Justin Trudeau is in hot water with me. Not so much because of the elbow heard round the world, but because I already had my column completely done and now I have to rewrite it. And it was an interesting column involving baby bison theft. C’mon Justin!
By now you will be familiar with the facts of the case. Prime Minister Trudeau crossed the floor, approaching Opposition Whip Gord Brown. He grabbed the MP’s elbow, later claiming he was trying to move the MP to his seat and hurry up the vote.
Then in the ensuing fracas, Trudeau was heard to swear, harkening back to his father’s famous “Fuddle-duddle” incident. And in the midst of this, the Prime Minister’s elbow brushed against the chest of MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau. You can definitely see in the video that Brosseau was bumped. Subsequent to that Trudeau gets into it with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
But here’s where the hyperbole gets turned up to 1,000.
Brosseau claims that the incident so upset her that she had to leave the House (perhaps to retire to a fainting couch) and missed the vote. Mulcair accuses Trudeau of elbowing a woman in the chest, making it sound quite deliberate.
Conservative MP Peter Van Loan said it was an “extraordinary example of physical intimidation.”
“I witnessed as [Trudeau] strode across the floor with an anger fierce, in his face and eyes, towards a group of individuals. What took place was the prime minister physically grabbing people, elbowing people, hauling them down the way,” he told CBC News.
Luckily there were a few clearer accounts, coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Elizabeth May of the Green Party said Trudeau’s actions were unwise in his attempt to move Brown along but that his elbowing of Brosseau was, from her perspective, unintentional.
And current Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose said that Trudeau “demonstrated a complete lack of respect for members of the House of Commons, and for Parliament.”
Which he most certainly did.
And in a couple of regrettable minutes, he undid all the goodwill he has built up. Sunny ways? Not any more.
The Prime Minister apologized. Then he apologized again. He will likely still be apologizing while you’re reading this column. And if you are, hey, thanks.
But you can’t put the boxer back in the bottle. Justin Trudeau crossed the floor and touched another MP and was not in a good mood while doing so. Luckily, it didn’t result in a Taiwan parliament style free for all, but yikes.
Politics, having become so much more partisan in recent years, means tempers flare more often. Just ask MLAs Norm Macdonald and Bill Bennett, who, after a heated exchange in the BC Legislature this past March, where f-bombs were dropped, later had to be physically separated in the hallway outside.
We are perhaps guilty of expecting too much from our elected officials. Nobody is perfect, yet we jump on every tiny thing they do. But we at least should be able to expect them to refrain from actions that would not be allowed in an elementary school. A little restraint, that’s all we’re asking.
Ironically, the vote which was taking place was a compassionate one, the physician assisted dying bill.
And now for the bison. Apparently in Yellowstone last weekend, a baby bison was put in a tourist’s car. These tourists in Yellowstone put the baby bison in their vehicle because, “It looked cold”. This does beg a number of questions, such as:
1) what were they planning on doing with the bison once it was warmed up?
and, 2) can you house train a bison?
These questions will not be answered because park officials noticed the bison in the back of the SUV and made them give it back. Park rangers, always spoiling the fun. Am I right, Yogi?
They should assign a few of those park rangers to the House of Commons.
Carolyn Grant is Editor at the Kimberley Bulletin