Disturbance in the House

The benches empty as Peter Van Loan crosses the aisle

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Ralph Goodale reports on some kind of confrontation in the House following a vote this afternoon.

Altercation on floor of HofC – DefMin MacKay has to pull his HouseLeader + another ConsMin out of silly scrap with Mulcair+ Dippers….

Lots of talk and gestures. Nose to nose, but no apparent direct contact.

Right after vote, Cons House Leader crossed floor to confront NDP leadership group. Tempers clearly flared.

CTV has the House video that shows Peter Van Loan and Gary Goodyear on the NDP side of the House.

Update 5:13pm. There was maybe a middle finger involved?

Update 5:27pm. A little bit of background is apparently necessary. After Question Period, Nathan Cullen rose on a point of order to argue that the final vote on C-45 last night was out of order because the person moving for the vote, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, was not in his seat when the motion was brought forward. After submissions from all sides on this, the Speaker promised to get back to the House and the House proceeded to a separate vote. After that vote, the Speaker ruled that the final vote last night was in order. It is apparently after that ruling, as MPs were milling about, that, at least according to the New Democrats, Peter Van Loan crossed the aisle and complained to Mr. Cullen about Mr. Cullen’s point of order. Mr. Mulcair seems to have objected to Mr. Van Loan’s treatment of Mr. Cullen and, in the ensuing discussion, cross words seem to have been exchanged.

Update 5:58pm. Oddly enough, this confrontation was preceded by a notably civil moment between Mr. Mulcair and the Prime Minister. Immediately after Mr. Cullen’s point of order, as MPs were being called in for the subsequent vote, the NDP leader crossed the aisle and sat down beside Mr. Harper. The two chatted apparently amicably for a few minutes, Mr. Mulcair even laughing at something Mr. Harper said. The two parted company with a handshake.

Update 6:16pm. C-45 has just now passed a vote at third and is off to the Senate.

Update 6:31pm. Here is CBC’s version of the House video: it’s a bit longer than the CTV cut and in it you can see Mr. Van Loan walk across the aisle immediately after Speaker Scheer finished delivering his ruling.

Update 6:55pm. Here is video of Mr. Cullen’s interview with CTV. Via Twitter, Scott Brison offers his colour commentary.

Mulcair has a temper, but Van Loan would have turned Gandhi into a cold blooded killer.

Update 8:00pm. Peter MacKay tweets his version of events.

Whoa – Angry Tom at it again! NDP snaps at Van Loan for standing up for Canada’s economic recovery

Here is Mr. Cullen’s interview with the CBC.

Update 8:25pm. A statement from Peter Van Loan.

We are disappointed that the NDP has attempted to obstruct the passage of the important job creating measures in the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.

Today, I conveyed my disappointment to the NDP House Leader for the hypocrisy of his complaint which related to a mistake by a member of his own caucus last night.

It is normal for me to speak with the opposition House Leaders. I was however surprised how Mr. Mulcair snapped and lost his temper.

The reference to “a mistake by a member of his own caucus” is apparently a reference to the fact that Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin was in the Speaker’s chair when the vote in question was called last night.

Update 9:38pm. The Canadian Press talks to Mr. Cullen.

For his part, Cullen wouldn’t specify precisely what was said but indicated that Van Loan used “a lot of real bad language, threatening language.” “It was inappropriate and then Tom said, ‘Don’t threaten my House leader,’ and that’s when we all sort of stood up to make sure it didn’t go any further,” Cullen said in an interview. “You’ve got to get him away because nothing good happens if he stays there talking that way.”

Cullen said Mulcair’s intervention was aimed at making Van Loan back off. “For the Conservatives to try to spin his out that somehow (Van Loan) was the victim, I mean, give me a break … That’s ridiculous.”

Update 10:51pm. Mr. Cullen tweets at Mr. MacKay.

Check the video @MinPeterMacKay to see who came after whom. But we all need to work on raising decorum, I hope you agree with that, at least

Update 10:56pm. Elizabeth May chimes in.

@nathancullen @MinPeterMacKay @kady Just watched the altercation on video. Seems clear that Peter Van Loan is a sore winner.

Update Thursday. For the sake of comparison, a brief history of recent commotions is here. Morning-after interviews with Mr. Van Loan and Mr. Cullen are here. And this morning’s points of order on the matter are here.