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

Vernon officer returns soccer ball and boy’s smile

RCMP officer retrieves errant soccer ball, returns it to five-year-old with cruiser lights flashing

Former Vernon psychologist disciplined

Complaint filed against Dr. Kevin Miller over conduct in context of treatment provided to client

Queen Silver Star tradition upheld despite COVID-19

Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby, Armstrong and Enderby youth can apply

Kelowna RCMP search for missing teen

Reina Hodgins was last seen Aug. 9, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at her residence

UPDATE: Lines cleared on Vernon street

Power and telephone/cable wires pulled from house

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Mitchell’s Musings: Hockey’s comeback begins in earnest in August

Sports is back. Well, at least sports in a bubble is back.… Continue reading

UFO trackers set their sights on Revelstoke skies

Rob Freeman UFO World Explorer and crew went up Sale Mountain

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Most Read