Like many Canadians, Members of Parliament have largely been working from home or our constituency offices over the last two and a half months.
As of this coming Monday, the House of Commons is scheduled to resume normal operations.
That is, unless the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc once again decide that democracy is not an essential service.
While it was necessary to briefly suspend Parliament to protect the health and safety of Canadians, the intention was always to return to the important work of oversight and accountability, as soon as possible
No one is suggesting that all 338 MPs attend all at once, but there is simply no doubt that we can return to work in the House while respecting public health guidelines.
This is why our Conservative caucus opposed the Liberal’s plan to reduce in-person sittings to once weekly and two days of a “virtual Parliament” – which is nothing more than a Zoom call that has placed numerous restrictions on the proceedings and cannot come close to replacing a proper sitting.
This is made even more apparent by the inability of MPs to vote during a so-called “virtual Parliament” sitting, as well as the artificial limitation of the questions and debate to be only on the topic of COVID-19.
In fact, we have now seen multiple instances, both in “virtual Parliament”, and at a special sitting of the House, of the Liberal Ministers refusing to answer important questions on topics like government spending because it does not fall under the category of COVID-19.
It is abundantly clear that Prime Minister Trudeau prefers press conferences to Parliament. He wants an audience, not an Opposition. But the Prime Minister does not get to make that decision, nor can he govern by press conference. That is not democracy.
Conservatives strongly believe in the role of Parliament. It is vital and must be restored. And if MPs from other Parties do not believe that Parliament is an essential service, they should consider why they ran for office in the first place.
Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in spending, Canadians are still falling through the cracks of unnecessarily rigid government programs. It is our responsibility as Members of Parliament to represent our constituents, to find the flaws in these programs, and, through debate, to find the best way to help all those who need it.
No government should use a health crisis to effectively shut down democracy or to take away hard-won rights and freedoms. Parliament is a bulwark against the overreach of any Prime Minister.
We must be allowed to return.
I hope this information has been of interest to you.
Have a good weekend everyone.
Kelly Block, MP