Canadian Liberal Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau apologized to Parliament yesterday after calling a Conservative government minister a “piece of shit.”
Trudeau, son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, yelled the insult across the House of Commons floor to Conservative Environment Minister Peter Kent on Wednesday.
Watch the video of Trudeau’s parliamentary outburst:
The Papineau, Quebec, MP was furious after Kent criticized NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie for missing a UN environmental conference in Durban, South Africa. He says his frustration came from the Tory government blocking Leslie and other potential delegates from attending. He said Canada “is not being well represented by this current minister of the environment and this government.”
There have been predictable criticisms of the declining level of civil discourse in the Commons. But if Justin Trudeau’s bad language overshadows the things that really matter in this story, the people and politics of Canada will lose out. The bigger issue is why the Conservative government continues to show such contempt to parliament.
As interim Liberal leader Bob Rae rightly said earlier this week, under PM Stephen Harper, the Conservative Government has trampled over parliamentary procedure time and again to push through its agenda. In their last term, the Conservatives became the first government in Canadian history to be found in contempt of parliament.
Justin Trudeau’s swearing might be contemptuous. But fussing over standards of civility in the Commons is a smokescreen in a time when Canadians should do all they can to hold the government to account for its far greater offences.