Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised after "manhandling" one member of parliament and elbowing another during a debate on assisted dying. Footage of the incident in the House of Commons on Wednesday (18 May) showed Trudeau walk towards a group of Conservative MPs while reportedly saying: "Get the f**k out of my way".
Irritated that opposition Conservative and New Democratic parties were stalling a vote, he then grabbed Opposition Whip Gord Brown by his arm and pulled him across the Commons floor in an apparent attempt to steer him towards his seat. New Democratic Party MP Ruth-Ellen Brosseau said she was "elbowed in the chest" by Trudeau during the jostling.
The incident caused uproar in Parliament with MPs heckling Trudeau. Opposition leader Tom Mulcair shouted: "What kind of man elbows a woman? It's pathetic! You're pathetic!"
Brown later said in a statement: "I was trying to start the vote, the prime minister grabbed my arm. I immediately told the prime minister to let go of me — now.
"Immediately afterward, the prime minister went back down the aisle of the House to confront other members of opposition parties. I later told the prime minister he should not have gotten out of his seat."
Brosseau, who said she had been speaking to fellow MPs when Trudeau marched towards the group, added: "I was elbowed in the chest by the prime minister and then I had to leave. It was very overwhelming and so I left the chamber to go and sit in the lobby. I missed the vote because of this."
Conservative MP David Sweet said the incident was unprecedented, adding: "I have never seen a display of bully behaviour by a Canadian politician, let alone a prime minister as I witnessed just now in the chamber."
Once order was restored in the Commons, Trudeau apologised for his actions. "I admit I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm, including someone behind me who I did not see," he said. "If anyone feels that they were impacted by my actions, I completely apologise. It was not my intention to hurt anyone."
He added: "I want to take the opportunity ... to be able to express directly to [Brosseau] my apologies for my behaviour and my actions, unreservedly. I noticed that the whip opposite was being impeded in his progress, I took it upon myself to go and assist him forward, which I can now see was unadvisable as a course of action that resulted in physical contact in this House that we can all accept was unacceptable.
"I look for opportunities to make amends directly to the member and to any members who feel negatively impacted by this exchange and intervention."
This is the second time Trudeau has apologised for his conduct in Canada's parliament. The first, in 2011, came after he called a government minister a "piece of s**t".
The latest incident came as anger grew over the Liberal government's attempts to pass a bill allowing assisted dying, which is approaching a 6 June deadline. Trudeau accused Brown of speaking slowly during a speech in a deliberate attempt to stall proceedings.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, said opposition MPs were engaging in "mischief" to delay the vote. She called Trudeau's actions "most unwise" but said the elbowing of Brosseau was "unintentional".