Mr. Speaker, thank you so much for the honour to rise today and speak to the incident that happened yesterday.
For years I worked toward my dream of becoming a member of Parliament because I knew it was an opportunity for me to at least try to change people's lives and have an impact on our country. I hold the House in high regard. I hold all members of the House in high regard.
Indeed, in my very first speech in the House, I offered that I was looking forward to working collaboratively with members from all sides of the House. I offered my hand even at that time that while I may hold their feet to the fire during debate in times of seriousness and when we need to, that I also would offer my hand across the way when they needed help in terms of personal struggles. Indeed, yesterday it was great to see our colleague from Scarborough—Agincourt in the House. I know that he is fighting his own battles. It was great to see him here this week.
I have been sitting in the House for only a few short months and I will be very honest in terms of the respect and disrespect that we have seen across the way by the Prime Minister over the last six months. I will also be honest that he has afforded me time outside of the House when I have constituents who want to meet with him. He has been very respectful and he has offered us a considerable amount of his time. I know his schedule is hectic. But frankly, I was embarrassed and ashamed to have been witness to the conduct of our Prime Minister yesterday. His behaviour was appalling, unacceptable, and shocking. For anyone to angrily stride across the floor like that, elbowing another colleague, is deplorable. That is what we are talking about today.
On this side we have witnessed his actions over the last six months. When our colleague from Alberta was talking about a constituent who was losing her family's house because they were out of work and she was near tears while she was relaying this question, I witnessed the Prime Minister smiling and laughing. We have witnessed the Prime Minister sticking his tongue out at members of the opposition. We have witnessed him saying snide remarks about members of the opposition.
There are times for jabs. There are times for partisan jabs back and forth and we have all been part and parcel of that. But our Prime Minister should be held to a higher account. The conduct is unbecoming of someone holding that office.
Yesterday, when our Prime Minister angrily charged across the floor, he shouted swear words. He was using language unbecoming of the House. I heard it, but I also saw members from both sides engage in some heated discussion. I saw members come across the floor and I, too, tried to break it up and make sure that none of us did something that we would regret later on.
However, we are talking about the Prime Minister today and the actions that are unbecoming of a prime minister.
I am a small business owner and if I had seen any of my employees do the exact same thing, they would have been fired on the spot. We talk about workplace violence. We talk about domestic violence. We see our Prime Minister who is angered and definitely striding across the floor to show us who is boss, to assert his authority. It is unacceptable.
Parliament should be the pinnacle of democracy. We as members of Parliament should be held to a higher standard and we are. Leadership starts from the top. That seat sets the tone for all, not just on his side, but also on our side. That seat sets the tone for all parliamentarians.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister showed a complete and utter disregard for the institution and for all Canadians with his actions and behaviour. Throughout the day we heard shouts from the other side that the opposition was irrelevant. Then there is Motion No. 6, which is unacceptable. Again, it is just part and parcel of the actions of the Prime Minister who has authority now and he is going to show us who is boss. He is going to show Canada who is boss.
Right now, outside these doors, there are school tours going on, and there were school tours here yesterday. How was yesterday's incident an example for these schoolkids, these kids who are coming here to watch what we do? Does he say it is okay to conduct himself in that manner? Then he stands to make more excuses for it.
The offender never intends to hurt somebody, a drunk driver never intends to kill people, but the fact of the matter is the offence happened. How can we leave the next generation in a better position to succeed in the future if the Prime Minister himself, who has the ability to inspire so much change and indeed campaigned on real change cannot even respect his own colleagues?
It is not for us to determine the intent of the Prime Minister's actions. Only he truly knows what the intent of his actions was. However, offering excuses for the offender, which is what we saw afterwards, minimizing the impact on our colleague from the NDP, minimizing it, and then when our colleague from the NDP composed herself and managed to come into the House and talk about the impact, we saw eyes rolling and laughs from the other side, minimizing it.
That is a problem not just in this House but outside in society: turning a blind eye and making excuses for what happened. We all should be doing what we can to stop this kind of behaviour, and not make excuses for the offender about why it happened, that he is such a nice guy and did not mean to do it.
The excuses we heard earlier are typical. If this were a domestic abuse case and the abuser, the offender stood up and said, “I did not mean to do it; I did not know what I was doing; I did not mean to hurt the person”, it would be unacceptable.
I just do not understand it. I was shocked and appalled. This is not a playground, nor is it a baseball game or a hockey game. I think I speak for all members when I say that this is not the legacy that we want to leave. This is not the legacy that any of us came here to leave.
Even more disappointing was that when the discussion and debate started, the Prime Minister chose to leave and not hear how his actions impacted us, as if that discussion was not worthy of his time. It is unacceptable. I mentioned it earlier in this debate. If he truly meant what he said and was apologizing, he would be here listening right from the start about how that impacted us.
It is a privilege to sit as Prime Minister. Canadians elected a Prime Minister to what is arguably the most powerful position in this country. He ran an entire campaign on change. This is not change. In fact, it is the opposite. People praise democracy around the world because it allows people to have a voice, and they expect their members of Parliament to carry their voices forward on their behalf, not carry the voice of Ottawa to their ridings, but carry the voices of their ridings here.
A majority government, or any number of seats of this House, does not give the right to stifle debate. It does not give anyone the authority to manhandle other parliamentarians. It does not give anyone the right to stifle members because one's ego is bruised. It certainly does not give anyone the right to be aggressive and attack another member of Parliament, either verbally or physically.
This House belongs to the people, not us, not me, and most certainly not the Prime Minister. Motion No. 6, closure, asserting his authority, all that we have seen over the last six months, sticking his tongue out, childish behaviour, perhaps a Prime Minister, a member of Parliament who just was not ready.
I ask one final thing, and I am speaking as a father and a husband, and I know the Prime Minister is a husband and a father as well. If this happened to any of his kids or his wife, how would he react?