TT-born Canadian legislator resigns suddenly without explanation

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 20:00

Trinidad and Tobago-born veteran Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon has suddenly resigned his seat in the Ontario, Canada legislature, without explanation, according to a report carried in The Star newspaper.

The newspaper says the announcement came from Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“Today, Bas Balkissoon advised me of his resignation and that he is stepping down as the MPP for Scarborough-Rouge River, effective immediately,” Wynne said in a statement that shed no light on the unexpected departure.

“I thank Bas for his service and wish him luck in his future endeavours. A byelection will be called within the next six months.”

The newspaper says that Balkissoon, who could not immediately be reached for comment, was quickly deleted from the list of MPPs on the legislature’s website.\

Balkissoon, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, was first elected to the legislature in 2005, and his riding has been Liberal since its creation in 1999.

Prior to serving as an MPP and deputy speaker of the legislature, as well as a parliamentary assistant to several cabinet ministers, Balkissoon was a prominent Toronto city councillor who was credited with blowing the whistle on the MFP computer-leasing scandal.

He also made news in 2012 when U.S. President Barack Obama attended his son Tony’s wedding in Chicago, where he works as a lawyer and married fellow barrister Laura Jarrett, the daughter of one of Obama’s most influential advisors.