A Canadian lawmaker was still logged in to a debate’s Zoom-like feed when he entered a bathroom stall—and opposition lawmakers say the incident shows it’s time to end the “hybrid” format, in which members of Parliament can take part in debates and meetings either virtually or in person. Shafqat Ali, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, apologized on Monday and said the “unfortunate event” was the result of a lapse in judgment, the Guardian. During a debate on Friday, Conservative MP Laila Goodridge said Ali “might be participating in a washroom” somewhere in the Parliament building.
Assistant Deputy Speaker Alexandra Mendes said a House of Commons page had confirmed there was a member in the washroom. Mendes reminded lawmakers that “we have to be very prudent on how we use our devices,” CTV reports. Conservative MP John Brassard called for the “distressing occurrence” to be reviewed Monday. He said lawmakers had recognized the stall in “one of the men’s washrooms located on this very floor of this very building” and the camera appeared to have been on a “ledge or ridge on the wall, just above the back of the toilet.”
“A member of Parliament was literally using the washroom while participating in a sitting of this House of Commons, the cathedral of Canadian democracy. I cannot believe that I just said those words,” Brassard said, per the National Post. The feed Ali appeared on was visible to other lawmakers but not the public. Deputy Speaker Chris D’Entremont said the matter would be considered closed because of the “sincere apology” from Ali. He said he was using the opportunity to remind lawmakers to be “vigilant when participating remotely in proceedings of the House. If you don’t have to have the camera on, turn it off. ” (Read more Canada stories.)
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