DRESCHEL: PM Justin Trudeau ‘looked out of control’

Opinion May 20, 2016 by Andrew Dreschel The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton MP Dave Christopherson was right in the thick of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial resort to physical force in the House of Commons.

And the veteran New Democrat was appalled by both Trudeau's behaviour and demeanour.

"He was angry. It sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but I got to tell you he looked like he was out of control."

"I remember thinking afterwards, 'Thank goodness, we don't have a nuclear button.'"

Christopherson says he was among a clutch of MPs jokingly blocking Conservative MP Gord Brown Wednesday from passing in order to stall procedure when he saw Trudeau come out of his seat, "gaining speed" as he crossed the floor.

"He came over and pretty much pushed people aside and reached in and grabbed Gord Brown by the arm and started pulling him down the aisle."

The next thing Christopherson knew Trudeau was back, presumably looking for NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau to apologize for inadvertently elbowing her.

That's when Christopherson intervened in the shouting match between Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

"They were going at it pretty good, to the point where I actually did something most Hamiltonians know how to do from family weddings and bars, and that's getting in between what could be a physical altercation."

If Trudeau thought he was rescuing Brown, Christopherson says he completely misread their grinning "kabuki performance."

Even though Trudeau has apologized and accepted he was wrong, that doesn't change the fact that it happened, says Christopherson.

He says the prime minister demonstrated poor judgment and total lack of situational awareness.

"And a complete abdication of all sense of right or wrong that he could think that reaching out and grabbing another member in any circumstances for any reason is acceptable."

Though some on social media are mocking the incident, doubtless many Hamiltonians won't be so quick to laugh it off.

As a community, we've been here and debated this kind of stuff before.

The Trudeau episode is no different than the 2014 incident at city hall in which Coun. Lloyd Ferguson lost his cool and angrily grabbed and pushed independent journalist Joey Coleman.

The fallout from that affair lasted almost two years. It involved an apology, a $1,000 self-imposed charitable donation by the Ancaster councillor, an integrity report, an OPP assault investigation that resulted in no charges, a documentary, and a war of words played out in mainstream and social media.

Among other things, Ferguson's behaviour was described as bullying, violent, abusive and completely unacceptable.

Surely those tags apply equally to Trudeau, with the additional disgrace that his unseemly rough handling of opposition MPs took place on a national rather than local stage.

Anyone who denounced Ferguson's behaviour — bearing in mind he had his defenders and apologists — must condemn Trudeau's. Not to do so suggests a troubling tolerance for strong-arm misconduct and/or unprincipled political partisanship.

To be fair, as the video of the incident shows, the elbowing does appear to be accidental. But the fact remains it wouldn't have happened if Trudeau hadn't manhandled Brown.

As an act of physical violence, Trudeau's actions are certainly on the low side of the use of force scale, as were Ferguson's.

But it's a fundamental truth of a civilized society that you do not lay hands on someone in order to get your way. The recourse to physical force in a non-threatening setting is the way of the brute, the triumph of instinct over reason.

If it was disturbing to see it in a city councillor, it's even more so to see it in the prime minister.

No doubt Trudeau's apology is as sincere as Ferguson's. But it's also now a permanent part of his political docket. It appears Canada's oh so cool prime minister has a hot-tempered septic side as well.

Andrew Dreschel’s commentary appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. adreschel@thespec.com 905-526-3495 @AndrewDreschel

DRESCHEL: PM Justin Trudeau ‘looked out of control’

Opinion May 20, 2016 by Andrew Dreschel The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton MP Dave Christopherson was right in the thick of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial resort to physical force in the House of Commons.

And the veteran New Democrat was appalled by both Trudeau's behaviour and demeanour.

"He was angry. It sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but I got to tell you he looked like he was out of control."

"I remember thinking afterwards, 'Thank goodness, we don't have a nuclear button.'"

Christopherson says he was among a clutch of MPs jokingly blocking Conservative MP Gord Brown Wednesday from passing in order to stall procedure when he saw Trudeau come out of his seat, "gaining speed" as he crossed the floor.

"He came over and pretty much pushed people aside and reached in and grabbed Gord Brown by the arm and started pulling him down the aisle."

The next thing Christopherson knew Trudeau was back, presumably looking for NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau to apologize for inadvertently elbowing her.

That's when Christopherson intervened in the shouting match between Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

"They were going at it pretty good, to the point where I actually did something most Hamiltonians know how to do from family weddings and bars, and that's getting in between what could be a physical altercation."

If Trudeau thought he was rescuing Brown, Christopherson says he completely misread their grinning "kabuki performance."

Even though Trudeau has apologized and accepted he was wrong, that doesn't change the fact that it happened, says Christopherson.

He says the prime minister demonstrated poor judgment and total lack of situational awareness.

"And a complete abdication of all sense of right or wrong that he could think that reaching out and grabbing another member in any circumstances for any reason is acceptable."

Though some on social media are mocking the incident, doubtless many Hamiltonians won't be so quick to laugh it off.

As a community, we've been here and debated this kind of stuff before.

The Trudeau episode is no different than the 2014 incident at city hall in which Coun. Lloyd Ferguson lost his cool and angrily grabbed and pushed independent journalist Joey Coleman.

The fallout from that affair lasted almost two years. It involved an apology, a $1,000 self-imposed charitable donation by the Ancaster councillor, an integrity report, an OPP assault investigation that resulted in no charges, a documentary, and a war of words played out in mainstream and social media.

Among other things, Ferguson's behaviour was described as bullying, violent, abusive and completely unacceptable.

Surely those tags apply equally to Trudeau, with the additional disgrace that his unseemly rough handling of opposition MPs took place on a national rather than local stage.

Anyone who denounced Ferguson's behaviour — bearing in mind he had his defenders and apologists — must condemn Trudeau's. Not to do so suggests a troubling tolerance for strong-arm misconduct and/or unprincipled political partisanship.

To be fair, as the video of the incident shows, the elbowing does appear to be accidental. But the fact remains it wouldn't have happened if Trudeau hadn't manhandled Brown.

As an act of physical violence, Trudeau's actions are certainly on the low side of the use of force scale, as were Ferguson's.

But it's a fundamental truth of a civilized society that you do not lay hands on someone in order to get your way. The recourse to physical force in a non-threatening setting is the way of the brute, the triumph of instinct over reason.

If it was disturbing to see it in a city councillor, it's even more so to see it in the prime minister.

No doubt Trudeau's apology is as sincere as Ferguson's. But it's also now a permanent part of his political docket. It appears Canada's oh so cool prime minister has a hot-tempered septic side as well.

Andrew Dreschel’s commentary appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. adreschel@thespec.com 905-526-3495 @AndrewDreschel

DRESCHEL: PM Justin Trudeau ‘looked out of control’

Opinion May 20, 2016 by Andrew Dreschel The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton MP Dave Christopherson was right in the thick of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial resort to physical force in the House of Commons.

And the veteran New Democrat was appalled by both Trudeau's behaviour and demeanour.

"He was angry. It sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but I got to tell you he looked like he was out of control."

"I remember thinking afterwards, 'Thank goodness, we don't have a nuclear button.'"

Christopherson says he was among a clutch of MPs jokingly blocking Conservative MP Gord Brown Wednesday from passing in order to stall procedure when he saw Trudeau come out of his seat, "gaining speed" as he crossed the floor.

"He came over and pretty much pushed people aside and reached in and grabbed Gord Brown by the arm and started pulling him down the aisle."

The next thing Christopherson knew Trudeau was back, presumably looking for NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau to apologize for inadvertently elbowing her.

That's when Christopherson intervened in the shouting match between Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

"They were going at it pretty good, to the point where I actually did something most Hamiltonians know how to do from family weddings and bars, and that's getting in between what could be a physical altercation."

If Trudeau thought he was rescuing Brown, Christopherson says he completely misread their grinning "kabuki performance."

Even though Trudeau has apologized and accepted he was wrong, that doesn't change the fact that it happened, says Christopherson.

He says the prime minister demonstrated poor judgment and total lack of situational awareness.

"And a complete abdication of all sense of right or wrong that he could think that reaching out and grabbing another member in any circumstances for any reason is acceptable."

Though some on social media are mocking the incident, doubtless many Hamiltonians won't be so quick to laugh it off.

As a community, we've been here and debated this kind of stuff before.

The Trudeau episode is no different than the 2014 incident at city hall in which Coun. Lloyd Ferguson lost his cool and angrily grabbed and pushed independent journalist Joey Coleman.

The fallout from that affair lasted almost two years. It involved an apology, a $1,000 self-imposed charitable donation by the Ancaster councillor, an integrity report, an OPP assault investigation that resulted in no charges, a documentary, and a war of words played out in mainstream and social media.

Among other things, Ferguson's behaviour was described as bullying, violent, abusive and completely unacceptable.

Surely those tags apply equally to Trudeau, with the additional disgrace that his unseemly rough handling of opposition MPs took place on a national rather than local stage.

Anyone who denounced Ferguson's behaviour — bearing in mind he had his defenders and apologists — must condemn Trudeau's. Not to do so suggests a troubling tolerance for strong-arm misconduct and/or unprincipled political partisanship.

To be fair, as the video of the incident shows, the elbowing does appear to be accidental. But the fact remains it wouldn't have happened if Trudeau hadn't manhandled Brown.

As an act of physical violence, Trudeau's actions are certainly on the low side of the use of force scale, as were Ferguson's.

But it's a fundamental truth of a civilized society that you do not lay hands on someone in order to get your way. The recourse to physical force in a non-threatening setting is the way of the brute, the triumph of instinct over reason.

If it was disturbing to see it in a city councillor, it's even more so to see it in the prime minister.

No doubt Trudeau's apology is as sincere as Ferguson's. But it's also now a permanent part of his political docket. It appears Canada's oh so cool prime minister has a hot-tempered septic side as well.

Andrew Dreschel’s commentary appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. adreschel@thespec.com 905-526-3495 @AndrewDreschel