May 19, 2016
By Jane Brown
A motion on doctor assisted death passed yesterday in the House of Commons by a margin of 172-137, before it makes its way to the Senate.
But prior to that, it was the scuffle on the floor of the House that’s made headlines in Canada and around the world.
Opposition MPs angrily accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of manhandling the Conservative whip and elbowing an NDP MP in the chest. Trudeau later apologized for his behaviour, which he says was prompted by a gaggle of MPs who were delaying the vote on the assisted death bill.
“I admit I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm, including someone behind me who I did not see,” Trudeau explained.
That MP was Ruth Ellen Brosseau who says she was to overwhelmed to stay for the vote.
“I left the chamber to go sit in the lobby. I missed the vote because of this. I just wanted to clarify and make sure it’s clear to all members of the House that that did happen,” Brosseau told the Commons.
More measured in her analysis of what happened is Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who witnessed it herself.
“I’m quite sure that Justin Trudeau’s collision with Ruth Ellen Brosseau was unintentional and he regretted it immediately as soon as he realized it had happened behind him. His contact with Gord Brown, the government whip was intentional and he regrets that, but that to me was harder to explain, but it wasn’t violence against women, it wasn’t an egregious assault,” May told the CBC this morning.
Following the physical confrontation involving the Prime Minister, Trudeau got into a face to face shouting match with the NDP leader. Tom Mulcair can be heard on Commons video footage yelling at Trudeau, “what kind of man elbows a woman? You’re pathetic!”