Police charge cabinet minister Percy Paris after fight at Nova Scotia legislature

A lot of us have said that civility in politics has gone in the toilet.

Well, on Thursday, in Nova Scotia it sort of did.

According to reports, NDP MLA Percy Paris grabbed and shoved Liberal MLA Keith Colwell against a wall outside a bathroom at that province's legislature.

According to the Chronicle Herald, Halifax police confirmed Paris went to police headquarters on his own at 7:45 p.m. where he was arrested and "charged with assault and uttering threats." He was released and is expected to appear in provincial court on June 18.

Reports had suggested that altercation was a result of comments Colwell made about the black community in his riding. On Friday, however, Paris said that it was an accumulation of things.

"I regret that I lost my cool for a few seconds," he told the Herald while calling the incident an "animated exchange."

"I’m hearing some things being said directly about the African-Nova Scotian community which I don’t agree with that strike a very sensitive chord within me, and that cord has been getting tighter and tighter."

Paris has now resigned his cabinet post as tourism and economic development minister but the Liberals aren't satisfied.

The Canadian Press is reporting that Colwell stood up in the House, on Friday morning, asking for some sort of reprimand.

"Yesterday in the house of assembly, I was assaulted and threatened by the minister of economic and rural development and tourism," Colwell said.

"This improper behaviour by the minister was quite clearly an execution of a threat and intimidation, an attempt to prevent me from performing my function as a legislator, elected representative for my constituents and member of this assembly."

The legislature's internal affairs committee will now decide if Paris is to be admonished.

[ Related: Elizabeth May heckled by NDP, evokes Jack Layton in her tweet of disappointment ]

This isn't the first time a kerfuffle has happened at the Nova Scotia legislature. According to CTV News' Rob Grant, there was another three decades ago.

"It was an incident involving Dr. Mike Laffin who punched another MLA Paul McEwan, in the House and knocked his tooth out," Grant said.

"He got a two week suspension for that."

In other jurisdictions around the world, fisticuffs in Parliament are commonplace — like in the Ukraine.

The closest brouhaha to happen in Canada's Parliament of late, was the December kerfuffle between House Leaders Peter Van Loan and Nathan Cullen which emanated from a point-of-order on a budget bill.

[ Related: Van Loan and Cullen should turn to coffee to bury proverbial hatchet ]

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