OTTAWA — A Liberal MP was caught wearing his birthday suit in the virtual House of Commons.
William Amos, who has represented the Quebec riding of Pontiac since 2015, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked Wednesday.
A screenshot obtained by The Canadian Press shows him standing behind a desk between the Quebec and Canadian flags, his private parts hidden by what appears to be a mobile phone in one hand.
"This was an unfortunate error," Amos said in a statement sent by email Wednesday.
"My video was accidentally turned on as I was changing into my work clothes after going for a jog. 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.”
Bloc Québécois MP Claude DeBellefeuille, the party whip, raised the incident in a point of order after question period, suggesting a reminder about parliamentary decorum.
“It may be necessary to remind the members, especially the male ones, that a tie and jacket are obligatory, but so are a shirt, boxer shorts or pants,” she said in French.
“We have seen that the member is in great physical shape, but I think members should be reminded to be careful and control the camera well.”
Speaker Anthony Rota later thanked DeBellefeuille for her "observations" and clarified that while he had not seen anything, he checked with technicians and confirmed they saw something.
He reminded MPs to always be vigilant when they are near a camera and microphone.
Amos, the parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, was visible only to MPs and staffers on an internal video conference feed. Because he was not speaking during question period, his image did not show up on the public feed.
Liberal whip Mark Holland said Amos was "utterly mortified."
Holland said he was satisfied with the explanation from his caucus colleague.
"I don't think there was any ill intent … It's certainly an unfortunate circumstance," Holland said in an interview.
"I think it's part of the circumstances of the world we're in right now, where the line between our home and our office place is so blurred and trying to manage that is sometimes challenging," he added.
"This is a warning to everybody. You've got to really always assume that camera is on and be very careful any time you wander anywhere near that camera that you're dressed appropriately."
Asked if he'll be issuing a warning to all Liberal MPs to that effect, Holland said: "Oh, big time."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.
Catherine Lévesque and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version referred to William Amos, the parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, as a backbench Liberal MP.