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Poilievre allowed back in House of Commons after getting kicked out Tuesday

Click to play video: 'Why did Pierre Poilievre get kicked out of question period?'
Why did Pierre Poilievre get kicked out of question period?
History was made in the House of Commons after Speaker Greg Fergus expelled Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre for refusing to withdraw a statement calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a "wacko." David Akin looks at how the Tories are doubling down instead of backing down; how that remark compares to other tense moments in previous Parliaments; and whether Fergus can restore order to the House – Apr 30, 2024

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre returned House of Commons on Wednesday for question period after Speaker Greg Fergus had kicked him out for refusing to withdraw comments calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “wacko.”

Speaker’s office spokesperson Mathieu Gravel says that under the standing orders of the House of Commons, Poilievre is allowed to return Wednesday without having to apologize for not retracting unparliamentary language.

The tone in the chamber was much more subdued in Wednesday’s question period, with the Conservative benches remaining silent outside of Poilievre asking Trudeau questions, which focused on the B.C. government asking to recriminalize public use of drugs including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

“The decision is on his desk to reverse the legalization of hard drugs in British Columbia. The B.C. government has admitted that it was wrong. They decided not to go ahead with the full three-year pilot project that the prime minister brought in place by exempting hard drugs from criminal law. Will he do as the B.C. government has done? Admit he was wrong today so we can start saving lives?” Poilievre asked.

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“Mr. Speaker, from the beginning, we’ve been there to work on an evidence based, science based, compassionate public health approach to the opioid epidemic. And that included responding to B.C.’s request for a pilot program. Now that they are asking to adjust this pilot program, we will work with them to adjust it in ways that make sense for them,” Trudeau responded.

“But given the new, more reasonable tone of the leader of the opposition, I wonder if he might take this opportunity to reassure Canadians that he does not support extremist, white nationalist organizations like Diagalon, nor wants their votes.”

“Mr. Speaker that is false,” Poilievre replied before repeating his drug question.

At times in his questioning, Poilievre referred to decriminalization as legalization of hard drugs and said Trudeau imposed this policy on B.C. Some Liberal MPs began to shout “false” across the aisle, but Trudeau, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, House Leader Steve MacKinnon and whip Ruby Sahota signaled that they quiet down.

What got Poilievre kicked out?

On Tuesday, Fergus kicked Poilievre out for refusing to withdraw the term “wacko” from his comments when he used it to described Trudeau.

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While the term “wacko” has been used in the past to describe policy, Fergus interjected when Poilievre asked, “When will we put an end to this wacko policy by this wacko prime minister?”

Under the rules of the House of Commons, it is fine to use the term when describing something like policy, but MPs are not allowed to use disparaging remarks directed at another member in anything that could be considered a “personal attack” or “derogatory.”

Fergus asked Poilievre to withdraw the comment four times on Tuesday… and the rest is the same

Click to play video: 'Poilievre kicked out of parliament for calling Trudeau a ‘wacko’'
Poilievre kicked out of parliament for calling Trudeau a ‘wacko’

Now, questions are turning to Fergus and whether Conservatives will push to have him resign.

Nova Scotia Conservative MP Rick Perkins says he’s going into question period with no confidence in the Speaker.

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“He should have resigned months ago after he lost the confidence of the two real opposition parties, the Bloc and us. He lost the confidence of the opposition months ago. He certainly lost it yesterday,” Perkins said Wednesday.

Fergus faced calls to resign in December, just over two months into his stint as Speaker, after filming a tribute video to outgoing Ontario Liberal interim leader John Fraser in the Speaker’s office while wearing his official robes.

The role of the Speaker is meant to be non-partisan because the position is akin to being a referee or facilitator for all the goings-on in the House of Commons.

Now those resignation calls are resuming.

“He should resign, he’s a disgrace,” Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper said on his way into the Tory caucus meeting Wednesday morning.

On social media, Poilievre and several other Conservatives accused Fergus of bias.

During the heated Tuesday question period, Fergus requested Trudeau rephrase a question after he said Poilievre demonstrated “spineless” leadership. However, Fergus rose 10 seconds after Trudeau made the offending remark amid much protest from the Conservative benches. One MP could be heard shouting “get it together Greg!”

The Speaker interjected immediately after Poilievre said “wacko.”

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Government House Leader Steve MacKinnon seemingly likened Poilievre’s behaviour in the House of Commons Tuesday to former U.S. president Donald Trump.

“When they are called on breaking of all of the rules, they leave and say they’ve been gagged. Well, Mr. Poilievre, you have that in common with another person yesterday who walked out of a courtroom in New York saying he’s been gagged,” MacKinnon said.

“These are the tactics of this very dark, extreme right-wing things that have come to Canada. And it’s very unfortunate.”

When asked if there’s responsibility on the government’s side to bring down the tension in the House of Commons, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne put the focus back on Poilievre.

“Do you think anyone can control him? I mean, honestly, I’ve seen that over 10 years now. I think what you’re seeing in the house, some people are trying to import this divisive politics and I don’t think that’s what Canadians want,” Champagne said.

In a fundraising email sent to Conservative supporters on Tuesday afternoon, the party said: “Legalizing open use of hard drugs like crack, meth, and illegal fentanyl is wacko. 6 people dying from overdoses every day is wacko. Kids playing next to used syringes is wacko.”

“We must defeat this wacko woke extremist Trudeau government,” the fundraising email said.

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The Liberals sent their own fundraising email out Tuesday night too, saying Poilievre is trying to win votes through “personal attacks and name-calling.”

“The lengths Pierre Poilievre will go to become Prime Minister is getting more concerning by the day,” the Liberal email said.

“In the past few weeks alone he’s received endorsements from American far-right conspiracy theorists, been hanging out with far-right extremists, and is now getting kicked out of the House of Commons for unparliamentary behaviour. What’s next?”

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