Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s chief of staff put on leave amid Manitoba tickling scandal

TORONTO – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has removed her chief of staff after he was accused of not taking seriously sexual misconduct allegations brought to him during his time at Manitoba’s legislature.

Horwath says that Michael Balagus, who also served as former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger’s chief of staff, has been placed on leave until she can determine whether it’s appropriate for him to continue working for the party.

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In recent days, several women have come forward alleging former Manitoba finance minister Stan Struthers‘ tickled and groped them.

READ MORE: More women speak out about former NDP minister Stan Struthers, call him ‘Tickle-Me Stan’

In each case, the women said when they reported the behaviour, they were told to suck it up.

Struthers, who was in cabinet for more than a decade, has apologized for any interactions that made people feel disrespected or uncomfortable.

Balagus said in a written statement today that while the women reported the incidents to their superiors, at no time were the matters brought to his attention in the premier’s office.

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