FILE – Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises to ask for an extension of the sitting day in the House of Commons Parliament in the House of Commons Tuesday March 24, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Deadline looms for agreement on reopening House of Commons

With no agreement, the Commons could resume business as usual with all 338 MPs and their staff back at work

COVID-19 claimed another 160 lives across Canada Saturday as politicians in Ottawa continued to argue over how to conduct business in the House of Commons during the pandemic.

The Liberals and Opposition parties are still negotiating whether the Commons will re-open Monday, and under what terms.

If they fail to reach an accord before tomorrow, the Commons will resume business as usual with all 338 MPs and their staff back at work.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was hopeful an agreement would be reached that would maintain current guidelines for physical distancing.

Trudeau is proposing one in-person sitting each week, with a small number of MPs and extended time for question period. The Liberals are also proposing one additional session be held each week with another lengthy question period, but this one would be held virtually.

Only the Conservatives seem opposed to that plan, with leader Andrew Scheer demanding three in-person sittings per week, to hold the government to account for its response to the health crisis. Scheer has scheduled a news conference for 1:30 p.m. today to discuss the issue.

Except for two single-day sittings to pass emergency aid bills, Parliament has been adjourned since mid-March. And it was announced on Friday that the Senate, which was to resume Tuesday, will not return until June 2 at the earliest.

While there are signs some regions of the country may be closer to re-opening parts of the economy than others, caution remained the watchword as Canada and the United States moved yesterday to extend the border closure to all but essential traffic for another 30 days.

“Let us be very clear, while we want to be optimistic, we need to be absolutely cautious,” Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos said.

The total number of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada rose by 1,456 to 33,383 yesterday, with Quebec and Ontario accounting for the vast majority.

Sad reminders of COVID-19’s deadly threat were heard throughout the day as case numbers continued to climb in Canadian nursing homes and prisons.

In Quebec, 125 military personnel with medical expertise geared up to deploy to devastated nursing homes in the Montreal area after Premier Francois Legault issued a plea to Ottawa for help from the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Canadian Press

CoronavirusParliament

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Greater Victoria infrastructure get millions in investments to help with economic recovery

New community spaces, health centre, turf fields coming for region

Owners say loss of parking pushes businesses to the brink

New Penny Farthing patio ‘will be like New Orleans, or Las Vegas’

Victoria International Airport rolls out health and safety initiative

YYJ limits who can enter terminal along with other added safety measures

Greater Victoria housing market sees positive bump in June

Sales up by 76.8 per cent compared to May

Victoria Classic Boat Festival cancelled due to safety concerns

Organizers say Inner Harbour doesn’t provide enough space for physical distancing

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Most Read