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  • Writer's pictureStuart Benson

Amos exits federal politics

Party announces replacement candidate

Will Amos announced he will not be seeking re-election to be member of Parliament for the riding of Pontiac on Aug. 8, less than a month after announcing his return to parliamentary duties.

Pontiac MP William Amos  announced he will not be running for re-election. Low Down file photo
Pontiac MP William Amos announced he will not be running for re-election. Low Down file photo

He is not closing the door to politics or elected public service in the future, Amos wrote in a press release posted to his social media accounts just after 8:30 p.m., but had concluded it was not the right time to launch into another election campaign, and that he wanted to explore avenues toward a “better work/life balance.”

“I am proud of my Parliamentary legacy… from advocacy for climate action, rural internet investments and Indigenous reconciliation,” Amos wrote. “I want to thank my Parliamentary colleagues across all parties… but most of all, I want to thank Pontiac constituents for their understanding, support, and goodwill as I move into this next phase of my career.”

On Aug. 9, the Liberal Party of Canada announced to members that Sophie Chatel will replace Amos as the Pontiac Liberal candidate in the next federal election.

Chatel, who lives in the Pontiac, has worked with the Ministry of Finance and the Canada Revenue Agency, and is a graduate of the University of Montreal and the University of Sherbrooke.

'Intense and rewarding' six years as MP

Elected in 2015, Amos described his six years as the MP for Pontiac as “intense and rewarding,” representing the region through the flooding in 2017 and 2019, the 2018 tornado, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said taught him lessons in crisis management and empathy.

However, Amos dealt with two crises of his own — two web-cam related incidents, which led to him stepping away from his parliamentary duties for over a month.

On April 14, a screenshot of a nude Amos was leaked to social media and political reporters after it was captured on a feed available only to MPs and House of Commons staff, during a hybrid parliamentary session. In the screenshot Amos is seen fully nude, but for a fortuitously well-placed cellphone, in his Parliament Hill office.

The leader of the federal House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez called for an investigation into who shared the screenshot on April 15, calling the leak an act of “callous disrespect” and potentially criminal. Bloc Québécois member of Parliament Sébastien Lemire later apologized in the House of Commons on April 21 for having taken the screenshot, but claimed he had “no idea” how the photo was leaked to the media.

However, just over a month later, the Parliamentary Secretary of Science and Innovation had another mishap while attending a House of Commons session on May 26.

“Last night, while attending House of Commons proceedings virtually, in a non-public setting, I urinated without realizing I was on camera,” Amos wrote in a statement posted to his official Twitter account just after 10:30 p.m on May 27. “I am deeply embarrassed by my actions and the distress they may have caused anybody who witnessed them.”

Both incidents made international headlines, including stories by the BBC, CNN, and The New York Times, and featured in late-night comedy monologues by Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.

Following the second incident, Amos announced that he would be stepping aside from his parliamentary duties so he could “seek assistance” and establish a wellness plan to address stress and time management challenges.

Over a month later, Amos announced from his Chelsea constituency office on July 7 that he would be returning to his duties during a Zoom press-briefing for regional and local reporters, explaining that the briefing was part of a “progressive return” to his duties that had begun on June 21 and a return to regular constituent office hours the following week.

Amos told reporters that he had been dealing with the incidents by taking a step back to focus on family and surround himself with a team of health professionals to create and implement a comprehensive “wellness plan” to address the “root cause” of the on-camera incidents. The assessment, according to Amos’ team, was an “unhealthy overemphasis on doing too much,” and “hyper-active multitasking.”

At the time of the press conference, Amos told reporters that he still intended to stand for re-election in the next federal election.

“I love representing the Pontiac in Parliament,” Amos said on July 7. “When an election is called, I will be ready.”

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