OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized yet again for his physical encounter with opposition MPs on the floor of the House of Commons.
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 the Conservative whip to his seat.
“I apologize for crossing the floor,” Trudeau said. “That intervention was not appropriate, it was not my role and it should not have happened.”
He also addressed Brosseau directly, saying he failed to live up to the standard of behaviour to which all MPs should adhere, and that there was no excuse for what he did.
“I regret profoundly, apologize unreservedly … for failing to live up to a higher standard of behaviour,” Trudeau said.
“Members expect better behaviour from everyone in this House; I expect better behaviour from myself.”
Trudeau said repeatedly that he made a mistake — “poor choices,” he called it — and that he wants to make amends.
The unprecedented scene erupted Wednesday in the House when Trudeau pulled Conservative whip Gord Brown through a clutch of New Democrat MPs to hurry up a vote related to doctor-assisted dying.
Footage from the Commons television feed showed Trudeau wading into a clutch of MPs, mostly New Democrats, and pulling Opposition whip Gordon Brown through the crowd in an effort to get a key vote started.
In doing so, he appeared to collide with Quebec MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, who reacted with visible discomfort Trudeau pushed past her, forcing her against an adjacent desk.
“His behaviour was unbecoming for the office of the prime minister,” interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose told the Commons this morning as MPs debated the question of privilege arising from the encounter.
“It was unsettling for all of us.”
NDP MP Tracey Ramsey told the Commons in the immediate aftermath of the incident that Trudeau uttered a profanity as he approached her caucus colleagues standing in front of Brown.
“He said, ‘Get the bleep out of the way,'” Ramsey said in the House. An NDP source who spoke to Ramsey afterwards confirmed the MP had heard Trudeau say “get the f— out of my way.”
Brosseau said she was shocked by the encounter.
“I was standing in the centre talking to some colleagues,” Brosseau told the House after calm was restored. “I was elbowed in the chest by the prime minister and then I had to leave.
“It was very overwhelming and so I left the chamber to go and sit in the lobby. I missed the vote because of this.”
The incident led to mayhem on the Commons floor, with Trudeau at one point in a face-to-face encounter with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.