OTTAWA - Things got ugly in the House of Commons — literally.

With opposition accusations flying over the resignation last week of Labrador MP Peter Penashue, Prime Minister Stephen Harper again heaped praise on his former intergovernmental affairs minister.

Harper told the Commons he expected the Conservatives would run a clean campaign in a byelection in which Penashue has pledged to run.

But he also suggested the Liberals were already running a "negative, ugly campaign" against Penashue.

That prompted an exchange with interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, with the Commons speaker forced to break up the verbal melee.

Rae told the House the Conservatives had only to look in the mirror if they wanted to see ugly.

Penashue resigned his cabinet post and his seat in the Commons last week after Elections Canada found his election campaign had accepted 28 different ineligible donations.

He has since pledged to run in a byelection, and is being supported by the prime minister, even though Elections Canada is continuing to investigate.

The opposition parties have accused Harper of acting immorally by allowing Penashue to run in a byelection after being caught "buying" his last election.

Penashue is a former Innu leader who defeated a Liberal incumbent by just 79 votes in the 2011 election.

The prime minister has said Penashue has accomplished much for his constituents, and should be allowed to face voters based on his track record.

Loading Slideshow...
  • The Hill Times

    Penashue says he was 'unaware of inaccuracies of [financial] return,' wants to be accountable to ppl who elected him, so steps down #cdnpoli

  • Mark Dunn

    Peter Penashue has resigned from cabinet and his Labrador seat over illegal donations he received in the 2011 election. #cdnpoli

  • Edward Leung

    Oh I do love the fresh smell of byelections in the morning. #LPC MT @TheHillTimes Minister Peter Penashue to resign his seat #cdnpoli

  • CC

    PREDICTION! Canada's wingnuts will praise Peter Penashue for having moral conviction to do the right thing. Let's watch ...

  • Lauren DH

    Who provides cover for whom though? Which is the bigger story - Penashue or BC ethnic outreach?

  • Gregory Taylor

    From Oct 2012 --- 'Peter was a cheater,' ex-MP Russell says http://t.co/8WIn1uiWPq

  • aaronwherry

    Full statement from Peter Penashue on his resignation: http://t.co/hdijMK0SOt

  • Oppo Guy

    Why can't Dean Del Mastro be more like Peter Penashue? #cdnpoli

  • Stephen Maher

    Elections Canada was pursuing this business with Penashue. Will there be a compliance agreement? Is this part of it?

  • NoBS Thirsty®

    Peter Penashue has FINALLY done something for his people! #nlpoli

  • Ben Parsons

    Penashue's riding could be a pick up for the Liberals in a by-election. In fact, I would say that it is a likely LPC pickup. #cdnpoli