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

Just Posted

Search continues for wolf, senior citizen being transferred to Vancouver

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Sunken Gardens bloom from deeply seeded efforts

Garden club members are rooted in dedication

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read