Shafquat Ali, 55, has apologized for going to the bathroom while on a parliamentary Zoom
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Shafquat Ali, 55, has apologized for going to the bathroom while on a parliamentary Zoom

Shafquat Ali, 55, has apologized for going to the bathroom while on a parliamentary Zoom

A Liberal MP representing the Canadian constituency of Brampton Center has apologized after he was caught entering a bathroom during a live parliamentary Zoom session.

Shafqat Ali, a 55-year-old former real estate agent elected last year, on Monday said he was profoundly sorry for Friday’s incident, which was seen by fellow MPs but was not visible to the public.

Some MPs were attending a session in parliament remotely, and during the meeting Conservative MP Laila Goodridge rose in the House and noted that one of her fellow MPs ‘might be participating in a washroom.’

The Speaker of the House, who could not see the live stream, was taken aback.

The incident was not visible on the public parliamentary feed, and could only be seen by other MPs on an internal stream.

The Speaker consulted her clerks, who confirmed the incident.

Ali (top right) frequently participates in meetings via Zoom, such as this one. Colleagues in parliament were therefore shocked on Friday when he went to the bathroom with his camera on

Ali (top right) frequently participates in meetings via Zoom, such as this one. Colleagues in parliament were therefore shocked on Friday when he went to the bathroom with his camera on

Laila Goodridge, a Conservative MP, on Friday pointed out her Liberal colleague's unfortunate mistake

Laila Goodridge, a Conservative MP, on Friday pointed out her Liberal colleague’s unfortunate mistake

On Monday, another Conservative gave a detailed account of the scene. 

John Brassard described the ‘distressing occurrence’, and asked the Speaker whether it was potentially contempt of Parliament, and whether virtual parliament sessions should be ended.

‘Those who witnessed the events quite clearly saw the Liberal MP enter what appeared to be a toilet stall in one of the men’s washrooms located on this very floor of this very building,’ Brassard said. 

‘The visible stonework, wooden door, and the stainless-steel door hinges and coat hook on the back of that door, which is part of the long side of the stall, all looked quite familiar.’

Brassard said that the camera was sitting on a ‘ledge or ridge on the wall, just above the back of the toilet.’

He said he was shocked and horrified. 

‘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.

The Speaker of the House looked taken aback on Friday as she was informed of what others were seeing

The Speaker of the House looked taken aback on Friday as she was informed of what others were seeing 

Canada's parliament is pictured, in Ottawa

Canada’s parliament is pictured, in Ottawa

Ali was deeply apologetic.

‘I want to take this opportunity to apologize sincerely and unreservedly to all members of the parliament for the unfortunate event that transpired last Friday,’ he told the House of Commons via Zoom.

‘I ask that the House and its members to forgive me for my lapse in judgment. 

‘I take this matter extremely seriously and I promise never to repeat this error again.’

Deputy Speaker Chris D’Entremont ruled that he considered the matter closed following the ‘sincere apology’ from Ali.

‘I do take this opportunity to, again, encourage all members to always be vigilant when participating remotely in proceedings of the House,’ said D’Entremont. 

‘If you don’t have to have the camera on, turn it off. 

‘If you don’t have to be in voting, turn it off.’

Yet critics of the system pointed out that it was not the first time a Liberal MP was caught in a compromising situation while attending virtual Parliament.

Will Amos, 47, representing Pontiac in Quebec, was caught naked on camera while changing and then admitted to urinating in a mug while attending a committee session. 

He did not run again in the 2021 election.

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