House Of Commons Erupts After Justin Trudeau Elbows An Opposition MP
The prime minister apologized after being accused of "manhandling" the opposition.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to the House of Commons on Wednesday after getting into a physical encounter with opposition MPs.
Trudeau left his seat, walking fast, and grabbed the arm of Chief Opposition Whip Gord Brown to escort him to his seat.
NDP MP Tracey Ramsey accused Trudeau of swearing at the MPs around Brown, telling them to "get the [fuck] out of the way."
In the process, Trudeau appears to have injured NDP MP Ruth-Ellen Brosseau, who was standing behind him. She left the House and later said — visibly shaken — that the prime minister had elbowed her in the chest.
Trudeau was frustrated that the NDP seemed to be holding up a vote by blocking Brown from getting to his seat.
Tensions had been running high all day because of a government motion to strip opposition of their ability to delay the assisted dying bill.
Trudeau returned to his seat after grabbing Brown, but then got up again before ending up in a yelling match with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
Green Leader Elizabeth May later claimed Trudeau was getting up to try to apologize to Brosseau.
After taking his seat again, Trudeau attempted to explain what had happened amid angry shouting from the opposition.
"I admit I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm to [Brown], including someone behind me who I did not see," Trudeau said. "I certainly did not intend to offend or impact on anyone. I was simply concerned that, unfortunately, the decorum of this place has been impeded."
"If anyone feels that they were impacted by my actions, I completely apologize, it was not my intention to hurt anyone."
Speaker Geoff Regan then rose, saying "it is not appropriate to manhandle other members" to lots of applause from Conservative and NDP MPs.
Regan also noted that it doesn't matter if one of the whips isn't sitting, the voting process can still proceed.
The House then carried on with the vote to fast-track debate on the assisted dying bill, which the Liberals passed.
After the vote, Conservative MP Peter Van Loan rose to argue Trudeau breached Brosseau's parliamentary privilege because she left after being elbowed and missed the vote.
If Van Loan's motion is adopted, the whole affair will be sent to a parliamentary committee to be studied. The Liberals could vote it down, but in a surprise move they agreed to support the motion and have a committee study the fracas.
The opposition wasn't ready to stop talking about what happened, though, so time ran out before Van Loan's motion was put to a vote.