Canadian MPs meet online in first virtual session of House of Commons

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OTTAWA — Canada’s first-ever virtual House of Commons is underway with almost 90 per cent of all MPs dialed in.

The House of Commons special committee on COVID-19 is meeting via videoconference this afternoon and shortly after the noon start time, 297 of 338 MPs had dialed into it.

The special committee was struck as a way to circumvent the rules that govern how official sittings must occur, while further discussions are held about whether those rules can be changed to allow virtual sittings of the House officially.

Just as many Canadians have discovered moving in-person meetings to the virtual world, MPs experienced some technical glitches in the opening moments, mostly as they figured out how to both hear each other and unmute themselves.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also had to pause his opening speech because something in his office was ringing, though unlike the real House of Commons, Speaker Anthony Rota did not chastise him for the interruption.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu was the first member of cabinet to issue a statement, thanking front-line and essential workers for their service, and Canadians for doing their part to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada.


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