Canadian PM Justin Trudeau apologizes for elbowing female lawmaker | News | DW | 19.05.2016
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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau apologizes for elbowing female lawmaker

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's Golden Boy image since being elected last autumn has lost a little of its sheen. The lawmaker apologized "unreservedly" for apparently elbowing a female MP in parliament.

Opposition MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau told reporters she had been elbowed in the chest and had had to leave the House of Commons chamber on Wednesday after feeling "overwhelmed."

"I missed the vote because of this," she said, referring to the government's attempt to push through a motion to limit debate on its controversial assisted-dying legislation.

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See what Trudeau did

Trudeau was reportedly seen shunting an MP through the throng as the vote was starting in the chamber. As Trudeau turned around, Brosseau could reportedly be seen reacting with discomfort.

Trudeau - a former boxer and bar bouncer - later stood up in parliament and said it wasn't his intention to hurt anyone. He was - he said - attempting to escort the MP though the crowded chamber. Trudeau added that he thought the man was being impeded as he made his way up the aisle of the chamber and wanted to help him.

"I took it upon myself to go and assist him forward, which was I now see unadvisable as a course of action," said Trudeau. He added that his actions was "unacceptable."

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Canada's Trudeau apologizes after 'physical altercation' with lawmaker

MPs 'prevented escalation'

Opposition New Democrat MP Peter Julian called the act a "pretty violent push," reportedly adding that he had never seen such behavior in his 12 years in parliament. "Physical force in this House is never permitted," he said.

The New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair reportedly then yelled at Trudeau in the chamber and MPs intervened to make sure things didn't escalate.

Opposition Conservative Andrew Scheer said Trudeau had clearly lost his temper. "He was motivated by anger and lost his temper," Scheer said. "It is very, very unfortunate. We had a member of parliament that wasn't able to vote."

"No sane person watching that video could come to any conclusion but that it was an accident. Stupid of him to be over there, but come on," political commentator Andrew Coyne tweeted.

The Speaker concluded that Brosseau's privileges as an MP had been breached, which means the incident will now be examined by an all-party committee.

The incident comes a day after Trudeau's call for greater gender equality.

jbh/rc (AP, Reuters)

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