OTTAWA -- MPs went from chummy and polite to downright nasty Tuesday before you could say "eight-second sound bite."
It took less than two days for the thin veneer of civility to wear through in the House of Commons, freshly back from its summer recess.
Just hours after MPs chatted amiably at the swearing-in ceremony for Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, they traded low blows during question period over four dead Mounties.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper threw the first punch. He accused Prime Minister Paul Martin of having misled the House on Monday when he said he'd met the families of the officers killed in Mayerthorpe, Alta.
The families were in Ottawa on Monday to push for tougher prison sentences.
Martin responded that he meant he had met the families at the officers' funerals in March after the four were killed during a stakeout at an auto chop shop and marijuana grow-op
Then he fired back: "I do not believe that it is appropriate for the honourable member to try to make this kind of political gamesmanship on such an emotional event," he told the Commons.