Kelowna MP Ron Cannan is denying an accusation by an Ontario NDP MP who claims Cannan tried to intimidate and bully him in the House of Commons chamber earlier this week.
Cannan admits he left his seat in the chamber and entered the NDP side of the aisle from the back, but said he was simply there to talk with NDP House leader Peter Julian, a fellow B.C. MP who sits near Scarborough Southwest MP Dan Harris.
On Wednesday, Harris accused Cannan of “getting belligerent and yelling at me from across the way” and then “coming down the row, yelling at me and he had to be physically restrained from coming at me.”
On Thursday, Cannan said he was simply there to demand Julian have Harris apologize for accusing International Trade Minister Ed Fast of making a gun-like gesture with his forefinger and thumb at another NDP MP moments earlier during question period.
“I told him that the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Southwest should apologize to (Fast) or be prepared to make the allegation outside,” Cannan said. “Members of Parliament, as the member for Scarborough Southwest knows, are protected by parliamentary privilege inside the House of Commons, meaning that we have parliamentary immunity. If anything else is being inferred, it is completely incorrect.”
In the House of Commons later in the day, Cannan apologized.
“If anything else is being inferred, it is completely incorrect. I apologize if there were any other inferences from that.
Video of Fast shows him making the gesture with his hand, something Fast denies was an attempt to mimic a gun.
“The gesture I made was a pointing gesture, one I often use,” he said in the Commons.
When told the gesture was captured on video, Cannan said he had not comment on what the video showed.
But he maintains he was not belligerent with Harris and reiterated it is the Ontario MP who should apologize.
Reporters who saw the incident from the press gallery said it appeared there were heated words between Cannan and Harris before he the Kelowna-Lake Country MLA was lead away by Julian and another NDP MP.
The altercation followed a question from NDP MP Niki Ashton during Question Period. on Wednesday. Some NDP MPs say Fast accompanied his hand gesture by saying “boom.”
The House of Commons video does not how if Fast did, in fact say, or mouth the word “boom” when he made the hand gesture and Fast denies doing so.