The NDP has suspended one of its rookie Quebec MPs from caucus after she was charged with public mischief.
Manon Perreault was elected as part of the Orange Wave in 2011 in the riding of Montcalm, north of Montreal, and was the party’s critic for disability issues.
Ms. Perreault fired one of her staffers, lawyer Danielle Bédard, in the spring of 2012. In January of this year, Ms. Perreault allegedly complained to police that her former employee had stolen material from her constituency office.
In an interview, Ms. Bédard said she did have a computer belonging to the House of Commons at home, which she had used when she worked for the MP. Ms. Bédard added she has proof that she repeatedly tried to return the material to Ms. Perreault.
“She was well aware where the material was,” Ms. Bédard said. “It was a fanciful accusation.”
NDP officials have known for years that Ms. Perreault was embroiled in a labour dispute with her former staffer, but only learned of the criminal process on Friday.
“MP Manon Perreault (Montcalm) has been suspended from the NDP caucus as she faces criminal accusations,” NDP spokesman Marc-André Viau said in an e-mail. “Perreault has the right to a fair process and a full and complete defence. As this affair is now before the courts, the NDP does not plan to comment any further.”
Ms. Perreault is scheduled to appear in court in Joliette, Que., on July 15. No one was available to comment on the matter at the police service in nearby Mascouche, which conducted the investigation, and the Crown’s office did not return calls on the matter.
NDP sources said there have long been tensions between Ms. Perreault and Ms. Bédard. NDP employees are unionized, and the dispute was heard by a labour tribunal that called for Ms. Bédard’s reinstatement last March.
Still, the ruling criticized Ms. Bédard for her “post-firing conduct,” including making allegedly defamatory postings about her former employer on Facebook.
Ms. Bédard, who has been involved in municipal politics in the suburbs north of Montreal, has yet to return to work for the NDP. There remains a debate in front of the tribunal in relation to the financial compensation that is due to Ms. Bédard.
Officials in Ms. Perreault’s constituency office refused to comment on the matter.