Pandemonium in Parliament: A history of confrontations in the House of Commons
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, May 19, 2016 7:16AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 19, 2016 9:45AM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's alleged elbowing of an opposition politician has garnered headlines across the globe, but it's not the first time things have become heated on the Hill.
The House of Commons is known for its combative atmosphere and its history of trash-talking between opposing politicians.
Back in December, Speaker of the House Geoff Regan told CTV's Question Period that he was hoping to bring more respect and less heckling to procedures.
"Every party has a responsibility of presenting an alternative and it is an adversarial process," said Regan. "It shouldn’t be like a boys' club. It should be a place of respectful debate."
Trudeau showed four years ago that he wasn't shy about using salty language.
In 2011, during a debate about the Kyoto Accord, he called then-Environment Minister Peter Kent a "piece of sh**" while Kent was criticizing an NDP MP for not attending climate change talks in Durban, South Africa.
"I lost my temper and used language that was most decidedly unparliamentary and for that I unreservedly apologize and withdraw my remarks," Trudeau said after the fact.
However, this confrontation comes just two weeks ago Trudeau was accused of "childish behaviour" by Conservative MP Blake Richards, after the prime minister was said to have stuck out his tongue while a MP was speaking.
Physical confrontations between MPs are a rare occurrence, although there have been some close calls.
"I hear the word 'racist' from that side," Reform MP Darrel Stinson told a Liberal MP in 1997. "Do you have the fortitude or the gonads to stand up and come across and say that to me you son of a b****, come on!"
Taunts and insults across the aisles are much more commonplace.
The prime minister’s father Pierre Elliott Trudeau is alleged to have mouthed some salty language at Conservative MP in the House in 1971. However, in a media scrum afterwards the elder Trudeau insisted he had said "fuddle duddle" instead.
The incident was just one incident in a long history of heckling across the Commons aisle.
Former Conservative party Justice Minister John Crosbie took exception to Sheila Copps speaking while he was addressing the Speaker of the House in June 1985, telling her to "just quiet down, baby."
"I'm not his baby and I'm nobody's baby," she shouted back.
Copps would later find herself again in the midst of another nasty back-and-forth, alleging that former Conservative MP Bill Kempling called her a "slut" in 1991. Kempling claimed that what he had said was, "What a pain in the butt."
Reform MP Deborah Grey was in the midst of criticizing changes to the Canadian Pension Plan in 1997 when Liberal Defence Minister Doug Young responded: "I’ll tell you what. There’s more than a slab of bacon talking there," he said.
In December 2012, Conservative MP Peter Van Loan was accused of giving the middle finger and using "unparliamentary" language towards NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and MP Nathan Cullen.
Van Loan, who was serving as government House leader at the time, said Mulcair was the one who “totally snapped” at him when he approached Cullen to express his frustration over what he called a “delay tactic by the NDP” on a budget bill vote.
At the time Van Loan denied giving the middle finger to the opposition, but he did admit, however, to using “a colourful word” during the exchange and apologized. Cullen and Van Loan said at the time they planned to discuss the incident face-to-face.
This latest incident has been broadcast around the world, with outlets across Europe and Asia – who have written about Trudeau's popularity among younger voters - writing about the episode.
The circumstance might have elicited jeers throughout the House, but there were some who found the scene funny.
In one shot, former prime minister Stephen Harper can be seen leaning forward to view the situation and appearing to find it somewhat amusing.
An all-party committee is now set to examine this latest incident involving Trudeau.
With a report from CTV News' Parliament Hill correspondent Glen McGregor