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Canada PM Trudeau apologizes for elbowing female opposition lawmaker

The incident happened in the House of Commons during discussions for a physician-assisted suicide law.

Video of the incident showed Trudeau striding across the chamber toward a group of lawmakers standing on the floor and grabbing opposition whip Gord Brown by the arm, apparently to lead him to his seat so a vote on the measure could be held.

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As he grabbed Brown’s arm, Trudeau struck MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau of the New Democratic Party and caused her to stumble backwards.



She said later she had been “elbowed in the chest by the prime minister.”

NDP leader Tom Mulcair confronted Trudeau, pointing his finger at the prime minister while shouting, “You’re pathetic.”

In this Thursday, May 28, 2015 file photo, Ruth Ellen Brosseau asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario. Opposition lawmaker Ruth Ellen Brosseau said she was elbowed in the chest and had to leave the House of Commons chamber Wednesday after feeling overwhelmed. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized "unreservedly" for making physical contact with a female opposition member of Parliament who said Trudeau elbowed her in the chest as he waded through a group of mostly opposition lawmakers. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Some lawmakers then flooded the floor, while other stood at their desks, watching the heated exchange.

Trudeau later apologized.

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“I came in physical contact with a number of members as I extended my arm. I did not intend to offend or impact on anyone,” he said, adding that he apologized “unreservedly.”

The unusual scene in the Canadian parliament played out as the government works on legislation to permit consenting adults with serious health problems to end their suffering with assisted suicide.



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