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Environment minister’s bicycle a political prop that breaks House rule, Conservative MP says

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OTTAWA —
Conservative MP Ed Fast accused Canada’s environment minister of using a bicycle as a prop in the backdrop of his video during a session of hybrid Parliament on Monday.

Fast raised a point of order following question period, arguing that Minister Steven Guilbeault hung the bike behind him to “make a statement about his environmental cred.”

“Mr. Speaker, the point is, there’s a rule that you cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly. What the minister has done is blatantly use a prop because he’s now doing it from the safety of some other office,” Fast said.

Hybrid Parliament means MPs can appear virtually or in-person when doing business in the House of Commons.

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Speaker Anthony Rota told members earlier in the day that using props to illustrate a point or to promote a position is “contrary to our rules and practices” and that members can express opinions through words.

NDP MP Daniel Blaikie then rose in the House of Commons to say “only a Conservative could see a bicycle as partisan symbol.”

Rota once again made the reminder that backdrops should be as neutral as possible.

Guilbeault responded to Fast’s comments on Twitter noting, sarcastically, “I should also remove my plants and books, other dangerous props…”

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“The bike has been there long before we started doing virtual Parliament. In fact, it has also been there for months as I was taking questions as heritage minister. Strange that after almost a year, it’s become an issue,” he said.

MPs participating virtually have also been advised to continue to follow the Parliamentary dress code, which according to the rules requires men to wear a jacket, shirt and tie.

They’ve also been warned not to wear COVID-19 masks “that deliver messages.”

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