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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Garden-sharing map connects Victoria landowners and gardeners

U-Map created by Young Agrarians after COVID-19 created uptick in garden matching requests

Saanich wins award for climate plan cut from 2020 budget

‘It’s truly an exceptional plan,’ says councillor disappointed with lack of funding

Oak Bay Grade 8 students end time at Monterey with drive-through goodbye

School holds socially-distanced completion ceremony

CRD warns of toxic algae bloom at Thetis Lake Regional Park

Visitors advised to avoid swimming in lake, keep pets out of water

Saanich police, pound respond to possible cougar sighting

Cougar possibly seen in area of 4500-block of Chatterton Way

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read