Tories want Parliament declared ‘essential service,’ regular House sittings


OTTAWA — Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer wants Parliament declared an essential service so a reduced number of MPs can resume their House of Commons duties amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Scheer says his Conservatives are proposing a motion to do that because he says daily briefings by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from his home are not good enough to hold the government accountable.

He says MPs need to be able to ask questions on behalf of their constituents across the country.

Scheer says today that up to 50 MPs should be allowed in the House for “normal” sittings, starting Monday, and that 18 of them should be Conservatives, proportionate to his party’s standings in the full 338-member chamber.

Currently, the Commons has turned into a special COVID-19 committee, meeting three times a week, twice virtually and once in person.

Trudeau says he wants to see a functioning Parliament, and is open to a “hybrid” model where some MPs could participate via videoconferencing.


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