Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologised “unreservedly” for making physical contact with a female Opposition member of Parliament, who said Trudeau elbowed her in the chest as he waded through a group of lawmakers.
“I was elbowed in the chest by the Prime Minister, and then I had to leave. It was very overwhelming,” she said. “I missed the vote because of this.”
Footage from the House of Commons television feed showed Trudeau wading into a clutch of lawmakers, mostly opposition members, and pulling one of them through the crowd in order to get the vote started. As Trudeau turns around to pull the lawmaker through, Brosseau can be seen reacting in pain.
Trudeau, a boxer and former bar bouncer, later stood up in Parliament and said it wasn’t his intention to hurt anyone as he was trying to escort the lawmaker. Trudeau said he thought the man was being impeded as he walked up the aisle of the chamber, and wanted to help him.
“I took it upon myself to go and assist him forward, which I now see as an inadvisable as a course of action,” said Trudeau. “I apologise for that unreservedly and I look for opportunities to make amends.”
Opposition New Democrat lawmaker Peter Julian called it a “pretty violent push”, and said he had never seen such behaviour in his 12 years in Parliament. “Physical force in this House is never permitted,” he said.
Another Opposition leader, Thomas Mulcair, later screamed at Trudeau: “What kind of man elbows a woman?”
However, lawmakers intervened to ensure that things do not escalate.
Tempers have been running high as the government pushes through a motion to limit the debate on its euthanasia legislation.