On October 22, Romeo Saganash, NDP MP and an early contender in the leadership race of the party, took medical leave to recover from his dependence on alcohol.

The Quebec MP for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou made the request after an incident on October 19, when he was ejected from an Air Canada Jazz flight due to his intoxication.

Saganash thanked NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for allowing him the time to make it through this ordeal as well as his colleagues who are helping him through “this difficult period”.

“I know that profound scars were left on me because of my time in residential school,” said Saganash. “I never shied away from that. The death of my friend and mentor, Jack Layton, also greatly affected me. Like him, I needed a crutch. The leadership race wore me out, on top of taking me away from my children and my loved ones even more often.”

Online there has been an outpouring of support wishing the MP well and recognizing the difficulty of the problem of alcoholism, with an estimate that over 200,000 people suffer from the addiction in Canada.