Everybody went up in arms this week over Elbowgate. PM Trudeau, while reaching for another MP in a scrum caught MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau with an elbow. The way everyone reacted you’d have thought that Trudeau put on the foil and went into full-on Gordie Howe mode and rubbed her out! Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it, or if you just want a chuckle:
It didn’t help that Brosseau acted like she’d been hit by sniper fire. Soccer players think that Ruth Brosseau needs to ease up on the diving. If it was intentional she’d have every right to be angry but it was clearly an accident. An accident that the PM has already apologized for. Besides, scraps in Parliament are not really that uncommon. Here are a few of my favourite fight-night highlights from Parliaments in the past:
- In 1997 when called a racist by a Liberal MP, Reform MP Darrel Stinson shot right back, “I hear the word “racist” from that side. Do you have the fortitude or the gonads to stand up and come across here and say that to me, you son of a b—h? Come on.” The Liberal MP declined his offer
- In 1987, Conservative MP Dan McKenzie shoved Liberal John Nunziata during a late-night debate on a back-to-work bill for postal workers.
- John A. Macdonald, who would go on to become Canada’s first prime minister, once engaged in fisticuffs with a rival, Oliver Mowat, in a legislature in Toronto. According to one historian, he was pulled off of Mowat, shouting, “Come back here you damn pup, I’ll smack your chops!”
- Macdonald also once dealt directly with a heckler during a debate by wading into the crowd and punching him out.
So the point is that if real fights have happened throughout our history perhaps we can stop going into hysterics over something that amounts to nothing more than a guy accidentally bumping his coworker.