POLITICS
01/23/2019 14:39 EST | Updated 01/23/2019 14:43 EST

Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio Misses Own January Deadline To Resign

The outgoing MP announced he'd be making a $100,000 donation on Tuesday.

Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio, shown here in a photo posted to his Facebook account, will resign as MP this month.
Nicola Di Iorio/Facebook
Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio, shown here in a photo posted to his Facebook account, will resign as MP this month.

OTTAWA — Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio has yet to submit his letter of resignation to the Speaker of the House of Commons despite a much-publicized pledge to do so on Jan. 22.

House Speaker Geoff Regan's office told HuffPost Canada Wednesday that they haven't received Di Iorio's resignation letter. Di Iorio did not respond to HuffPost's emails and phone calls requesting comment before publication.

Di Iorio's reputation developed some notoriety after his fall attendance — or lack thereof — was noticed by his colleagues in November. At the time, MPs said they had not seen their Liberal colleague on Parliament Hill since the House returned from summer break on Sept. 17.

After returning to the House, Di Iorio stated that pending the permission of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he would tender his resignation on Jan. 22, guaranteeing there could be no byelection to fill his seat because of recent changes Liberals made to Canada's election laws.

There is no parliamentary rule that requires the prime minister sign off on resignations.

Watch: Prime minister tells Liberal caucus to 'stay focused' in election year

Elected in 2015, Di Iorio announced in April that he would be stepping down as MP for the Montreal riding of Saint-Leonard—Saint-Michel, citing family reasons.

The mystery intensified around the so-called "missing MP" after the Prime Minister's Office stated Di Iorio was tasked to work on projects related to road safety before his resignation date.

The labour and employment lawyer announced in a Facebook post Tuesday that he plans to donate $100,000 to support National Impaired Driving Prevention Week. It's an annual government awareness week created by Di Iorio's Private Members Motion, M-148, meant to be observed the third week of March.

Di Iorio previously stated that he intended to donate the salary he collected between September and Jan. 22 to fund the campaign to prevent impaired driving.

Nicola Di Iorio/Facebook
Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio is pictured in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The cause is personal for Di Iorio, whose then-teenage daughter Claudia was severely injured after she was a passenger in a car that smashed into a tree in 2010, according to the Montreal Gazette. She spent at least seven months hospitalized, recovering from surgeries, brain trauma and temporary complete paralysis.

Laurent Raymond, the impaired driver of the car, was sentenced to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm in 2012. He had been racing his then-friend Felix Bérard at the time of the crash.

Bérard received two years' probation and community service after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Montreal MP's fall attendance wrapped in mystery

By the end of the year, a lack of answers prompted NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen to ask Speaker Geoff Regan to launch an investigation over Di Iorio's prolonged absence, suggesting expulsion as a possible penalty.

That call prompted Di Iorio to make an appearance in the chamber on Dec. 11, offering the House an explanation for his absence. Commons rules stipulate that one of an MP's primary responsibilities is to attend sittings in the House unless they are away on official parliamentary business.

During his statement, he mentioned how he was told that his original intended departure date coincided with with marijuana legalization and would have to be changed.

That suggestion of high-level party intervention raised concerns from NDP MPs and Conservative whip Mark Strahl who noted that under the new Elections Act, the prime minister doesn't have to call a byelection for seats vacated after Jan. 21. "What a coincidence," he said.

But in Regan's opinion, Di Iorio didn't break any parliamentary rules because the Liberal MP didn't collect his salary during his absence.

More from HuffPost Canada:


"At the core of this matter is the obligation for members of Parliament to fulfill their parliamentary duties in part by attending sittings in the House," he said on Dec. 11, reminding MPs of the weight of their obligations to Parliament and the public.

"This seemingly simple statement carries with it enormous responsibility, from which even larger expectations emanate."

Three byelections will be held Feb. 25 in the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South, Ontario's York–Simcoe, and Quebec's Outremont.

After Di Iorio's departure, Saint-Leonard—Saint-Michel will remain vacant until the federal election later this year.