Canada's first openly gay MP takes leave after admitting theft
April 16 2004 11:00 PM ET
Canada's first openly gay member of Parliament, who once clashed with Israeli troops as he tried to visit Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, put his career on hold Thursday, going on medical leave after admitting that he had stolen jewlery, Agence France-Presse reports. Svend Robinson, who represents a constituency in western British Columbia province, owned up to a moment of "total, utter irrationality" as he sobbed through a nationally televised news conference. "While attending a public jewelry sale, I pocketed a piece of expensive jewelry," Robinson said. "I did this despite knowing full well that the entire area was under electronic surveillance." Robinson turned himself into police earlier this week and said he is undergoing therapy for stress.
Robinson has long been recognized as one of Canada's most vocal and outspoken politicians during 25 years in Parliament. In April 2002, Israeli soldiers stopped him as he tried to enter Ramallah to
visit Arafat in his besieged compound in the occupied West Bank town. He contended at the time that he did not need Israel's permission to enter the town.