A Bloc Québécois MP apologized Wednesday for taking a screenshot of a Liberal colleague who inadvertently appeared nude during virtual proceedings in the House of Commons last week.
Bloc MP Sebastien Lemire rose on a point of order to apologize for breaching parliamentary rules, which prohibit taking photos or video of proceedings.
He did not specifically name the MP involved — Liberal William Amos, a fellow Quebecer who represents the Pontiac riding.
“Today I would like to apologize to the House for breaking the rules by taking a photograph of a colleague during question period on April 14,” Lemire said in French.
Lemire said he’s already apologized personally to Amos but added: “I nevertheless want to reiterate it publicly, to him personally, to his family, to colleagues and to anyone I may have offended.”
“I have no idea how that photo made its way into the media,” he added.
Amos declined to comment on Lemire’s apology.
He has said he didn’t realize his laptop camera was on when he was changing his clothes after a jog.
The image of a naked Amos was beamed to MPs tuned in to the internal parliamentary feed for that day’s question period, but it could not be seen on the public feed since Amos was not addressing the Commons at the time.
However, Lemire’s screen shot was leaked and circulated on social media worldwide.
House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, who has been asked by the government to investigate the matter, thanked Lemire for his apology Wednesday. He said he’ll come back to the House later with his findings.
Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez called for the investigation last week, describing the incident as “mean-spirited” and “life-changing” for Amos. He also suggested there could be serious implications for the person who took and shared the image.
“Taking a photo of someone who is changing clothes and in the nude and sharing it without their consent could very well be criminal,” Rodriguez said.
In an interview with The Canadian Press last week, Amos said the incident sends a “terrible signal” about the corrosive nature of politics in Canada and to young people about the propriety of sharing of embarrassing, intimate photos that last forever on the internet.
Lemire and the Bloc declined further comment Wednesday.
But New Democrat MP Leah Gazan tweeted her disapproval of Lemire’s actions.
“No words. Such a disrespectful and cruel action.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2021.
Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press