Home Government 43rd Parliament of Canada NDP wants House of Commons to reconvene a week early

NDP wants House of Commons to reconvene a week early

Thursday January 14, 2021 | NATIONAL

by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends

The House of Commons is set to reconvene on Monday January 25 but NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wants MPs back into the active legislative process doing “the work of the House” sooner than that. [ House of Commons schedule ]

“Canadians are worried about how they’ll get through the second wave of COVID-19 and need solutions to the problems they face,” says NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. He believes Parliamentarians must get back to work so the government can get help to people without delay.

There are many processes around the work of MP’s offices, the prime minister’s office, and all aspects of the House of Commons and Parliamentary Buildings that could very well be still in ramp-up mode at this start of a new year. Preparation for the session starting January 25 likely comes with a heavy workload for staffers.

“Canadians have questions about access to sick leave when they are sick but need to work to make ends meet; about supports for businesses who have had to close their doors; about when they or their loved ones will be able to get vaccinated; about Indigenous communities who do not have access to the same health care as others in Canada; and about our seniors, our elders and our loved ones who are living in long-term care homes which appear to be the most severely hit,” said the NDP Leader.

43rd parliament, seats
Distribution and seating plans of 338 Members of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons. [Source: House of Commons – December 2020]

Last summer, Members of Parliament were able to sit in a virtual Committee of the Whole format, which allowed for a less partisan and more fulsome dialogue to take place regarding the crisis, says Singh. Now the NDP proposes that such a working climate could be replicated within similar parameters. A unanimous consent motion could be passed to ensure that participation can be as broad as possible while limiting the number of in-person attendees due to public health advice against travelling and large gatherings.

“If legislation aimed at helping Canadians through the pandemic is ready to be introduced, parliamentarians must be back as soon as possible to ensure that help reaches workers without delay,” said Singh. “This is an unprecedented time in Canadian history, so we need to put partisanship aside and work together for the benefit of all Canadians.”

The NDP were instrumental in making sure that the CERB level was sufficient last year for Canadians who needed that, and pushed for the sick-pay benefit that is now available to people who must stay home if ill with COVID-19.