Hockey Night in the House of Commons
May 19, 2016
All Hell broke loose in Canada’s House of Commons yesterday afternoon when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left his seat to assist MP Gord Brown, the Conservative Whip, to his seat so that an important vote could proceed.
The subsequent events are well documented on Parliamentary TV, though opinions vary as to the gravity of the Prime Minister’s faux pas. After due reflection, and in the context of the annual Stanley Cup Playoff television marathon, I would like to offer my view.
Now let me get this straight. NDP members chose to barricade a portion of the floor of the House of Commons so that the Conservative Whip could not make it through to resume his seat, thereby delaying a duly-scheduled vote. Whip Brown apparently chose to go along with this coercive act without protest, although this organized and premeditated action clearly infringed upon his parliamentary privilege.
MP Brosseau willingly joined this scrum, offering her physical stature to help form the impromptu barrier.
Prime Minister Trudeau saw the scrum for what it was, and his teacher training cut in. Over my 33 years in secondary schools I have broken up many situations like this, plunging through the crowd, nabbing the perpetrator (or in some cases the victim of a beating) and drawing the individual none-too-gently from the scrum.
Foremost in Trudeau’s mind would have been that Gord Brown had the right to move to his seat, and these individuals were taking that right away from him. Gord in this case would be no different than a grade nine girl on her way to the washroom, blocked by a gang of grade 12 boys in the smoking area.
Trudeau would have been furious with the ringleader/bully in this case, Tom Mulcair, who in his mind was clearly out of line. This outrage piled on top of the humiliation last week of a near-defeat in a vote because of Mulcair’s mischief.
So far everyone played his role in a classic schoolyard confrontation. But then Trudeau’s elbow struck MP Brosseau, and the NDP yeoman, the physical shield, suddenly went all girly, complained to Mulcair, and fled the House. This move by Brosseau was definitely not part of the classic confrontation model. Girls in brawls are if anything tougher than the guys.
CBC hockey analyst Don Cherry is going to love dissecting this play. Up until now he’ll agree with the many media analysts as to the statement of events, but here he’s going to turn on ex-hockey player Gord Brown for a gutless play in his unwillingness to go into the corners. Then he’ll defend Trudeau against Brosseau’s dive. He’ll show on video how the NDP stalwart had silently moved into position to get hit, and then went into a rehearsed dive, communicating with her captain, then rushing for the dressing room, missing a shift, but returning to the bench in time for the TV interview.
So Cherry will conclude: “Does Trudeau deserve a suspension for that elbow? No, the two minute minor was more than enough. But lemme tell you, from now on the refs will be watching Mulcair, and I’m disappointed by Brosseau. She’s been a promising call-up, but I don’t know about this. And Gord Brown, my buddy? I don’t know what got into his head.”
Here’s a video analysis of the incident:
The Beaverton has a great take on this, but I think their site has gone down because of the traffic. Try shortening the link until it works:
I predicted CBC’s Don Cherry would do an analysis of this film. Turned out it was retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser for MacLean’s Magazine. It’s pretty good, worth enduring the commercials: