A key Liberal cabinet minister's jab at a younger Conservative MP earned a scolding from the House Speaker Thursday.
Tory deputy justice critic Michael Cooper — a 32-year-old rookie — has pressed Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in question period all week over her recent participation in a controversial, $500-per-ticket fundraiser held at a Toronto law firm.
Cooper frequently accused Wilson-Raybould of accepting "pay-to-play" cash from lawyers and lobbyists, even though she maintains the event was cleared in advance by the federal ethics commissioner.
Tory MP Michael Cooper and Liberal Dominic LeBlanc are shown in question period on April 14, 2016. (Photo: Screengrab/CP)
Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc, a parliamentary veteran, has fielded many of the barbs on Wilson-Raybould's behalf. He accused Cooper of "feigned indignation" and fake allegations, and invited the MP to repeat his charges outside of the House where he isn't protected by parliamentary privilege.
On Thursday, LeBlanc got personal.
Cooper, who wants a copy of the full guest list for the event released, rose to say that Wilson-Raybould broke the "prime minister's own ethics code," and alleged she raised funds from department stakeholders.
And yes, he used the "pay-to-play" catchphrase.
"He's confusing his Saturday night at the arcade with a very legitimate fundraising activity."
"The honourable member keeps repeating these silly phrases, pay-to-play," LeBlanc said. "Mr. Speaker, he's confusing his Saturday night at the arcade with a very legitimate fundraising activity."
The remark sparked guffaws and some irritability from Tory benches.
House Speaker Geoff Regan took some time to "encourage ministers to use judicious language" and cautioned against bringing disorder to proceedings.
But it seems nobody on planet Earth has ever found anything as funny as Transport Minister Marc Garneau found that joke.
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