Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Justin Trudeau's Shove Gives Energy to His Critics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Justin Trudeau's Shove Gives Energy to His Critics

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Justin Trudeau's shove gives energy to his critics


An editorial from the Toronto Star, published May 19:

As prime minister, Stephen Harper was no great friend of Parliament. Secretive and bullying, he used every procedural trick in the book to ram through legislation without scrutiny or debate. This was one of Justin Trudeau's favourite talking points during last year's election campaign. The Liberals rode to power promising a post-partisan approach to Parliament, a new civility in the House.

But for all his failings, Harper never had to be reminded by the Speaker of the House that "it is not appropriate to manhandle other members." After Wednesday's bizarre parliamentary fracas, the same can no longer be said of Trudeau.

The details of the melee are by now familiar. Frustrated that opposition MPs were delaying a vote, Trudeau got up from his seat and marched toward a huddle of parliamentarians loitering in the aisle. He grabbed the Official Opposition Whip, Gordon Brown, by the arm and pulled him through the crowd, directing him toward his seat. "Get the f*** out of the way," he is alleged to have said as he accidentally elbowed New Democrat MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the chest.

Lest there be any doubt that we are governed by children, cheers erupted from the Liberal benches. Opposition MPs, doing their part, immediately cried misogyny, overlooking the real offence for an invented one. The one adult in the room, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, called for her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep matters in perspective. For this, predictably, she was shouted down.

Of course, the most disturbing failure of judgment was that of our prime minister. Trudeau appeared contrite during Question Period on Thursday, offering a seemingly heartfelt apology (his third) "to my colleagues, to the House as a whole and to you, Mr. Speaker, for failing to live up to a higher standard of behaviour." But the incident adds to a growing doubt that Trudeau is really committed to making Parliament a better place. …

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