Trudeau once again doubled his party’s view, saying it would be “irresponsible” for lawmakers to sit in the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic.
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” We are in a situation where our public health authorities, our experts and our common sense tell us that we must continue to limit our movements ” he told reporters on Sunday. “We must continue to work from home, we must continue to do everything we can to ensure that people are protected from the spread of this pandemic.. ”
Without the unanimous consent of the parties to a different arrangement, Parliament is expected to resume on Monday, which means that up to 338 MPs and their staff would meet in Ottawa.
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Public health officials have advised all Canadians to avoid group gatherings and have advised against non-essential travel.
According to Trudeau, his government has offered to meet “in a certain way” once a week and hold virtual sessions once the technology becomes available.
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” We proposed and it was accepted – widely accepted by other opposition parties that we should have accountability measures, “said Trudeau. “We should have a functioning parliament, but we have to do it responsibly, and that is why coming back every week for questions and to work on new legislation is something that I think is reasonable and acceptable to most parties. “
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Trudeau said he was “perfectly happy” to answer questions from the media every day and “looks forward to answering questions from opposition parties.”
“But it must be done responsibly,” he said. “And for now, the Conservatives are not taking a responsible approach.”
What did the opposition say?
Spokesman for New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement to Global News on Saturday that small meetings of Parliament – such as those held to pass COVID-19 emergency kits – combined with certain meetings virtual “probably give us a path to follow. ”
The party said there should be a way for opposition members to ask questions of the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
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“We will continue to work with others to make it happen and make sure we can deliver to Canadians while respecting the best advice from expert public health,” the statement said.
In addition, in a tweet on Saturday, Elizabeth May, former leader of the Green Party and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, said that the Greens would not give unanimous consent to frequently convene Parliament “until the health boards public say it makes sense. “
“Giving the Conservatives a spotlight on QP is no reason to get together,” she wrote.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said on Sunday that it was “fallacious” to suggest that the 338 MPs would be present on Monday.
“Only 20 MPs are required for the quorum and to pretend otherwise to try to force the opposition to accept a bad deal is a mistake,” he said. “One session per week is unacceptable, even if it is possibly supplemented by a virtual session. “
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The Conservatives say that several meetings a week are necessary to hold the government to account.
Scheer said that in the last two emergency sessions, 32 MPs were present.
“This has allowed us to follow public health advice and continue to carry out our duties,” he said. “Twice, Conservatives from ridings across the country have participated in the debate, and we have achieved better results for Canadians because of this.”
He said his party is proposing that a model be implemented three times a week to “make sure Canadians get the real help they need.”
“There has to be oversight and accountability,” he said.
A snapshot of when and how Canada could reopen after COVID-19 closures
Asked by reporters on Sunday if an agreement had been reached, Trudeau said no, but said he was “very close”.
” I think it seems very, very reasonable that we can agree that we need a parliament that operates responsibly in these difficult times, “he said. “Most parties are making responsible proposals, and I certainly hope the Conservatives will agree to do the responsible thing here.”
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According to the latest figures released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, at 11:00 am Sunday, 33,922 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed across the country.
The majority of cases have been reported in Quebec and Ontario, which recorded 17,521 and 10,578 infections, respectively.
To date, the virus has claimed the lives of 1,506 people in Canada.
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