A left-wing member of Canada’s parliament named Shafqat Ali virtually attended a recent session of Canada’s House of Commons while standing inside a bathroom stall, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The incident occurred on May 6 when Ali, a member of Canada’s ruling Liberal Party, attended a closed Canadian parliamentary session by logging on to a video call feed visible only to his colleagues. A right-wing member of Canada’s parliament named Laila Goodridge noticed that Ali “might be participating in a washroom” and shared the observation with the parliament’s Assistant Deputy Speaker Alexandra Mendes.
“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,'” Canada’s CTV News reported on May 9.
“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 told parliamentarians at the time, before Canada’s House of Commons continued with the session as usual.
A right-wing member of Canada’s parliament named John Brassard referred to the incident in the House of Commons chamber on the morning of May 9, revealing further details of the video footage.
“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,” Brassard said.
About an hour and a half after Brassard raised the issue, Ali appeared in the House of Commons chamber virtually and apologized for the incident, which he referred to as a “lapse in judgment.”
“I want to take this opportunity to apologize sincerely and unreservedly to all members of Parliament for the unfortunate event that transpired last Friday [May 6],” Ali said.
“I take this matter extremely seriously, and I promise never to repeat this error again,” he added.
Ali’s faux pas marked the second time a member of Canada’s parliament has appeared to virtually attend a session of the legislative body while simultaneously undertaking an inappropriate action. Another Liberal party member of Canada’s parliament named Will Amos in April 2021 appeared naked on camera during a video call session of the House of Commons while changing clothes after a jog.
The left-wing parliamentarian apologized for the incident but then again appeared on a House of Commons video call while urinating into a coffee mug weeks later. Amos said he would “seek assistance” following the pair of embarrassing gaffes and did not seek reelection in Canada’s federal election later that year.