During last week's 23-hour voting marathon on the omnibus budget, Conservative Member of Parliament and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said he saw two Liberal MPs give Prime Minister Stephen Harper a Nazi salute.
What could happen in a 23-hour voting marathon such as what happened in the House of Commons last week? Well, MPs wrapping themselves up with blankets, yawns, walking around without their shoes on and Nazi salutes.
During a parliamentary session Monday, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, a Jewish Toronto MP, accused Liberal Malpeque MP Wayne Easter and Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry of making an “utterly unacceptable” gesture, according to transcriptions.
“It was, in fact, the member from Malpeque and the member from Vancouver Centre who raised their arms in a rigid position at a 45-degree angle, clearly the gesture of the Nazi salute," Oliver said in the House of Commons. “There was no ambiguity. When I saw it I said 'disgusting' in their direction.”
Oliver said he made a complaint last week, but did not issue names because he expected them to apologize in public or in private.
Easter denied the accusation last week and the deputy speaker of the house accepted Easter’s explanation. “There was no such salute from me. I sat in my chair and I pointed at the prime minister. It wasn't a wag, Mr. Speaker, and it was not and should not have been construed as a salute.”
Conservative MP Chris Warkentin corroborated his colleague’s allegation. “Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly stand in this House to say that I too saw the action of the member opposite and unfortunately it was not as he describes it now.”
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae rose and said the accusations “are very troubling,” but noted it was an “unusual session which came at the end of 24 hours” and anything could have been misinterpreted.
Rae added that no one in his party would condone such an act and then went onto describe similar moves by his opponents.
“I would also apply that to people who compare their opponents to Hitler. I would apply that to people who refer to members, like the member for Mount Royal, as an anti-Semite,” stated the interim leader. “I would refer that to members who, in leaflets throughout the last couple of years, have said that members of the Liberal Party of Canada, including their interim leader, are somehow anti-Israel. I would include all those things as being indeed reprehensible.”
Sun Media reports that Speaker Andrew Scheer said he would review video of last week’s session, but the system cameras and microphones only focus on MPs who are on their feet and not those sitting down reacting.