Justice Minister Peter MacKay responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Justin Tang/Canadian Press
Tempers flared as the debate over whether to call a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women boiled over in the House of Commons Thursday, culminating in Justice Minister Peter MacKay throwing papers on the Commons floor.
MacKay asked for unanimous consent to table dozens of documents in the Commons that show the action Conservatives have taken to combat violence against women, following repeated calls by the NDP during question period for a national inquiry.
A final report titled "Invisible Women: A Call To Action" is due Friday from MPs on the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women, with dissenting opinions being tabled alongside the government report — a strong indication the committee will not be recommending a national inquiry.
"I'm wondering if I could get unanimous consent from members opposite from an issue arising in question period today," MacKay said.
"I would like to table the 40 initiatives that we have taken as a government to address murdered and missing — the 40 reports that have now been completed in the last number of years and the over 30 justice and public safety bills," MacKay said to the jeers of the opposition benches and cheering applause from government MPs.
But MacKay did not have the documents in both official languages as required by House of Commons rules.
So when Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux asked when MacKay might be prepared to table them, the minister gestured to Lamoureux to come over and get the documents himself — at which point he threw them on the floor.
"Awww... Order! Order!," exclaimed House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer as MacKay picked up the papers and carried them across the aisle.
Scheer reminded MacKay that Commons pages stood ready to assist members with the tabling of documents.
"I would just like to point out to the minister of justice there are several pages in the room at most times of the day and especially during question period and rather than having to throw papers on the floor or walk across while the Speaker is trying to move on, they'd be happy to help them out."
"It was a stunt," NDP aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder told CBC News Thursday afternoon.
"It was an effort to push back against the criticism they are anticipating will come after they table their report tomorrow," Crowder said.
When asked what it was that the minister wanted to table, MacKay's office sent CBC News a link to several anti-crime initiatives passed into law by the Conservatives and a list of 40 reports on violence dating back to the 1990s.