By Cam Fortems
Kamloops This Week
Conservative MP Cathy McLeod called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s manhandling of her party’s whip and subsequent elbowing of a New Democrat MP inside the House of Commons an “incredible breach.”
The MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo was sitting across from the government benches on Wednesday.
“I saw the prime minister leave his chair and appearing very angry,” she said,
McLeod said she lost sight of Trudeau, but did observe the ruckus at the other end of the House. Her views are based on what she saw on video.
“For any parliamentarian, it’s an incredible breach,” She said.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable from any parliamentarian. It’s extremely disappointing when it’s your prime minister.”
McLeod said the incident would be unacceptable in any workplace.
“I believe what happened with the NDP member [elbowing] was accidental, not purposeful. Grabbing our whip was purposeful.”
McLeod said the incident comes amid what she called “unprecedented manoeuvres” in the House this week by the Liberal government.
A contrite Trudeau apologized yet again yesterday.
But Trudeau’s political adversaries are out for more, demanding he show he is serious about decorum by withdrawing a motion that would remove procedural tools — and power — from opposition MPs.
Trudeau rose in the House to apologize to all MPs, the Speaker and also Ruth Ellen Brosseau, with whom he collided on Wednesday while trying to hurry Conservative whip Gord Brown to his seat.
“I sincerely apologize to my colleagues, to the House as a whole and to you, Mr. Speaker, for failing to live up to a higher standard of behaviour,’’ Trudeau told a rapt Commons as the shockwaves from Wednesday’s eyebrow-raising scene continued to reverberate.
“Members, rightfully, expect better behaviour from anyone in this House. I expect better behaviour of myself.’’
Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said she appreciated Trudeau’s apology, but insisted the Liberals need to drop the controversial motion aimed at taking away some of the procedural tools opposition MPs use to combat the government.
“He is stripping the opposition of our jobs,’’ Ambrose said.
“We have a job to do in the House, and we take it seriously. If he truly respects the role of Opposition, and the role of every member of the House, then he has to withdraw the motion,’’ Ambrose said.
If the Liberals get their way, a day in the House of Commons would not end — and the summer break would not begin — until a cabinet minister or parliamentary secretary moves to adjourn proceedings.
The motion would also make it harder for the opposition to surprise the government like they did on Monday, when the Liberals had to scramble to their seats for a snap vote on proposed changes to Air Canada legislation.
— with files from The Canadian Press