Scheer Wants Parliament To Be Declared An Essential Service With Only 50 People Allowed In

He thinks virtual meetings aren't a replacement for Parliament.
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Canada's Parliament Could Be An Essential Service If Andrew Scheer Gets His Way

Even though provinces are reopening, Ottawa hasn't been getting back to normal. One party leader has some suggestions on how restarting the government should go. If Andrew Scheer gets his way, Canada's Parliament could be deemed an essential service.

Scheer announced on May 22 what his party is doing to get Parliament back up and running again. 

"Conservatives have put a motion on notice that calls on the House to declare Parliament to be an essential service," he said.

By his party's calculations, Scheer said that the House of Commons can "easily" hold 50 MPs while still allowing for safe distances to be maintained.

That's only about 15% of the 338 MPs whom Canadians have elected.

The outgoing Conservative leader wants regular sittings to resume on May 25 with that reduced number of people in the House.

Scheer said he is open to hearing suggestions from other parties about how this would work as long as normal Parliament resumes.

That could include using technology to let MPs video call in if they can't be in Ottawa.

"I strongly believe that we can return to normal parliamentary business, do our jobs in the House while still respecting public health guidelines," Scheer said.

The Conservative leader wants a return to the normal parliamentary schedule, which is five days a week, with the ability to introduce legislation and time for debate.

Currently, MPs meet virtually through a video conference call twice a week and in person once a week in the House of Commons with a limited number of people.

That's solely to deal with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The virtual committee meetings are not a replacement for Parliament nor are the Prime Minister's daily press conferences in front of Rideau Cottage," Scheer said.

Scheer has only called into two of those meetings since they started on April 28.

He wants the powers of Parliament to be restored.

Scheer accused the government of hiding information and picking which questions they want to answer and when.

He also said he has concerns about how Justin Trudeau is conducting himself, and the decisions he's made since the beginning.

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