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Opinion: How to explain the Liberal MP whizzing into a cup story to your great-grandma

It's not an easy one to explain, but here goes
william amos clothed
Liberal MP William Amos for Pontiac, Quebec in his office, clothed.

A little more than a month after Liberal MP William Amos "accidentally" became the first person to ever appear nude in a virtual House of Commons sitting, he was back in the news this week for a reason which would be even more difficult to explain to my great-grandmother than his first transgression.

However, in the interest of bringing voters of every age up to speed on these recent events, I've attempted to explain the entire story (below) as if I were telling it to my grandmother's mother, who is not at all tech-savvy.

Please pull notes from this if you feel the need to have this conversation with the elders in your family.


Okay, so first off, Members of Parliament have been meeting what they call 'virtually' over the past few months, because of COVID-19.

Meeting virtually is like how we FaceTime with you on your iPhone, but a little different. It's like a group FaceTime chat. Lots of faces on the screen.

At my work, we've been doing them every day for the past year or so, since we've mostly been working from home. The government is doing the same. I mean, basically everybody who works at an office is doing it.

For the first couple of weeks it was a little weird, and people had to get used to having their microphones turned on and speaking in turn.

Last month something happened which made it look like the Liberal Party of Canada didn't take much time training their people to use it. At least that's what it looked like...

[Great-grandma asks "Why, what happened?"]

So in mid-April the government held a virtual House of Commons meeting, and during that meeting MP William Amos appeared buck naked on everybody's screens.

[Great-grandma gasps, then blushes and looks at the floor.]

It's crazy, right? But the explanation he gave was that he was changing into his suit after a run, and he didn't realize he was in a meeting with his camera on. That reasoning seemed to resonate with people.

[Great-grandma asks how we even knew this happened.]

One of the opposition MPs took a screen grab of him in the nude, then shared it with the media.

[Great-grandma tilts her head slightly and whispers sternly through clenched teeth, "Do I even want to know what a screen grab is?!"]

No, no, no, it's nothing dirty... well, not always. A screen grab is a lot like taking a picture of the TV. Remember that April Fools when you took a photo of Matlock with your camera and you tried to trick grandpa into believing that Dean Hargove had stopped by the house? It's like that.

So anyway, the Liberals were going on about how awful it was that people couldn't even make an honest mistake anymore and show their weiners in the House of Commons, and a bunch of partisans and people in the media took the same position, and...

[Great-grandma interrupts and says she thinks she saw Uncle Ron share a link to something about it on Facebook, but she didn't click it because "that Ronnie is always on about something or other."]

That was the one, yeah. It was being framed as though our collective morals and Canadian society were both on the brink of collapse because someone shared a photo of an MP who maybe should have known better... or, looking at it now, who maybe did it on purpose?

But he apologized and begged for forgiveness and understanding, then appealed to people's humanity by saying he didn't want to be known as the MP for mistakenly appeared naked in the House for the rest of his life.

And I mean we won't remember him as that, because then this week the same guy... he... he...

[Great-grandma puts a hand on my knee and says "It's okay, Bobby. I'm not going to get mad at you for telling me what happened."]

Okay... [deep breath, then a sigh]... so the same guy, this Liberal MP, he was in another virtual meeting and he had to pee. For some reason he decided to just whip it out right there instead of waiting for a bio break... and he was apparently caught on the virtual meeting whizzing into a cup in his office instead of going to the bathroom to do it. And despite his very obvious poor decision-making skills, he's still sitting as an MP.

[Great-grandma doesn't even bother asking me to explain what a "bio break" is, and instead surprises me by sharing her opinion that "At this rate, Trudeau's Liberals will be releasing a sex tape by Canada Day!" She says she saw something similar happen on Matlock once, and I don't ask her to explain further.]