OTTAWA, (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized in Parliament yesterday after he rushed across the floor to hurry one legislator to his seat, was accused of elbowing another in the chest and got into a shouting match with an opposition leader.
The incident was an unusual outburst in the normally staid Canadian parliament and a rare loss of control by the telegenic Trudeau, 44, who has enjoyed high ratings in the polls and international fame.
CBC footage showed the Liberal leader marching across to the opposition during a procedural vote and leading a Conservative party member away from a group of other legislators. Trudeau said he felt the lawmaker was being impeded from taking his seat to vote, holding up proceedings.
A New Democratic Party (NDP) lawmaker said Trudeau elbowed her in the chest during the altercation.
The prime minister briefly returned to his seat before crossing over again and was seen in a heated exchange with NDP leader Tom Mulcair.
At that point, several of Trudeau’s Liberal Cabinet streamed out of their seats to stand around the prime minister before order was restored.
“I admit I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm to (the Conservative legislator), including someone behind me who I did not see,” Trudeau said after the incident, adding he “completely apologized”.
“I now see (that was) an unadvisable course of action and resulted in physical contact in this house that we can all accept was unacceptable,” he added.
The video, which does not carry audio due to parliamentary rules, quickly made waves on both television and Twitter.