HomePoliticsLiberal MP accused of joining virtual Parliament from a washroom

Liberal MP accused of joining virtual Parliament from a washroom

The Conservatives are alleging “contempt of the House” after a Liberal MP appeared to be participating in House of Commons proceedings virtually from a washroom stall on Friday.

Rising on a question of privilege on Monday morning, Conservative House Leader John Brassard said it didn’t bring him any pleasure to do so, but he felt the need to raise the “occurrence of misconduct,” as House administration indicated the incident had occurred, but there had been no follow up.

The alleged incident took place on Friday afternoon in the House of Commons. During a debate on a private members’ bill, Conservative MP Laila Goodridge rose on a point of order, flagging to Assistant Deputy Speaker Alexandra Mendes that it appeared the Liberal MP for Brampton Centre MP Shafqat Ali was participating from “a washroom.”

Following this interjection, after checking with her officials, Mendes informed the House, that “a page has confirmed that there was a member that appeared to be in the washroom.”

“I’d like to remind everyone that especially online we have to be very prudent on how we use our devices, and to be aware of the surroundings when you are online,” Mendes said to MPs at the time, before House business carried on.

The incident did not occur on the public feed of the House chamber and was only visible to MPs and those who have access to the internal Zoom-like system MPs use for their hybrid proceedings.

Brassard told the House of Commons on Monday that he had spoken with MPs who witnessed the incident who said it appeared Ali entered the men’s washroom inside West Block, citing the familiarity of the door hinges and coat hook.

“Based on the angle… I am informed that it appeared that the camera was mounted on the ledge or ridge on the wall just above the back of the toilet. The member of Parliament was literally using the washroom while participating in a sitting of the House of Commons, the cathedral of Canadian democracy. I can’t believe I actually just said those words, madame speaker,” Brassard said.

CTV News has reached out to Ali’s office for comment.

On Friday, prior to Mendes indicating there was an MP who appeared to be in a washroom, Liberal MP and parliamentary secretary to the Government House Leader Kevin Lamoureux rose in the House to say that MPs “have to be very careful” about raising concerns like this.

He suggested that the Conservatives were using “virtual Parliament as a mechanism to embarrass people.”

“The most important thing I believe, is that the member has the camera on and that they’re in the room,” he said.

In voicing his disproval of how Lamoureux responded, Brassard said Monday that “the room in question was a toilet stall” and what transpired constitutes “a serious breach of the rules of decorum and an affront against the dignity of the House of Commons.”

“Frankly, madam speaker, we’ve now had two years with Zoom meetings, two years with hybrid Parliament. Surely to God, we’ve figured out when and where to turn our cameras on and off,” Brassard said.

He’s asked that the matter be referred to the Procedure and House Affairs Committee for further consideration.

Following Brassard’s question of privilege, Assistant Deputy Speaker Carol Hughes, who was not present when the incident was first raised in the House on Friday, informed MPs she would have to review the matter and get back to them.

This is not the first time an issue has been raised about a Liberal MP conducting themselves inappropriately while participating in the hybrid House of Commons. In the last Parliament, then-Liberal MP Will Amos twice exposed himself during virtual proceedings. He said he was seeking help, and did not seek re-election in 2021.



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