Elbows down: Tory whip says time to move on


VANCOUVER – Conservative whip Gord Brown says he hopes cooler heads will prevail when the House of Commons returns on Monday.

It was Brown that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau grabbed a week and a half ago to try and hurry along a vote, and in the process elbowed a female New Democrat MP, causing an uproar in the House.

“It was an extraordinary situation,” Brown said in an interview on the floor of the Conservatives’ convention in Vancouver.

“The prime minister should not have been on the other side of the House. There’s a reason the parliamentary tradition is two sword lengths.”

Brown says the incident was the culmination of days of increasing tensions between the two sides, beginning with the Liberal decision to curb debate on the assisted suicide bill.

But he said there was no conspiracy at work between his party and the NDP on the floor of the Commons that day.

“For someone to suggest that I conspired with the New Democrats behind the scenes to concoct a situation where the Prime Minister would come charging out of his seat? C’mon. Let’s get serious,” he said.

“That’s a stretch on a good day.”

Brown called the backlash faced by NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau unfortunate. What should happen next, he said, is up to the parliamentary committee that will examine the issue.

Trudeau has apologized, Brown said.

“I think that he has suffered some hit to his credibility, and that’s something he has to deal with,” he said.

“I think Canadians see him in a different light than they did a week ago. I think they were surprised at what happened.”

But, Brown said, he also thinks Canadians are ready to move on and that hopefully the week away from the Commons has calmed things down for MPs too.

“I think there’s been a big change, a sea change since last week,” he said.