Kevin Vickers 'Made Canada Proud' By Tackling Irish Protester, Erin O'Toole Says

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A Conservative MP called on the prime minister and other members of Parliament to applaud Kevin Vickers, Canada's ambassador to Ireland, for his eyebrow-raising decision to manhandle a protester in Dublin last week.

Vickers made international headlines after he tackled Brian Murphy, an advocate for Irish republicanism who was shouting during a ceremony for British soldiers killed in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Though some critics have said Vickers crossed the line by going after the protester, Erin O'Toole said the diplomat "made Canada proud."

kevin vickers
Kevin Vickers wresters with protester Brian Murphy at the Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin, Ireland, on Thursday May 26, 2016. (Photo: Brian Lawless/AP via CP)

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, O'Toole referenced Vickers' heroism in October of 2014 when — as the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms — he helped thwart the gunman who stormed Parliament Hill.

O'Toole noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time that Vickers' courage prevented the attack from becoming something much worse.

The Tory MP seemed to suggest that Vickers did much the same last week — even though Murphy later told The Canadian Press that he didn't mean any harm.

"Last week in Ireland there was a situation that developed at an event. Mr. Vickers responded instinctively to make sure that there were no threats to those attending, as our ambassador, using minimal force," O'Toole said.

"Mr. Vickers responded instinctively to make sure that there were no threats to those attending, as our ambassador, using minimal force."
— Tory MP Erin O'Toole

"He made Canada proud, Mr. Speaker. So I ask all members of this House and I ask the prime minister to show his support for our ambassador in Ireland, Kevin Vickers, here today in this House."

Many Tory MPs rose to their feet to applaud. The camera didn't catch Trudeau's reaction, but some Liberal cabinet ministers also clapped — including Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr and Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities.

'Always easy to second-guess choices': Trudeau

At the Liberal party convention Saturday, Trudeau wouldn't tell reporters if Vickers would be reprimanded for his conduct in Ireland.

"It's always easy to second-guess choices people make in emergency or unexpected situations," the prime minister said. "Canadians expect our diplomats abroad to do the right thing, to represent us well."

Trudeau said Canadians believe in being part of solutions, not problems.

"That's the perspective I take on this particular issue," he said.

On Tuesday, The Irish Times published a story noting that Trudeau didn't "defend the actions" of the ambassador, or take a stance on the incident.

Meanwhile Murphy, 46, told The Canadian Press he holds no grudge against Vickers.

With files from The Canadian Press

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