ANALYSIS: ‘Pushgate’ pushes Queen’s Park into toddler territory

Speaker rules against Ontario PC MPP in ‘Pushgate’ controversy with Andrea Horwath.
WATCH ABOVE: Donna Skelly says Andrea Horwath pushed her, but Horwath says it was a tap. It's the latest incident in an increasingly partisan and nasty Ontario legislature.

“She actually pushed me.”

Welcome to Ontario’s legislature in 2018, where antics too juvenile for Romper Room have become the norm.

The latest bit of manufactured outrage comes from PC MPP Donna Skelly who claimed NDP Leader Andrea Horwath “crossed the floor of the legislature yelling and screaming and pushed me.”

In response, Horwath said Skelly, who she’s known for 20 years, went “ballistic” when the NDP leader “tapped” her on the shoulder.

READ MORE: Civility returns to Queen’s Park a day after PC MPP allegedly mocked during question period

Energy Minister Greg Rickford, who said he witnessed the incident, declined to say definitively whether it was a push or a tap. However, he told reporters if he was consulted, he would vote push.

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The Speaker of the House, Ted Arnott, who presumably has better things to do, was asked to rule on ‘pushgate’ and decreed Horwath had not impeded Skelly from performing her duties as a parliamentarian.

Well that clears that up. The question wasn’t whether Horwath hogtied Skelly to the front of her pickup. Was it a push or a tap?

Perhaps tellingly, Skelly did not speak to journalists after the Speaker’s ruling. She decided instead to slip out a back door of the legislative chamber. There’s no word if someone from the PC caucus embarrassed by the shenanigans pushed her that way.

READ MORE: NDP MPPs removed from legislature as Ford government reintroduces bill to slash Toronto city council

Andrea Horwath said she was glad the issue had been put to bed while Ontarians as a whole may want the entire legislature put to bed, possibly with no supper, for all this acting out.

Since the June election that gave Doug Ford a majority mandate and made Andrea Horwath opposition leader, there have been accusations of accent mocking, and the I’m-not-a-bully-you’re-a-bully dustup, and what can only politely be called a lack of decorum.

More precisely, the Ontario legislature is a gong show even too silly for Chuck Barris.

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Why did the NDP leader cross the floor in the first place? Because she was ready for her closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Late Tuesday afternoon in the chamber, Deputy Speaker Percy Hatfield angrily accused PC MPPs of trying to block the camera that records opposition MPP questions – just when Horwath was speaking.

BILL KELLY: Queen’s Park theatrics don’t bode well for the next 4 years

“You know what you’re doing, please don’t do it again,” Hatfield warned the PC side of the house.

After that, Horwath either angrily spun across the floor like the Tasmanian devil, or wandered over with a twinkle in her eye to tap Skelly ever so gently, the way you would wake an oversleeping toddler.

Unfortunately the same Queen’s Park cameras that were apparently blocked when Horwath was speaking did not record ‘pushgate.’ Whether it was a push or a tap will forever be an issue between Horwath and Skelly, and a still pontificating minister of energy. You know if he was to be consulted he would have an opinion, but he wasn’t so he doesn’t and good night.

Maybe after a good night’s sleep tucked in with their blankies, Ontario MPPs can wake up in a better mood. This province deserves at least that much from its elected adults.

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