Grand gestures have been left behind as the affairs of state degenerate into a slanging match over obscene hand signals on the floor of the House of Commons.
With the silly season coming on fast, Liberals are outraged that Conservative MP Pierre Poilevre made rude gestures as MPs were voting on an agricultural bill last night.
Liberals MPs claimed that Poilevre delivered an "Italian salute" derogatory to farmers, MPs and House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken. Other Conservative MPs made similar gestures during a raucous session last night.
Before the daily question period today, Poilevre issued an apology for his behaviour but the Liberals were unmoved and demanded that Prime Minister Stephen Harper fire him from his position as parliamentary secretary to Treasury Board President John Baird.
Last night, in addition to the fist-and-arm gesture, Poilevre mocked opposition MPs and the Commons speaker by hopping around in a kind of silly jig during the vote, said Liberal MP Ralph Goodale. "He performed his pixie dance in the House. This guy simply has to go," Goodale told MPs.
The Conservatives said Poilevre had already apologized and the Liberals should get on to important issues. Then Conservative House Leader Rob Nicholson took it all a step farther. Objecting to the use of the term "Italian salute," he claimed the Liberals had just insulted all Italian-Canadians and demanded that his opponents formally withdraw that reference.
But the Liberals claimed they never used the term 'Italian salute' -- they said it was incorrect choice of words by the House of Commons translator.