Ottawa MP apologizes after alleged assault in Parliament

An Ottawa MP has apologized after being accused of assaulting another MP from the city in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Accused MP often holds Speaker's duties for maintaining order and courtesy

An Ottawa MP has apologized after being accused of assaulting another MP from the city in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Tory MP Royal Galipeau crossed the floor after Liberal MP David McGuinty accused him of not speaking against the decision to scrap the court challenges program, intended to protect francophones. ((CBC))
Conservative MP Royal Galipeau crossed the floor toward Liberal MP David McGuinty Wednesday afternoon, against parliamentary rules, after McGuinty accused him of not speaking against the government decision last fall to scrap the court challenges program, which is intended to protect francophone citizens.

"The member was clearly out of control, using unparliamentary language, and in a threatening fashion grabbed my left shoulder and only left my side when several of my colleagues urged him to stop and to leave," said McGuinty, who represents Ottawa South.

He added that he would ask House Speaker Peter Milliken to review tapes of the incident.

Galipeau, who represents Ottawa-Orleans,said he has always protected francophone rights, has never been partisan and was trying to set the record straight.

"I may have crossed the floor, but he crossed the line," said Galipeau.

Galipeau later gave a formal apologyin the House of Commons.

"I'm sorry to have approached the Ottawa member for Ottawa South in that manner," he said.

It's against parliamentary rules for a member to cross the floor, use inflammatory language or physical force.

Galipeau holdsaspecial parliamentarypositionthat sometimes makes him responsible for enforcing those rules.

Galipeau's role, as deputy chair of the committees of the whole, gives him the samepowers and duties as the House Speaker while he is sitting in the chair, such asensuring proceedings are "orderly and courteous," his website says.

The court challenges program provided funding to minority groups to challenge government policies in court. It was originally created to help guarantee that government services were available in French and was later extended to other groups.

Earlier this week, a report from official languages commissioner Graham Fraser criticized the government for scrapping the program, which cost $3 million annually,in September 2006.