A Conservative backbencher accused NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair of directing an “F-bomb” at the Speaker of the House of Commons Thursday.
It was a charge that NDP House Leader Peter Julian promptly dismissed as total nonsense.
Tory MP Mark Warawa, who represents the British Columbia riding of Langley, rose on a point of order after question period to accuse Mulcair of uttering the swear 20 minutes earlier when Scheer interrupted NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen.
The Speaker had gently reprimanded Cullen for pointing out that Finance Minister Joe Oliver was not in the House Thursday to answer questions about the federal budget. Oliver was in Kingston, Ont. promoting the spending plan he tabled this week.
According to the rules of debate, “allusions to the presence or absence” of a member of Parliament are “unacceptable.” After all, MPs sometimes need to be outside of the House to carry out their duties. Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau were absent from question period Thursday.
But Warawa claimed Mulcair didn’t take kindly to the Speaker’s refereeing.
“The leader of the official Opposition, the NDP leader… used inappropriate language directed at you,” Warawa said. “The common swear word, the F-word, Mr. Speaker.”
“It was inappropriate to you, it’s a disrespect shown in this House. It’s not only disrespect to this House, but it’s disrespect to you,” he said. The Tory MP also called on the NDP leader to apologize.
Julian shot back that while he has heard some “tall tales” from the other side, this one was unbelievable.
“I sit beside the member, the leader of the official Opposition, who always treats members of Parliament with respect,” he said, to shouts from the other side.
Julian said the claim was false and called on the Tory MP to apologize instead. Warawa took a pass.
The moment may remind some of when former prime minister Pierre Trudeau was accused of mouthing the words “f*ck off” to opposition MPs in 1971. Trudeau famously told reporters he actually said “fuddle duddle.”
In 2011, Justin Trudeau called then-environment minister Peter Kent a “piece of shit” during a heated exchange in the House. The Liberal MP immediately apologized after question period for using language that was “most decidedly unparliamentary.”
And this is not the first time Mulcair has been accused of losing his cool.
In 2012, Conservative MPs said Mulcair swore at House Leader Peter Van Loan after he crossed the floor to challenge Cullen, who was the NDP’s House leader at the time, over a procedural matter. Van Loan admitted he also used inappropriate language during the confrontation with Mulcair, in which both men had to be separated by other members of caucus.
Mulcair’s temper has earned him the nickname “Angry Tom” and “Grizzly Bear.” Yet, there are signs the NDP leader may be starting to embrace the image. Last Halloween, he dressed up as an Angry Bird.
In an interview with CTV’s “W5” last month, Mulcair’s wife, Catherine Pinhas, was asked about her husband’s supposed short fuse.
“Thank God,” she said. “There are things that happen that somebody has to be mad and say it and change it.”
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