Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Critics to MPs: You Don't Have to Turn on the Red Light for Decorum: MPs: You Do Have to Turn on the Red Light

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Critics to MPs: You Don't Have to Turn on the Red Light for Decorum: MPs: You Do Have to Turn on the Red Light

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - Members of Parliament returning from a break week on Monday will be ready for their close-up but insist they're having trouble finding the camera that's ready for them.

MPs on the House Affairs Committee have raised the idea of an illuminated red light atop the discreetly placed cameras to let them know where to look when they're on their feet to speak in the House of Commons.

Some of the committee members insist the request has nothing to do with the fact that some of their colleagues have become minor YouTube sensations after being captured dozing or elaborately fussing over their locks.

"No one has an objection to being on camera, that's part of the job that we do," Tom Lukiwski, Conservative MP for Regina, told the Hill Times which originally reported the story.

"But I think most Members would just like to know if in fact they're in the camera shot, and if there's wide-angle shots, many times Members are caught unaware."

Others openly admit that kind of discomfiting image is exactly what they're hoping to leave on the cutting room floor.

"Sometimes members of Parliament might be doing some things that distract them and it could be an embarrassing thing possibly," said Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, who attended the committee hearing when the issue was discussed.

"I think MPs just want to have a sense of which cameras might be on them or if they're in the angle of the shot."

One version of a video showing Quebec MP Jonathan Genest-Jourdain primping and combing his hair while studying his image in a reflective cellphone and falling asleep attracted 136,000 hits as of last week. A clip of Calgary MP Rob Anders struggling and failing to stay awake while in the Commons was viewed by about 77,000 people.

Anders said MPs should be forgiven the occasional inadvertent nap.

"They're human beings and what goes on in the chamber goes on in the chamber," he said in an interview.

Committee chairman Joe Preston, Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, said a red light wouldn't necessarily prevent MPs from ending up on blooper reels, but that isn't the idea. …

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