We’ve seen many government scandals in the past few years, whether it be the Senate expense scandal or any scandal related to the Panama Papers. However the latest scandal, cleverly named ‘elbowgate’, is one of those scandals you hear about and truly wonder why so much time is dedicated to what the people in the UK political arena would call “Monday”.
For those of you who don’t know, elbowgate refers to the actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House on May 18th. During a vote on limiting the debate on Bill C-14, Trudeau grabbed Conservative whip Gord Brown by the arm and dragged him through a crowd of NDP MPs, who were blocking his way, in an effort to speed up his vote. He had hit NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau in the chest while doing so.
Brosseau, shocked, left the House, and Trudeau, while was walking towards her, was faced with an angry Tom Mulcair yelling at him and calling him ‘pathetic’. Trudeau has apologized numerous times to both MPs.
Now before I continue to break this down, it’s important to understand what Bill C-14 is. It’s the assisted suicide bill.
So just for the sake of easiness and so that I’m not blowing up this issue (like certain media outlets), the rest of this article will be in easy-to-read bullet points.
· Now although the elbowing of Ruth Ellen Brosseau may have been an accident, she still had every right to be shocked and upset. She did not lash out or ‘play the victim card’, she just walked out of the House. Blaming her (which many people are doing) is just straight up wrong.
· Mulcair, who was a lawyer at one point in his career, decided to attack Trudeau and call him pathetic rather than solve the dispute or calm any of the parties down. You’d hope that as the former leader of the NDP he would be more willing to resolve conflicts and debates rather than go to personal attacks.
· In the same token, Trudeau definitely should not have acted in such a way. Sure we all get mad and heatedly perform rash actions, but as the leader of Canada with majority government, he has to be able to avoid such heated situations (especially considering that the assisted suicide bill is in need of serious debate, and limiting debate on the bill is quite infuriating) It is nice he apologized though, but was it really necessary to get him to apologize five times?
· Conservative MP Jason Kenney took to twitter saying “If Stephen Harper had ever physically bullied MPs like Justin Trudeau, there would be immediate & widespread demands for his resignation” and then “I guess this is what the Liberals get for choosing a former bar bouncer as their Leader”. Wait aren’t we talking about government officials not playing nice?
· Elizabeth May has taken this opportunity to prove she is the greatest politician in Canadian government. Her response is to call on all parties to be more mature. Thank you.
· Now is this an important story which warrants more than a day’s worth of coverage? Not really. Considering that the real story is about how the debate on the assisted suicide bill is being constrained, the question should be whether this action is really scandalous enough to take away airtime and column inches from other stories.