Is this the beginning of brew politics?
NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen says he is willing to share a cup of coffee with Peter Van Loan — and would even buy — in order to bury the hatchet with his Conservative counterpart after an all-out partisan battle erupted on the floor of the House of Commons.
Cullen told CTV News that an apology would go a long way toward burying the hatchet between the two after a verbal fight threatened to spill over in actual violence. Cullen added that the two would need to get together and discuss the matter in order to reform their working relations, saying a cup of coffee isn’t out of the question.
"An apology would probably satisfy this. I'll talk to the Speaker later today and we can try to get a little more civility in the House of Commons so Canadians can be a bit more proud of the place rather than watching that kind of behaviour," Cullen told CTV News on Thursday.
Van Loan, meantime, offered the NDP an apology on Thursday for instigating the affair with some inappropriate language.
Canadian politics apparently still has a long way to go on the decorum front, what with the hurdling of threats, exchange of profanity and very real risk of violence that happened in the House of Commons.
Well, OK, not so real risk of violence. It is still Canadian politics, after all.
The Canadian Press reports the verbal fight nearly resulted in a bench-clearing brawl, which began when House Leader Peter Van Loan crossed the floor to challenge his NDP counterpart, Nathan Cullen.
Microphones were shut off but video tape shows Van Loan waving his finger at Cullen and speaking in a heated manner.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Cullen's seat mate, stands up, whereupon a number of New Democrats surround Van Loan and appear to urge him to leave.
Finally, Defence Minister Peter MacKay rushes over, puts his hand on Van Loan's shoulder and ushers him back across the centre aisle of the Commons to the government benches.
The shoving match reportedly surrounded a piece of legislative paperwork: A request to invalidate a budget vote that the NDP believed had been handled in error — one of those "point of order" moments when politics often turns into game playing.
The moment irked Van Loan, who took matters into his own hands.The big winner in the whole affair may be Mulcair, who scored some serious "Bro points" by backing Cullen up in the face of clear and present danger. Or perhaps it is MacKay, who looked very prime ministerial as he led a red-faced Van Loan back to his seat after the scuffle. Or just maybe there are no winners.
Van Loan, meantime, comes off foolish in the matter, quickly reverting to political spin and blaming Mulcair for the whole affair. He told CTV News that Mulcair lunged at him in an "absolute explosion" of anger. This sounds completely foolish, considering he himself had crossed the aisle to poke his aggressive finger in the face of Cullen.
Peter Van Loan doesn't appear to be on Twitter, where the battle continued to rage following the dust-up, but MacKay picked up the partisan slack.
If it matters who is in the wrong, and the answer can't be everybody, it is Van Loan for crossing the House's centre aisle to launch the conflict. Consider this piece of fodder from the Toronto Sun's Alan Parker:
The central aisle is not just a passageway and work area for pages, stenographers and parliamentary clerks: It's a moat dividing two (or more) warring parties so that the daily confrontations (hopefully) remain verbal and spiritual, not physical.
It is no coincidence that the central aisle is exactly twelve feet wide: By tradition, that distance is two sword lengths.
Just a quick heads up, gentlemen. This whole affair isn't doing much to convince Canadians you are focused on representing them rather than waving your party colours.
Sharing a cup of coffee and mending those fences would probably help. You could even make a photo-op out of the affair.