Mulcair apologizes for running stop signs on Parliament Hill
Published Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:31PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2013 9:51PM EDT
Thomas Mulcair was involved in a security breach on Parliament Hill Thursday morning when he failed to stop at an RCMP screening facility and blasted through a number of stop signs.
The NDP leader reportedly only waved at security staff as he drove through the open gates. He then drove through at least six stop signs on the parliamentary grounds, even as an RCMP vehicle pursued his car with its lights on.
Mulcair did not pull over until he reached his parking space behind Centre Block.
When the RCMP officer got out of his vehicle to ask Mulcair why he hadn't stopped, the NDP leader reportedly answered: “Don’t you know who I am?” and told the officer he was going to be “in a lot of trouble.”
Mulcair’s office said in a statement Thursday that the Opposition leader went through the security check in the manner he always does. They say there was someone new at the front gate who didn’t recognize Mulcair and that’s why the RCMP vehicle was called in to pursue Mulcair’s car.
It’s not clear why Mulcair didn’t stop at the stop signs on the grounds.
Mulcair’s office said he has since apologized to the officer at the gates.
“Once notified of the misunderstanding, (Mulcair) had a very respectful discussion with an officer. He then immediately went down to clear up the misunderstanding with the commanding officer,” the party said in a statement. "No warnings or citations of any kind were issued to Mr. Mulcair. The matter was settled immediately and cordially."
Tories make light of security breach
The matter elicited jeers and attacks from Conservative MPs on Thursday during daily question period, which Mulcair did not attend.
Some Tory MPs showed up to the House of Commons carrying flyers of red stop signs, emblazoned with the word “Stop Mulcair,”while Heritage Minister James Moore chided the NDP leader’s absence.
“If the NDP want to be so self-righteous as they are every day about following the rules respecting the law and demonstrating leadership by example, it would be great if the leader of the NDP would actually show up,” said Moore. “We know he’s on the Hill.”
Moore’s comments came as opposition parties continued to hammer the government over the ongoing Senate scandal, including questions about the $90,000 cheque Nigel Wright gave Senator Mike Duffy.
Still, it did not stop Moore from making light at Mulcair’s expense.
“I had been wondering for a while why it is the NDP opposed our street-racing bill,” he said, prompting laughter. “I guess now we have the answer.”
Moore’s comments also prompted warnings from House Speaker Andrew Scheer, who said pointing out a member’s presence or absence in the House is unparliamentary behaviour.
In 2010 Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, who was parliamentary secretary to the prime minister at the time, was involved in a similar security breach.
After growing impatient at the security gate, Poilievre pushed a button to give himself access to Parliament Hill.
“I’ve accepted responsibility. I’ve told the security folks here that I apologized to them,” Polievre said at the time.