Tom Mulcair has confirmed that Tyrone Benskin has been suspended from his duties as NDP official languages critic because of his failure to pay back taxes of $58,000 for the years 2007 to 2011.
Benskin has apologized in a statement.
"In order for our society to be prosperous and fair, each citizen must do their part. I haven't always done mine and I apologize," he said.
"Fortunately, I am working on sorting out my situation with the Canada Revenue Agency. I intend to pay back every last cent of the money I owe, as soon as possible."
He also offered an explanation about why he was so late.
"The life of an artist isn't always easy. I have had lean periods," he said. "I have lived in precarious conditions, not knowing what the future had in store for me, sometimes without a contract for several weeks, or even months. I have had to juggle bills.
"My situation has prevented me from fulfilling all of my tax obligations and I am truly sorry. I recognize that it is my responsibility and I will fulfill it directly and personally."
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says he's happy the MP apologized — but will now be sidelined until he settles his tax bill.
"He has to pay his taxes, like everyone. He will do it. He will do it completely. He apologized — which was the right thing to do," Mulcair told reporters Friday in Trois-Rivieres, Que.
"Until then, I have removed him from our shadow cabinet. So he loses his responsibility in official languages until he pays his taxes."
Last week Benskin was ordered to appear in court to declare his income, but he didn't show up, QMI Agency has learned.
Things got worse this week for the British-born, Montreal-raised television and stage performer.
Revenue Quebec issued a writ aimed at seizing a portion of the MP's $160,000 annual salary.
Remarkable conincidence (or not) that this occurs as the Cons face their biggest scandal. It takes some of the spotlight off the Cons for the moment, although their scandal is much larger and much more damaging.