Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio, who recently went back on his promise to quit his seat this fall, is now stating that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given him an unspecified responsibility that requires him to stay out of the House of Commons.
Since the start of the fall sitting of Parliament, Mr. Di Iorio has not appeared in the House to vote or attend Question Period.
In a statement on Facebook on Friday, Mr. Di Iorio said: “The Prime Minister has given me responsibilities that, for now, require, justify and authorize my absence from the House.”
In a follow-up question by e-mail from The Globe and Mail, Mr. Di Iorio said he will answer questions on his political future at a later date.
The Prime Minister’s Office said it expects Mr. Di Iorio to announce his intentions regarding his political future in the “coming days,” adding Mr. Trudeau had agreed that Mr. Di Iorio would continue working on the issue of road safety until his official retirement. In 2010, one of Mr. Di Iorio’s daughters, Claudia, was gravely injured in a car crash.
“After Mr. Di Iorio announced his retirement for personal and family reasons in the spring, it was agreed that he would stay to ensure a transition in his riding and work on specific issues linked to his interests and his expertise,” PMO spokeswoman Chantal Gagnon said.
In her written statement, Ms. Gagnon did not speak to Mr. Di Iorio’s assertion that these duties prevented him from sitting in the House.
In April, the member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel stunned many of his colleagues by announcing he would be retiring from politics for personal reasons. He even had a farewell speech in the House.
He returned to a legal career and took on a position as a partner at Montreal firm BCF Business Law.
However, Mr. Di Iorio never formally resigned his seat. After Mr. Di Iorio signalled his desire to continue serving as an MP, Liberal Whip Mark Holland said they had not spoken about the matter.
“He is stepping back from political life and we have heard nothing else,” Mr. Holland said in September. “We wish him the best in his future endeavours.”
BCF’s chairman of the board, André Morrissette, told The Globe and Mail at the time that he hired Mr. Di Iorio on the basis he would be retiring as an MP.
“It was our understanding that he would be quitting politics,” Mr. Morrissette said in an interview.