Canada's conservatives say House of Commons should be considered an 'essential service'
Ottawa/IBNS: Amidst continuing discussion by Canada's political parties on bringing back Parliament, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that regardless of the decision by all parties, the parliament would continue to function with a reduced number of members physically present three times a week for some time, media reports said.
Under the leadership of Andrew Scheer, the Conservatives had been pushing for Parliament to return to normal functions on Monday saying virtual committee meetings are not a replacement for Parliament.
The Conservatives said that the House of Commons should be considered an "essential service" with the goal of accommodating about 50 MPs at once and there should be a plan for voting and a way for all committees to hold virtual meetings with the same powers they have during in-person meetings.
The House, which was adjourned since March because of the global pandemic has resumed only to pass legislation on emergency financial benefits is scheduled to return Monday, and an agreement would be reached among the parties on how the proceedings will unfold.
A special committee of 338 MPs formed to deal only with matters related to COVID-19 had been meeting twice a week virtually and in-person on Wednesdays.
According to the House Speaker's office, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 linked to in-person House sittings or committee meetings to date.
"Any suspected case of COVID-19 within the House of Commons community is monitored very closely, in keeping with a protocol established based on advice from public health officials," said Spokesperson Heather Bradley and added normal service levels are not required for recent sittings of the House or committee meetings.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)