How Wild Did It Get in Ottawa? Justin Trudeau Elbowed a Woman

It was a bruising day
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2016 12:50 AM CDT
Updated May 19, 2016 1:33 AM CDT

Justin Trudeau offered "unreserved" apologies Wednesday after jostling lawmakers from both of Canada's main opposition parties during a raucous day in Ottawa. The Liberal prime minister, apparently annoyed by a delay in voting on an assisted-suicide bill, was seen striding across the Parliament floor to grab the arm of Conservative Whip Gord Brown to get him to his seat and allow voting to begin, the CBC reports. As he took Brown's arm, Trudeau elbowed Ruth Ellen Brosseau, one of several New Democratic Party lawmakers surrounding Brown, in the chest. "What kind of man elbows a woman? You're pathetic," shouted NDP leader Thomas Mulcair after Trudeau crossed the Parliament floor a second time.

Sources say Trudeau could be heard saying, "Get the f--- out of my way" as he approached Brown. In his apology, Trudeau admitted it had been "inadvisable" to try to move Brown and offered to make amends to any MP "negatively impacted," the Toronto Star reports. NDP MP Niki Ashton told the chamber that the elbowing of Brosseau was "deeply traumatic" and she was "ashamed" to witness it. "What I will say, if we apply a gendered lens, it is very important that young women in this space feel safe to come here and work here," she said. Other MPs, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, said the elbowing had clearly been an accident. The incident was referred to a procedural committee that has the power to sanction the prime minister if a review finds that he violated the rules of conduct. (Earlier this week, the outrage was directed at the prime minister's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.)

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