Prime Minister Trudeau:
“A Political “Up-Stander” Rather Than a “By-Stander”
It was interesting to watch the debate surrounding Bill C-14 on CPAC today, who would have thought I would witness the Prime Minister of Canada exit his seat in parliament, walk over to a group of NDP members who appeared to be speaking with Conservative Whip Gordon Brown. I then watched The Prime Minister walk over and grab Brown by his arm, pull him out of the group and in the process, appeared to elbow NDP member Ruth-Ellen Brosseau in the chest region. With in minutes of this incident taking place, Brosseau walks out of House, and the Prime Minister is seen to once again leave his seat and walk towards the exit that Brosseau left by. The Prime Minister then attempts to return to his seat, at which time he is confronted by several members of the NDP, where a yelling match then appears to take place, resulting in a large number of members from all parties to exit their seats, and head towards this incident.
At first glance, it is easy to believe that the Prime Minister lost his cool and forcefully placed his hands on Gordon Brown, and then in the process physically elbowed Ruth-Ellen Brosseau, who then needed to leave the House in severe discomfort. It was no wonder that the NDP and the Conservatives were quick to take political advantage of this incident; hell if I was a politician looking for political advantage over my opposition, I would probably do the same thing.
One thing I learned in 29yrs of policing however, is that an incident caught by the naked eye, can often be quite different from the reality of what actually took place. This is one reason why video has become such an important investigative tool. In this case I have now seen two different camera view points of this incident, which I have now been able to watch and slow down at least 50 times, and here’s what I have learned:
- it is clear in the video that 5 members of the NDP, including its leader were “willfully” and “purposely” physically blocking Gordon Brown in his attempt to return back to his seat to vote on C-14. In fact when you watch the video, if Brown moved left, the 5 NDP members, including Brosseau, would move left. If Brown moved right, the NDP members would then move right as a group
This is apparently a stall tactic that although not allowed in the House, those in parliament have become “willfully blind” to.
- During the “willful” blocking of Gordon Brown, the Speaker of The House, and his staff, are not able to prevent or bring the members who are conducting this prohibited action to order.
- The Prime Minister next proceeds to exit his bench, walks over to the group who are blocking Brown, reaches in with his left arm and grabs Brown by his right arm and pulls him through what can only be called a NDP blockade. It was at this time that the Prime Minister’s elbow, as he is pulling Brown out of the crowd, is seen to “accidentally” make contact with Brosseau’s chest, knocking her back slightly.
- As the Prime Minister escorts Brown back to his bench, so that the vote can take place, he releases Brown and pats him on his left shoulder. Members of both the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party are then seen to stand-up and applaud the Prime Minister’s actions.
- As this is taking place, you can see several members of the NDP who were blocking Brown laughing, as they watch both the Prime Minister and Brown return to their seats.
- It is at this time that you also see Mulcair speaking to Brosseau who is pointing at her chest.
- Both Brosseau and Mulcair return to their seats where they continue to speak with one another. Brosseau after having this conversation with Mulcair, then proceeds to leave the house as she pulls a cellphone from her right sweater pocket.
- The Prime Minister once again leaves his seat and attempts to walk over toward Brosseau, but fails to intercept her before she exits chambers.
- The Prime Minister then attempts to return back to his seat, but was then confronted by Mulcair who had now changed from his earlier laughing and jovial behaviour, to one of being antagonistic and was now yelling and screaming at the Prime Minister.
- It was at this time, that several members of all parties exited their seats and headed towards this confrontation.
As a retired law enforcement professional, with over 29 years of investigating incidents such as this, it will be interesting to read and learn about witness statements to this event. Even Elizabeth May who had a front row view of this incident stated in the media today, specific to the NDP’s actions, “There was some mischief,” she said. “There was some mischief on the floor.”
Given that several members of parliament have labeled the Prime Minister’s behaviour as “bullying” and “aggressive”, I think it is important for the reader to know that I travel and speak internationally on Social Media Safety and Anti-Bullying. Specific to peer aggression, I speak about the research supporting the fact that when a by-stander intervenes in a targeted situation, the peer aggression usually stops. This is why we are teaching students in schools to become “up-standers” rather than “by-standers”
I’m sorry, but the behaviour that was being exhibited by the NDP members involved in the blockade of Brown was not only prohibited in the House, it was also inappropriate peer aggressive behaviour, something that we adults are very quick to criticize when youth are seen to do the same thing. In fact, the way this group laughed and just shrugged off their behavior is actually what we see taking place by those “bullies” who target youth in schools.
The House Speaker and his staff are responsible to ensure the decorum of parliament http://www.parl.gc.ca/marleaumontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?Sec=Ch13&Seq=7&Language=E In this case the Speaker had lost control ,and was clearly being ignored by the NDP blockade. In fact, later in the video you can see, and hear, the Speaker advising members who were recording the incident on their cellphones, that their recording were in complete violation of the rules. These members too ignored the Speaker, and continued to record the incident.
It was at this time that the Prime Minister clearly refused to continue to be a “by-stander” to the NDP’s prohibited actions, and took action as the leader of our country, because the Speaker could not !!! Our Prime Minister became the “up-stander” that we want students to become when dealing with these types of situations.
The Prime Minister walked over to this group with a clear force presence, to ensure that they all knew he meant business, and pulled Brown through this blockade and escorted him back to his seat.
Now, was Brosseau accidentally struck in the process, YES. Was their any intent on the Prime Minister’s part to do so, clearly NO. The reader can not forget however, that Brosseau was a “party to the offence” in the NDP blockade of Brown and thus purposely placed herself in harms way. In other words if she wasn’t participating in the prohibited blockade, she would never have been accidentally struck. Even though Brosseau was a party to the offence, the Prime Minister still apologized for accidentally striking Brosseau.
The media scrums that took place and were broadcast live on TV with members of the NDP were deplorable. It was clear they were allowing politics to cloud the truth. Shame, especially given that I voted for your party in the last election. I believe that once the reader has time to watch the video(s) of this incident, you will all agree with my findings.
I have no dog in this fight, other than to ensure that the truth prevails!!! We have seen a steady slide in the House of Commons where members continually disregard the authority and orders given by the Speaker. It was only a matter of time before someone else decided to take charge. What happened today, which was spawned by the NDP, makes my job teaching Anti-bullying behaviour that much harder. Having said this, the Prime Minister proved that becoming an “up-stander” in the face of peer aggression works. THANK YOU Mr Prime Minister, you showed initiative and leadership and you have earned my vote next election !!!!!