Chris Warkentin, Member of Parliament for Grande Prairie – Mackenzie, called for Members of Parliament from all parties to join Conservatives in a return of Parliament in a safe and responsible way that respects public health guidelines and provides the government oversight that Canadians deserve.
“Parliament is an essential service and Canadians expect and deserve their representatives to keep the government accountable for its decisions,” Warkentin said. “Canadians across the country need to tell their MPs that they expect Parliament to perform all of its responsibilities.”
“The current operation of Parliament has limited the scope and depth of debate,” Warkentin noted. “Conservatives believe that Members of Parliament are capable of both providing constructive suggestions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and debating legislation and government decisions that are affecting Canadians.”
Last week, Conservatives put the following motion on notice that calls on the House to declare Parliament to be an essential service, and calls on party Whips to work with the Speaker to determine how many MPs can safely meet in the Chamber to debate and vote on legislation, while respecting public health guidelines:
That the House recognize that its deliberations during the COVID-19 pandemic have been to the benefit of Canadians, recall that the House has previously sat during wars, pandemics, economic depressions and national unity challenges, and, therefore, declares itself to be an “essential service”; and, in preparation for a resumption of its regular sitting schedule, calls upon the whips of the recognized parties and authorizes the Speaker, with the agreement of those whips, to continue to respect health guidelines for physical distancing and determine: (a) a maximum number of members present in the Chamber, with the objective of accommodating approximately 50 Members simultaneously (subject to adjustment if public health guidance changes); (b) a manner of voting; and (c) a mechanism whereby all standing and special committees may hold virtual meetings while exercising the same powers they possess at physical meetings in Ottawa
“During this tough time, we need to keep the government accountable so that Canadians are protected. I’ll continue to bring the priorities of the Peace Country to the table as we hold the government to account.”