NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called Andrew Scheer's impartiality into question Tuesday after Conservative MP Paul Calandra responded to Mulcair's question on the Iraqi mission by raising a completely unrelated subject.
Mulcair's plea for an intervention appeared to fall on deaf ears, prompting the leader to tell Scheer, "That does not speak very favourably about your neutrality in this House," at which point Scheer denied Mulcair the chance to ask his remaining questions.
On Wednesday, Scheer suggested he could have gone further, noting that to challenge the Speaker's character can be seen as a punishable breach of privilege. He did not elaborate on what punishment he might have meted out.
Besides, Scheer added, until MPs themselves change the rules, long-standing tradition means the Speaker can't interfere with answers given during question period.
Still, he reiterated previous appeals for an elevated tone of debate in the House.
"I have no doubt that Canadians expect members to elevate the tone and substance of question period exchanges," he said.
"As your Speaker, I hope the House can rise to that challenge."
Mulcair had been asking for confirmation on the end-date for Canada's contribution to the mission in Iraq.
Calandra, who is the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, replied by bringing up the NDP's position on Israel and remarks allegedly made by an NDP staffer on the subject in social media, complete with censored profanities.
Scheer noted in his comments that the language was unsavoury and urged MPs to choose their words more carefully.
After the Speaker's comments, Mulcair said he considered the matter closed.
"It's never been the case that a government has gone as far as Conservatives go, and it's undermining the respect that the public has for our institutions," Mulcair said Wednesday.
"Yesterday there was a ramping up — the words that were used, a nine-year-old would have known that those were big swear words being used in the House. It's a shame that it took until today to recognize that. It's done, I'm going to move on."
On Wednesday, it was James Bezan, parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, who fielded Mulcair's question and confirmed that the 30-day mission window in Iraq opened on Sept. 5.
The federal government has repeatedly said it would reassess the mission before the 30 days have passed — and Prime Minister Stephen Harper revealed Wednesday that the U.S. has already asked Canada for more help.
Also on HuffPost