Liberal MP William Amos says he is “satisfied” with the statement House Speaker Anthony Rota delivered Monday, saying the actions of a Bloc MP who took a nude screenshot of him during a video call were “deplorable.”
“I’m satisfied that the Speaker appreciates the gravity of the incident,” Amos said. “And the focus is less on me, appropriately. The focus is on the public and the dignity of the House and its Members.”
During his statement delivered in the House earlier on Monday, Rota said the incident was an “affront to the authority and dignity of the House of Commons and its Members.”
He also reminded MPs that taking photos during parliamentary proceedings is strictly prohibited.
“The chair wants to remind all members and everyone else with this privileged access that screenshots, photos of the screen, and visual recordings of proceedings of the House or any of its committees whether open to the public or not are absolutely prohibited,” Rota said in French.
Rota said he is “counting on everyone’s collaboration to respect the rules in the new operating environment,” but added that “as far as the House is concerned,” the matter is now “closed.”
The Leader’s remarks come two weeks after Amos was caught naked during a virtual meeting of parliament.
Amos, the parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, was only visible to MPs and staffers on an internal video conference feed.
Amos has apologized, saying he had been caught changing into his work clothing after going for a jog. He said his video was accidentally turned on, and said the incident was an “unfortunate error.”
“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 an email to Global News earlier this month.
Bloc MP Sébastien Lemire has admitted to taking the screenshot of Amos which made its way onto social media and circulated widely.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Lemire apologized for taking the photo.
“Today I would like to present my apologies to the House for breaching the standing orders by taking a picture of a member on April 14th,” Lemire said in French.
He also said he had apologized to Amos and his family personally, adding that he had “no idea” how the photo made its way into the media.
Amos, though, said Lemire’s apology is “incomplete,” saying the men shared a “short conversation.”
“I asked him with whom he shared (the picture) and he didn’t respond to the question,” he said.
Amos said at this point in time, it’s not about “accepting an apology when the facts are so incomplete.”
Asked whether he is considering taking legal action, Amos said he has made “no decision whatsoever about what direction I think this should take.”
“I think we just need to focus on the facts (and) let’s get the facts clear,” he said. “Let’s put everything out under the bright light, let’s expose the facts to the sunshine of Canadian democracy.”
Ultimately, Amos said a precedent needs to be set “that action will be taken and the facts will be known if the privacy of a Member of Parliament is breached in a manner that is an affront to the authority and dignity of the House.”
“But the reason that we need to set a precedent is because it’s not just about me — as I’ve said on many occasions – we can all imagine more vulnerable individuals subjected to this treatment, so we need to protect them,” he said.
Amos said he will let the Board of Internal Economy which is investigating the matter determine the “appropriate next steps.”
In a statement Monday, government House leader Pablo Rodriguez said his team is “exploring all options available” to them.
“The Speaker of the House of Commons has concluded that the behaviour of a Bloc MP is a clear breach of the House rules, and more importantly, an affront to the dignity of Members,” Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement emailed to Global News.
Rodriguez said this is “an important ruling that will remind all Members that they have a responsibility to act properly and to respect the rules of the house.”
-With files from Global News’ Mike Le Couteur and The Canadian Press