OTTAWA – Conservative MP Ed Fast accused Canada’s environment minister of using a bicycle as a prop in the background of his video during a session of the hybrid parliament on Monday.
Fast raised a point of the order after the question period, arguing that Minister Steven Gilbault hung the bike behind him “to make a statement about his environmental credits”.
“Mr. Chairman, the point is that there is a rule that what you cannot do directly, you cannot do indirectly. What the minister has done is openly using a prop as he can now do it. Doing it from the safety of another office,” Fast said.
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Hybrid Parliament means that MPs can be present virtually or in person while doing business in the House of Commons.
Speaker Anthony Rota told members earlier in the day that using props to illustrate a point or promote a position is “contrary to our rules and practices” and that members can express opinions through words.
NDP MP Daniel Blackie then said in the House of Commons, “Only a Conservative can see the bicycle as a partisan symbol.”
Rota once again reminded that the background should be as neutral as possible.
Guillebolt responded to Fast’s comments on Twitter by sarcastically saying, “I should also remove my plants and books, other dangerous props…”
“Bikes existed long before the introduction of virtual parliament. In fact, it has also been months since I was taking the question as the Minister of Heritage. Strange that after almost a year this has become an issue.
Virtually participating MPs have also been advised to continue to adhere to the parliamentary dress code, which requires men to wear jackets, shirts and ties as per rules.
They have also been warned not to wear “messaging” COVID-19 masks.