Andrew Scheer is demanding that the Liberal government, in return for the Tories’ support on postponing Monday’s scheduled return of all 338 MPs to Parliament, agree to hold frequent in-person sittings of question period in the House of Commons.
Last Saturday when the House re-opened for an Emergency Passage of a bill - Even with a smaller crew of MPs Saturday - approximately 40 staff were called to the West Block — extra security staff, cleaners, transcribers, interpreters, clerks, and broadcast technicians, plus, of course, political staff.
NDP House leader Peter Julian told HuffPost his party is more in line with the Tories. The NDP supports the idea of having an in-person question period with party leaders once a week, the B.C. MP said, and daily virtual question periods the rest of the week so MPs back in their ridings can ask ministers questions.
“Everyone understands that given that parliamentarians are vectors for spreading the virus… any gathering of MPs even with the reduced Parliament has to be done prudently,” Julian said by phone. But “the competition between parties and ideas makes for better government,” he said, and “in-person accountability checks are not a bad idea.”
“We need to have a balance,” he said. “Meeting every day in Ottawa is dangerous and can’t protect the health and safety of the public or the people who work on the Hill, but having a reduced format once in a while or once a week with a reduced number of MPs could work in Ottawa.”
The Liberals have pushed to have a virtual Parliament to minimize public health risks while ensuring debate and accountability..
Because the parties could not agree on the issue of In-Person Question Period - The House of Commons is scheduled to return Monday - all 338 members. While the Senate has extended its adjournment until June 2