Photo via Justin In Markham-Unionville

Canadian prime minister apologizes for angrily grabbing lawmaker in Parliament

'I look for opportunities to make amends directly to the member,' Trudeau said afterward.

 

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Tech

Published May 19, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 6:16 pm CDT

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found himself apologizing on Wednesday night after a physical confrontation on the floor of parliament.

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Trudeau, visibly frustrated about a delay in voting on an assisted dying bill, strode across the floor and grabbed Conservative Whip Gord Brown so voting could commence. (Whips are members charged with overseeing the voting process.) Trudeau also reportedly elbowed a nearby female legislator, New Democrat Ruth Ellen Brosseau.

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“I admit I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm in,” Trudeau said, “including someone behind me who I did not see. 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 by the kind of preventing of the work that the whips are doing.”

Trudeau apologized “unreservedly” and said his decision “was unadvisable.”

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When he said he “completely apologized” and that it was “not my intention to hurt anyone,” the body broke into applause.

“I look for opportunities to make amends directly to the member and to any members who feel negatively impacted by this exchange and intervention,” he said.

New Democrats said the act was unprecedented.

“I have never seen any member of the House act towards another member or members as he just did,” said Peter Julian, a lawmaker from British Columbia. “Physical force in this House is never permitted, it is never welcome, and it is entirely inappropriate.”

H/T New York Times

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*First Published: May 19, 2016, 11:15 am CDT