EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Trillium, a new Village Media website devoted to covering provincial politics at Queen’s Park.
MPP Michael Mantha, who's represented the northern Ontario riding of Algoma—Manitoulin for the New Democrats since 2011, has taken a leave from his duties as an elected representative.
Mantha is on a "personal leave," an automated email response received on Thursday said. The auto-response from his email address doesn't elaborate any further on why he's taken a break from his MPP duties. Party staff declined to comment beyond saying he is on "personal leave."
Neither Mantha nor his constituency office responded to emails sent by The Trillium on Thursday.
Mantha hasn't participated in his normal legislative duties since late last year. The last time he spoke or voted in the Ontario legislature was on Dec. 8, which was the last sitting day of 2022, according to official hansard transcripts. He was last included on one of the Ontario NDP's news releases the day before that, according to those published on the party's website.
Mantha also hasn't posted online about making any public outings representing Algoma—Manitoulin since late January, when he attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association's annual conference in Toronto.
He last tweeted on Jan. 26, when he shared a video of him criticizing the Ford government's health-care plans in the legislature last year. Before then, he tended to tweet every few days, as many MPPs do.
For a few days in early February, Mantha was in Cuba, according to his Instagram posts.
The last news posting he made on his website was on Feb. 10, in which he wrote about being "very excited to return to the legislature with Marit Stiles as the newly elected Leader of the Official Opposition." Stiles officially became NDP leader on Feb. 4.
Most MPPs returned to the legislature for the first sitting day of 2023 on Feb. 21. They've sat most weeks since, as is typical during the springtime.
Until Wednesday evening, Mantha was the official Opposition critic for natural resources, mines, and Ring of Fire issues. Stiles shook up the official Opposition's critic roles on Wednesday, reducing Mantha's critic portfolio to mines alone. About a dozen other NDP MPPs saw their critic portfolios changed, most in minor ways. The changes came a couple days after Sarah Jama, the newly elected NDP MPP for Hamilton Centre, was sworn in at the legislature. Jama was named the NDP's critic for issues of accessibility and disability justice, and youth.
In last spring's provincial vote, Mantha won re-election in Algoma—Manitoulin with 46 per cent of votes. It was the fourth consecutive election that he won his seat, which dates back to when he was first elected in 2011.