Power & Politics

Opposition parties 'like to shout' at 'respectful' Liberals, Trudeau tells students

Conservative MP Chris Warkentin is upset over how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterized opposition parties’ behaviour in the House of Commons to a group of visiting students.

Prime minister is 'a prime example' of bad behaviour, Conservative MP says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during question period in the House of Commons on June 20. 'We try and stay, you know, serious and respectful. They like to shout,' he says of his political foes. (Canadian Press)

Conservative MP Chris Warkentin is upset with how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterized opposition parties' behaviour in the House of Commons to a group of visiting students.

In cellphone video of the exchange obtained by CBC News, Trudeau can be heard telling the young people from an Ottawa-area school that they should expect to see differences in the way parties behave in question period.

"We try and stay, you know, serious and respectful. They like to shout," he said of his political foes. "That's something that happens naturally in opposition."

Warkentin was concerned with how the prime minister characterized the opposition parties, saying it sends the wrong message about politicians who disagree with the Liberal government's agenda.

"What was concerning to me, as a young father who has kids that would be that age, would be that the prime minister would be presenting his party and the opposition parties in such a way that would lead young kids to believe that there was a good side and a bad side," said Warkentin.

"I think, upon reflection, the prime minister probably shouldn't do that."

Watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talk to students on Parliament Hill:

PM speaking to students on Parliament Hill 0:17

A spokesperson for the prime minister did not directly address Trudeau's remarks but said the prime minister is "always happy to spend time with students and answer their questions on any issue they're interested in talking about."

"Today, the prime minister met with bright young students from Glashan Public School and discussed important issues including climate change, and how Parliament works," the spokesperson said.

Warkentin said he has a very different perspective on how things work in the House of Commons.

"Bad behaviour can be exercised from both sides, and the prime minister is a prime example of that," he said.