Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)

MP REPORT: Parliament still working, despite what some are saying

Alistair MacGregor is the MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.

Alistair MacGregor

MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

Members of Parliament are still working in the roles the people of Canada elected them to do, namely holding the government to account and scrutinizing its various policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though the House of Commons has been, with the exceptions of March 24/25, April 11, April 20, April 29, May 13, May 25/26, and June 10, effectively adjourned since March 13, there is still debate and discussion within the chamber. We are now utilizing a hybrid model, which allows MPs to attend either in person or virtually through the Zoom platform.

There were serious concerns from public health officials in having the full House of Commons resume, as it would have required all 338 of us to fly back and forth across Canada, potentially acting as the perfect vectors for the spread of COVID-19. Even if only a small number of MPs were to participate in person and respect physical distancing rules, it would still leave many constituencies across Canada without effective representation, especially because there is no mechanism to allow for remote voting. It is certainly not a replacement for the full House of Commons, but it is an adequate measure for the time being.

The Special Committee on COVID-19, composed of the entire membership of the House of Commons, and the various standing committees that are meeting regularly each week are providing MPs with an appropriate avenue to question all aspects of the government’s strategy to combat this pandemic. The five-minute back and forth question rounds are proving to be a far superior option to the 35 seconds that are given during a usual Question Period. They are allowing for more substantive exchanges and follow-up questions, especially if a minister does not give a satisfactory response.

The regular calendar had the House of Commons sitting only until June 23, meaning that there was less than a month left to go before we adjourned until our scheduled return on Sept. 21. The House does not normally sit through July or August, but the NDP caucus managed to negotiate sittings on July 8th, July 22nd, August 12, and August 26th so that we can hold the government to account through the summer.

My goal through this pandemic has always been to get more help to more people more quickly. We now have a model where every MP has the chance to participate and represent their constituents, whether virtually through the Zoom platform or in-person in the House chamber. Throughout this pandemic, we have constructively used our leverage in the House of Commons to make programs and benefits better and have worked to provide more accountability from the government while respecting the physical distancing recommendations of our public health officials. Despite this pandemic, Canadians have continued working hard, and as Members of Parliament, it is important that we do the same.

Alistair MacGregor is the MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.

federal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police are looking to identify suspects in an Oct. 10 report of mischief in at a construction site in the 2800-block of Peatt Road in Langford. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP seeks suspects after trio spray paints Langford construction site

Three individuals caught on camera hopping a fence on Peatt Road

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

A sentencing hearing began for Joel Conway who was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault last year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Saanich man sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into woman’s home and sexually assaulting her

Crown is asking Joel Conway be sentenced to four years for both charges, to be served concurrent

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read