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Physical altercation in Parliament: Canada’s Trudeau apologizes

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 11:28 GMT, May 19, 2016 |
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized in Parliament on Wednesday (May 18) after he rushed across the floor to hurry one legislator to his seat, was accused of elbowing another in the chest and got into a shouting match with an opposition leader.

The incident was an unusual outburst in the normally staid Canadian parliament and a rare loss of control by the telegenic Trudeau, 44, who has enjoyed high ratings in the polls and international fame.

Video showed the Liberal leader marching across to the opposition during a procedural vote and leading the opposition whip away from a group of other legislators.

MPs were about to vote on a time allocation for bill C-14, government legislation on physician-assisted dying, according to the CBC. Trudeau said he felt the lawmaker was being impeded from taking his seat to vote, holding up proceedings.

A New Democratic Party (NDP) lawmaker said Trudeau elbowed her in the chest during the altercation. The prime minister briefly returned to his seat before crossing over again and was seen in a heated exchange with NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

“I admit I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm to (the Conservative legislator), including someone behind me who I did not see,” Trudeau said after the incident.

“I certainly did not intend to offend or impact on anyone. I was simply concerned that unfortunately the decorum of this place has been impeded by the kind of preventing of the work that the whips are doing. If anyone fees that they were impacted by my actions, I completely apologize. It was not my intention to hurt anyone, it certainly wasn’t. It was my intention to get this vote done.”