation would take effect in January.
According to the recently revised Canada Elections Act, a seat that becomes vacant less than nine months before the next federal election can remain vacant until the next federal election without the need for a byelection.
This is the first vacancy to fall under the new election rules.
“We will continue to ensure that we have great MPs representing communities right across this country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked what he would do with the Montreal seat now that Di Iorio had stepped down.
In 2017, Opposition MPs called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “step up” and discipline Di Iorio when he was accused of making a sexist remark about a Conservative MP while attending a House of Commons committee.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Di Iorio and Conservative MP Dianne Watts were attending an in camera committee meeting when Watts’s cellphone rang. According to reports, the ring prompted Di Iorio to say: “Where’s your pole to slide down on?”
Watts took the comment to mean a stripper pole and issued a statement days later saying that the comment was inappropriate and left her feeling uncomfortable.
“There should be no place or time where such comments are acceptable. I now leave it in the hands of the prime minister to take whatever actions he feels appropriate.”
Di Iorio later publicly apologized in the House of Commons.
Di Iorio not guilty of misleading House, says Speaker
Today, Speaker Geoff Regan made a ruling that cleared Di Iorio of misleading the House in December when he said that he was not collecting a salary as an MP.
Di Lorio later clarified his comments, saying that while he was collecting a salary as an MP he intended to give that salary to a charity of his choice, which he later did.
In his ruling, Regan warned MPs not to make “ambiguous” statements in the House that are not easily clarified.