© Transcontinental Media
Despite an accusation from a Conservative cabinet minister, no opposition MPs gave Nazi salutes during the omnibus budget vote in Ottawa Thursday, says Malpeque MP Wayne Easter.
In an interview, Easter said he only pointed toward Prime Minister Stephen Harper as Conservative MPs applauded during one of the votes.
"There was no salutes from our side," Easter said.
The issue came up after MPs had already spent hours in the House for a marathon session of 160 votes on amendments to the government's omnibus budget bill.
At one point in the proceedings Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver rose on a point of order to address what he said was a Nazi salute two opposition members made in Harper's direction.
Oliver said he didn't want to mention who the opposition members were.
"I just think this is intolerable behaviour and it should never happen again," he said.
Liberal MP Denis Coderre and Bloc MP André Bellavance rose to address Oliver's accusation, saying he was blaming the entire opposition side by not naming specific MPs.
Easter also rose to say he had only pointed.
In addressing the issue, deputy speaker Denise Savoie said she didn't see the gesture and told the MPs to move on.
During the session Harper got into a routine of standing and bowing, with the Conservative members applauded each time he did.
In speaking with The Guardian, Easter said he pointed at Harper because the prime minister was bowing like he was an emperor.
"Why don't you go over and shine his shoes and why don't you salute him," Easter said he shouted to the Conservatives.
He also said Oliver not naming anyone creates a controversy.
"We really don't know for sure who he was talking about," Easter said.
The incident happened after some of the MPs had been in the house for almost 30 hours so tempers were getting a little frayed, Easter said.
"Especially when some of the shenanigans were going on so people get frustrated and maybe think they see something they didn't see."
Easter said he was "peeved" about it at the time.
"I was kind of insulted of that accusation, whoever it might be," he said.