An emotional Mr. Moore, looking as though he was about to burst into tears, defiantly and convincingly proclaimed his innocence and respect for a parliamentary institution that most days, and this one in particular, deserves only derision.
Consider the exchange between reporters and the New Democrat MP who raised the objection, invisible rookie Irene Mathyssen, and you'll be demanding a refund for the $1-million per day in taxes it costs to keep the Commons operating in the gutter.
Q Can you describe the garments she was wearing?
A Well I, I would describe it, I suppose, as soft porn, Playboy type stuff ... it was a flimsy, a flimsy negligee kind of thing, very small, very ... it was lingerie ... scanty lingerie.
Q White or...?
A It was dark in colour and she was a brunette.
Q A brunette?
A A brunette. Thank you.
Martin scolds Mathyssen for her partisan attack, which of course was amplified by Karen Redman, although Don doesn't mention Redman's complicity:
Let me get this straight. An MP looks over Mr. Moore's broad shoulder and glimpses something -- she's not sure if it was a photo from Mr. Moore's Hawaiian holiday, an ad for the upcoming Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition or what -- yet whispers her outrage to another MP behind Mr. Moore's back after the offending laptop has been closed. Then, almost 24 hours later, she rises on a point of privilege to blindside a fellow MP with incendiary allegations that he was viewing in-appropriate material.
Nothing prevented her from taking a closer look the night before and tapping Mr. Moore on the shoulder to express a concern. Ms. Mathyssen, in striving to preserve the "dignity" and "respect" of the elected House, decided to simply unleash a drive-by smear in the name of scoring cheap political points.
Hansard has now documented the whole tawdry exchange (around the 15:20 mark):
Mrs. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, last evening I was in the House to raise a question on behalf of my constituents. At that time, I saw the member for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam with an open laptop on his desk and on the screen was an image of a scantily clad woman. This was in my clear view and in the clear view of the public gallery.
I feel very strongly that this is not only disrespectful of women, but it is disrespectful of the House. It reflects an attitude of objectifying women. We know that when women and other human beings are objectified and dehumanized, they become the objects of violence and abuse.
On the eve of December 6, we have to be mindful that we represent all the people of our communities, men and women, and that we are national leaders here. This is a place of power. That power must be used respectfully and it must be used with humility.
I ask that the member apologize to members of the House.
Mr. James Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, with respect, I do not have the faintest idea what my colleague is talking about. Members in the House who have known me as a member of the House since 2000 know I treat the House with respect. With respect to what she is alleging, I do not have the faintest idea what she is talking about.
I have to say that whatever is being talked about does not strike me as being a point of order. The House some time ago allowed members to bring computers into the House. What appears on the screens of computers is not under the control of the Chair. I would suggest that if members have concerns about this, they raise it with the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. If it wants to pass a rule saying computers are not allowed in the House, it can do so.
I am not getting into anything about content on computers. I am sure the hon. member for London—Fanshawe was not suggesting that the Chair control in any way the computer screens of hon. members. I cannot do that.
Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. I would like to point out that I believe all members of the House are honourable. I know this is a very serious allegation. I would hope the member, who has been accused of this point of order, would look in his heart and perhaps look on his laptop on a day—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Karen Redman: Mr. Speaker, this is a serious allegation and I would hope the member, who has been named, would come back with more of an investigation to be able to—
I have dealt with this matter. I do not believe that this kind of allegation is a point of order in the House. I will allow the hon. parliamentary secretary to say something more, but I am very concerned. This is not a matter of House procedure.
Mr. James Moore:
Mr. Speaker, with respect, I have taken great efforts throughout my political career to treat all my colleagues with the deepest of respect. I do not know where this attack is coming from, where these allegations are coming from. It is utterly baseless, utterly nonsensical.
I thank my colleagues every day and my constituents every day for giving me the honour of serving in the House. I would never do anything like what is being described to me today. I take great offence to what is being alleged here. I would never do what has been talked about. I respect the House too much to even consider doing what has been described to me. I love this place, I love serving my constituents and I am offended that this has even been alleged.
So far, James Moore's website is the only one I can see that has referenced the matter.
Nothing on Irene Mathyssen's. Does she plan to add this exchange to her "Irene in Parliament" page?
Karen Redman's website seems strangely inaccessible at this time... Will she be issuing an apology?
I'm not holding my breath.
Update: Website back up but no apology posted yet.
* * * *This article contains some interesting background information:
Star - 'Porn' furor grips MP's.
MPs have been allowed to bring mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptop computers into the Commons for a number of years, said Heather Bradley, a spokesperson for Speaker Peter Milliken.
Since December 2004, when the chamber received a number of technological upgrades, MPs have had access to wireless Internet. Unlike many work environments, however, there are no restrictions placed on what websites politicians can look at.
* * * *
Friday Update: NDP apologizes after accusations...
Sandra Buckler, spokeswoman for the Prime Minister's Office, said she looked forward to Mathyssen's retraction in the House.
"Obviously, with the apology we look forward to the member making a statement to completely exonerate Mr. Moore," said Buckler.
Liberal MP Karen Redman sided with Mathyssen, calling it a "serious allegation" and urging Moore to "look in his heart, perhaps look on his laptop."