The government’s House leader is calling for an investigation to find out which MP shared a photo of a Quebec Liberal MP who appeared naked during a hybrid parliamentary session yesterday, calling the act potentially “criminal.”
William Amos, who represents the western Quebec riding of Pontiac, appeared on screen without clothes moving around his office. Amos appeared on a video feed that only MPs and House of Commons staff can see, separate from the public-facing ParlVu video system.
A screen shot, which was shared with CBC and other media outlets, shows Amos standing without clothes in what appears to be an office with Canadian and Quebec flags in the background. He is holding something that blocks the view of his genitals.
This morning, Pablo Rodriguez raised a point of order calling the leak an act of “callous disrespect” and asked Speaker of the House Anthony Rota to investigate.
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“I would like to say that the conduct of the person who took the screen shot is not only extremely unfortunate but it is mean spirited and life changing for one of our colleagues,” Rodriguez said.
“Taking a photo of someone who is changing clothes and in the nude and sharing it without their consent could very well be criminal.
“Are we really at a point in our politics where it is acceptable to try and destroy the reputation and humiliate a colleague because someone finds a very unfortunate error and unintentional mistake to be funny. Our politics has taken a very dark and destructive turn if this is the case.”
Rodriguez is asking Rota to launch an investigation to determine who took the photos “so the House can decide the appropriate action to take.”
The speaker said he would take the request under advisement and report back.
In a statement Wednesday, Amos said the incident was the result of an unfortunate error.
“My video was accidentally turned on as I was changing into my work clothes after going for a jog. I sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the House of Commons for this unintentional distraction. Obviously, it was an honest mistake, and it won’t happen again,” Amos said.
In another statement posted to Facebook on Thursday, Amos thanked those who sent messages of “moral support and encouragement in the aftermath of this most regrettable situation.”
“The past 24 hours have been difficult at a professional and personal level, but I will not allow this to distract me from the work of representing my Pontiac constituents and Canada,” he wrote.
“It is most unfortunate that someone shared, without my consent, a photo in which I was changing my clothes. This photo came from a video feed that only MPs or a very small number of staff had access to. No person deserves to suffer such harm.”
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Liberal whip Mark Holland said the Bloc and NDP whips reached out immediately.
“They both expressed sympathy and made compelling cases that this breach of privacy did not happen from within their offices,” he said.
“It is forbidden to share video or images from any non-public portions of Parliamentary proceedings. Despite this fact, someone from that small group of people shared the image that is now all over social media …
“We must know who is responsible for leaking non-consensual images from a private video feed. We must also be assured that the video taken by this person is deleted so that further violations of privacy and decency are not possible.”
Parliament has been operating in a hybrid form since May of last year because the physical-distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic forced a reduction in the number of politicians and staff working in person in the Commons. Most MPs have been participating in proceedings virtually via Zoom since then, and only a small number have been attending in person.