Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has apologised “unreservedly” for making physical contact with a woman MP who said he elbowed her in the chest as he waded through a group of mostly-opposition members.
Opposition politician Ruth Brosseau said she had to leave the House of Commons chamber on Wednesday after feeling “overwhelmed”.
“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.” The House of Commons speaker concluded that Brosseau’s privileges as an MP had been breached, which means the encounter will be examined by an all-party committee.
Footage from the chamber’s television feed shows Liberal Party leader Trudeau wading into a group of MPs, mainly opposition members, and pulling a male MP through the crowd in order to get the vote on assisted dying laws started.
As Trudeau turns around to pull the politician through, Brosseau can be seen reacting with discomfort.
Trudeau, a former bar bouncer, later stood up in parliament and said it was not his intention to hurt anyone as he attempted to escort the MP though a throng of opposition members in the chamber.
He 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 was I now see unadvisable as a course of action,” said Trudeau, who characterised his actions as “unacceptable”.
Opposition New Democrat MP Peter Julian called it a “pretty violent push” and said he had never seen such behaviour in his 12 years in parliament.
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