Leaked photo of naked MP an ‘affront’ to the House, but Speaker won’t investigate

Leaked photo of naked MP an ‘affront’ to the House, but Speaker won’t investigate
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OTTAWA —
The House of Commons Speaker says that the taking and leaking of a screenshot of Liberal MP Will Amos—who accidentally appeared nude in a non-public view of the virtual House of Commons— was an “affront to the authority and dignity” of members of Parliament, but he won’t be investigating it further.

In a ruling delivered following question period on Monday, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota said that the “inappropriate sharing” of the screenshot put Amos in a “difficult situation.”

On April 14, Amos returned to his office after a jog and began changing into work clothes, unaware his camera was on, revealing himself to his parliamentary colleagues who were using the Zoom-like House of Commons platform. 

A screenshot of the incident taken without his knowledge was circulated online later that day, showing Amos without clothes behind a desk in his office, holding something in his hand at an angle that covered his genitals from view.

One week later, Bloc Quebecois MP Sebastien Lemire admitted to taking the photo, but stated he had “no idea” how it was leaked to various media outlets. Following Lemire’s apology in the House, Chief Government Whip Mark Holland insisted the matter was not closed, suggesting Lemire’s admission left more questions than answers around how the image became public.

However, on Monday Rota said that effort was taken to determine how the “deplorable” incident occurred, but now he “considers the mater closed.”

Speaker Rota took the time to remind MPs and their staff once again, that taking photos of the hybrid virtual proceedings was, and remains, a “clear breach” of the rules, as it is when MPs are sitting in the Chamber in-person.

“All members of this House should be able to rely on their colleagues and staff to respect each other in conducting themselves in the chamber, whether in person or virtually,” Rota said.

“Respecting the rule has never been more crucial than it is at a time when members are participating in proceedings from their office on the Hill, or in their electoral district, or even from their residence,” he said in French. “I would add that the ease with which it is possible to share and to disseminate information using the tools at our disposal, only increases the risk of the rule being broken.”

The government had asked for the Speaker to investigate the matter, a move that was supported by the NDP. Holland has stated he intends to raise the issue with the Board of Internal Economy, which oversees the financial and administrative matters of the House of Commons.

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