Liberal Party Knew About MP Marwan Tabarra Sexual Harassment For 5 Years: Allowed Him To Run Despite Trudeau No Tolerance Policy

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Liberal Party Knew About MP Marwan Tabarra Sexual Harassment For 5 Years: Allowed Him To Run Despite Trudeau No Tolerance Policy

Trudeau's no tolerance for sexual harassment policy that was introduced in 2014 and immediately resulted in the expulsion of two MPs from the Liberal Party has 'evolved' over time, or to be more exact has become a double standard. In November 2014, Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrew were suspended for alleged workplace sexual misconduct and not allowed to run in the next election as Trudeau announced a no tolerance policy for harassment. (

In April 2020, Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara was arrested for assault, break and enter and criminal harassment.

According to Wikipedia

On April 10, 2020, Tabbara was arrested by police in Guelph, Ontario 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. On June 5, 2020 it was reported that he is "stepping back from the Liberal caucus" but not resigning as an MP.[6] Tabbara was jailed and bailed on Easter Friday 2020 but nobody (including Trudeau) knew about it until June because the police and judicial systems failed to release the information to the public. His bail hearing was done remotely by a Justice of the Peace 120km away from the jailhouse he occupied. Tabbara, who successfully hid the matter from his caucus until 5 June, now sits as an independent MP. Tabbara is scheduled to make a court appearance on June 19, 2020 in relation to the charges. (

However, we learned today that this is far from the full story. It turns the Liberal Party and Trudeau knew for five years about Tabbara engaging in other acts of sexual harassment that the party candidate review committee substantiated. This only came out because of anonymous sources within the Liberal Party, who wanted to not have their names revealed because of fear of reprisals from the party.  

Member of Parliament Marwan Tabbara — who had a court hearing today on assault and criminal harassment charges — was approved to run for the Liberals in the 2019 federal election despite a party investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against him during his last mandate, CBC News has learned.

The Liberals looked into detailed allegations of misconduct made against the Kitchener South-Hespeler MP that included inappropriate touching and unwelcome sexual comments directed at a female staffer, according to sources with knowledge of the allegations. The allegations date back to the 2015 election campaign, the source said.

The sources who spoke to CBC News requested anonymity, citing the risk of being blacklisted within Liberal circles and it negatively impacting their careers.

CBC News has confirmed the party's internal investigation determined that some of the allegations were substantiatedbut has not been able to learn whether Tabbara faced any consequences.

Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's zero-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct in the workplace, the party approved Tabbara as a Liberal candidate last year. The decision to clear Tabbara to run as a Liberal took the party's Greenlight Committee more than six months to make — an unusually long period of time for an incumbent, according to a government source with knowledge of the investigation.

Tabbara, the past chair of the Commons committee on international human rights, stepped away from the Liberal caucus two weeks ago but is still working as an MP. He left the caucus after CBC and Global reported on his arrest by Guelph Police on April 10 for a different incident. He has a scheduled court date in Guelph today for two counts of assault, one count of "break and enter and commit an indictable offence" and one count of criminal harassment.

Guelph police have defended their decision to not publicize the charges against Tabbara. Prime Minister Trudeau said he and his office only learned about the criminal charges the day the news stories aired on June 5.

The investigation of the allegations likely played a role in the long delay in approving Tabbara to run as a Liberal in the 2019 election.  Applications for all potential candidates had to be submitted in October 2018 and Tabbara's wasn't completed until roughly six to eight months later, according to a government source. The process usually doesn't take that long, especially when it's an incumbent who already has been vetted in the past. The Greenlight Committee's work includes conducting police checks and credit checks, calling numerous references and speaking to people on Parliament Hill. The committee also combs through a potential candidate's social media accounts for red flags. ...

Trudeau was pressed for answers by reporters at a press conference today in Chelsea, Quebec. He said he is continually informed of investigations into allegations against members of his party — but he wouldn't say exactly when he was told about Tabbara's case, or why Tabbara was approved to run in the last election. "Whenever there are allegations against members of the Liberal Party, part of the process is for the leader to be informed," he said. "At the same time, the process that kicks in is a rigorous process that has been established to ensure that every single allegation or complaint around misconduct is appropriately dealt with, that there are conclusions and next steps and recommendations that are fulfilled." Trudeau said he couldn't comment on the case because it's confidential. "We take every single case extremely seriously," he said.



ETA: On Power and Politics, the evolution or double standard of Trudeau's sexual harassment since 2014 was discussed. 

After the two Liberal MPs were expelled from the party and prevented from running again in 2014, which was discussed in the previous post, the policy changed over time until, as Marieke Walsh of the Globe and Mail noted, Trudeau simply avoided bringing it up at all during today's scrum, only saying that he takes the issue of sexual harassment "extremely seriously". After the revelation that the party covered up MP Marwan Tabbara's sexual harassment acts in 2015 that were substantiated by the party's candidate review committee, Trudeau could hardly cite the policy as the reason for allowing the candidate to run. 

Charelle Evelyn descibed how the Liberal sexual harassment policy continued to have less and less importance  within the party, citing the cases of Darshan Kang and Kent Hehr. 

Despite the policy not being used to block Tabbarra's candidacy in 2015, it was still operational in 2017 when Darshan Kang was not forced to resign from caucus immediately as was the case for the two MPs removed in 2014, but resigned on his own after a second woman's allegations became public. (

By 2018, Liberal MP Kent Hehr was only forced to resign from Cabinet after several harassment allegations, but remained a Liberal MP until defeated in the 2019 election. (

Paul Wells noted that a strict interpretation of Trudeau's sexual harassment policy would have prevented him from being a candidate after a BC woman alleged that Trudeau had harassed her many years earlier, saying that she wanted to get the truth out, but did not want to pursue the issue legally. (

Now there appears to be no Liberal Party policy on harassment. 

Misfit Misfit's picture

He came up with that no tolerance policy when the Liberals had third party status. He used the no tolerance policy as a gimmick to attract the feminist vote. Well he won the 2015 election and then gropegate exposed him as a hypocrite. The gimmick had outlived its purpose.


The Liberals have some explaining to do on the Marwan Tabbara case.


Trudeau has been less than forthcoming about what he knew and when he knew with regard to Tabbara being allowed to run as a Liberal candidate for five years despite sexual harassment allegations against him dating from 2015, as well as the 2020 separate case of charges being laid against Tabarra in April involving 2 counts of assault, one of break and enter, as well as one of ciminal harassment. 

Prime Minister Trudeau was very careful with his words on Friday when asked about sexual harassment allegations against Tabbara.

The CBC had reported earlier about the allegations and the investigation that ensued ahead of the 2019 federal election. Tabbara was approved to run as a Liberal candidate, even though the party’s lengthy internal investigation had reportedly substantiated some of the allegations.

Given how vocal Trudeau has been about having a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual harassment, it’s certainly worth knowing what role, if any, he played in allowing Tabbara to run or how the decision was reached to greenlight the candidacy.

Trudeau refused to comment directly on what he knew or when he knew it. He simply stated that as leader he is “continually informed” about investigations and that there is a “rigorous process” in place for dealing with such matters. That doesn’t really answer any of the important questions here.

The CBC’s report suggests that the alleged victim had reported the harassment to the Liberal Party numerous times dating back to at least 2015, and that senior officials in both the government and the party were aware of these claims.

It’s hard to imagine what it must have taken for this woman to have come forward in the first place, and it’s hard to imagine what she must make of how all of this has been handled.

It also raises a more troubling question. How might history have unfolded if the Liberal Party had taken these allegations more seriously last year? And what became of the investigation once the election was over? If the criminal allegations are ultimately proven in court, then this whole matter could become a lot more unsettling than it already is.

In the meantime, though, the public deserves far more in the way of answers than we’ve received so far. There has been far too much secrecy, and it creates more than a whiff of favourable treatment and double standards.


Trudeau was once again "cagey" in answering questions about allowing Tabbara to run when other MPs were booted from the party. It is increasingly looking like Tabbara was considered to be the candidate that would give the Liberals the best chance of winning the seat, so to heck with party policies on sexual harassment and assault. 

That Tabbara was permitted to run as a Liberal is striking, for two reasons. First, the party has disallowed candidates for far less than the original allegations made against Tabbara; and second, the decision is hardly consistent with Trudeau’s zero-tolerance policy on matters of sexual misconduct.

After all, Trudeau had permanently expelled two Liberal MPs, Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti, following allegations of misconduct made against them by another MP. "It’s 2014 — we have a duty to protect and encourage individuals in these situations to come forward," Trudeau argued at the time. "The action must be fair and decisive. It must be sensitive to all affected parties but, recognizing how difficult it is to do so, it must give the benefit of the doubt to those who come forward." ...

The question is why Andrews’ and Pacetti’s careers were torched as a result of allegations of misconduct, while Tabbara was permitted to run again. It is difficult to know the answer when internal party investigations are shrouded in secrecy.

When asked whether he knew about the previous allegations levelled against Tabbara and, if so, why the MP was allowed to run again, Trudeau was cagey. "I am continually informed as leader of the Liberal Party of allegations of processes going forward and that have existed," he said. "We always ensure that there is a rigorous process in place whenever there are any sorts of allegations brought forward."

That seems to be a roundabout admission that Trudeau did know about the previous allegations made against Tabbara. And the word salad that Trudeau served up in response to the question is characteristic of the Liberal Party’s approach to this simmering scandal. "The party does not confirm or comment on the specifics of complaints," Liberal Party spokesman Braeden Caley wrote in response to questions about previous party investigation of the allegations made against Tabbara.

I hope journalists keep up the pressure on both Trudeau and his spokespeople. Canadians deserve some clear answers, given the serious charges against Tabbara. Did Trudeau know about the previous allegations against Tabbara? If so, what role did the PM play in the process to green-light the candidate for re-election, and how was that decision arrived at?

While confidentiality is important in these matters, the recent criminal charges against Tabbara make it important for both Trudeau and his party to clear the air about its previous handling of the troubled MP.


The failure of our legal and political systems in dealing with criminal acts by parliamentarians is illustrated by the Marwan Tabbara case. It points to how a party, in this case the Trudeau Liberals, can abuse the system for their own political gain. 

Tabbara has been charged with four serious crimes. However, the silence from the public has been deafening.

Unless he decides to resign as a member of Parliament, Tabbara has got that job until the next election. There's nothing anyone can do about it.

There's only one other way for the seat to be vacated and that would be if the House of Commons decided to expel him, says Emmett Macfarlane, a political science professor at University of Waterloo who specializes in Canadian politics and parliament.

That is an extraordinarily rare thing in Canada, Macfarlane said. Three of the four cases that I'm aware of happened in the 19th century. 

Of course, Tabbara is presumed innocent unless his trial shows otherwise. But the whole issue lays bare the huge amount of power that is concentrated in the party leadership.

A candidate can't run in an election unless the party leader approves. Even if the local party members choose someone, the party leader can bring in someone from out of the riding.

Candidate selection is horribly undemocratic Macfarlane said.

Until that changes, the only way to have some local control is for voters to look less closely at the party being represented and more closely at the individual who is running.