Elbowgate was awkward to say, and we’re glad to see that the ‘scandal’ is over already.
On May 18, things got heated in the House of Commons. Justin Trudeau grabbed a Conservative during a kind of human log jam in the House while trying to speed up a vote on assisted dying. He accidentally elbowed NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau during the scuffle.
This is one of those moments that seems to produce cognitive dissonance between Canadians and their leaders.
Sure, we kind of expect that our MPs behave with decorum and don’t get into childish shoving matches.
So while NDP and Conservative MPs slammed Trudeau, the nation as a whole yawned and asked what the big deal was. He clearly didn’t mean to elbow Brosseau – if he had, that would have been another matter. And he apologized immediately, remaining in keeping with our national character.
This is a country that eats up Rock ’Em Sock ’Em style-hockey, and most of us were in more violent fights when we were eight years old and arguing about who got to play tetherball next.
Canadians like to say we’re nice, but we have a fairly high tolerance for a little violence, and we can tell the difference between an accidental bump and a more aggressive attack. And we don’t always have a problem with an overt attack – remember Jean Chretien taking a protester by the throat? It didn’t do him any lasting harm in the polls.
It’s a nice reminder, however, that the PM is not intended to be a linebacker. If he needs someone roughed up, he can send a backbencher next time.
Justin should have taken a page from his father’s book, stayed in his seat, and told his opponents to fuddle duddle.