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Updated May 20, 2016 at 04:35PM EDT by Don.

Added May 20, 2016 at 03:05PM EDT by Don.

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#Elbowgate refers to a physical altercation that occurred during an assembly at the House of Commons of Canada in late May 2016, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accidentally elbowed New Democrat Party (NDP) member Ruth Ellen Brosseau while attempting to lead Conservative Party whip Gordon Brown to his seat.


On May 18th, 2016, the House of Commons of Canada held a meeting to vote on a motion regarding Bill C-14, which would grant medical practitioners the ability to perform assisted suicides for mentally competent adults. The voting was momentarily delayed when Ruth Ellen Brosseau and other NDP members of the parliament surrounded the Conservative Party whip Gordon Brown to block him from taking his place. Upon witnessing the confrontation, Trudeau briskly walked over and attempted to break off the barricade, during which Brosseau was accidentally struck by Trudeau’s elbow. That day, YouTuber David Akin uploaded video footage of the confrontation (shown below).


Following the incident, NDP House leader Peter Julian criticized Trudeau's actions, accusing the Prime Minister of "manhandling" Brown. Additionally, NDP MP Tracey Ramsey claimed Trudeau yelled "get the fuck out of my way" as he "violently" grabbed Brown.

Trudeau's Response

The same day, Trudeau publicly apologized for his behavior at the House of Commons (shown below).

Online Reaction

That day, the hashtag #elbowgate began trending on Twitter, with some criticizing Trudeau's actions, some defending the Prime Minister and others mocking the incident.

Julie S. Lalonde @JulieSLalonde な L-Follow I think the NDP reaction to #ElbowGate is gross, unethical partisanship. I also think the backlash MP Brosseau is getting, is vile misogyny. RETWEETS LIKES 25 52 2:52 PM - 20 May 2016 23 APITALIS Michelle Catlin @CatlinNya -Follow If you elbow your enemies, they win #elbowgate RETWEETS LIKES 25 ㎘ 1:56 PM-19 May 2016 The Netherlands Steve Dangle Glynn @Steve Dangle 으. Follow I think #elbowgate confirms that most politicians have never ridden the bus or subway. RETWEETS LIKES 303 577 6:33 PM-19 May 2016 LT

On May 19th, the Rebel Media YouTube channel uploaded a video titled "Elbowgate is being blown way out of proportion" (shown below). The same day, Redditor tribalDemon submitted a post asking about the scandal to /r/OutOfTheLoop.[3]

On May 20th, the Canadian political news site Ipolitics[2] reported that there were over 5,400 tweets mentioning Brosseau and the elbowing incident, with 48% being "negative or critical" of her actions.

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Top Comments

Freakenstein Moderator

I agree with the red lady up there, blown way out of proportion. We're only paying attention to it and claiming ethical breaches because the people involved are big names. We would be ignoring this if they were commonfolk.


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