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The reduced form allowed for a daily question period, but it didn’t allow for private member’s bills, opposition days or order paper questions, all legislative tools the opposition can use to hold the government to account. In a minority government, it also crucially offered no ability for the opposition to vote no confidence in the Liberals and trigger an election.
It also ended when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament in August.
We can’t be 338 MPs in the same room
Conservative house leader Gérard Deltell said his party wants to respect public health guidelines and doesn’t want to see all 338 MPs in the chamber, but they believe the House can conduct its business in person.
“We want to follow the rules, but we also want to see as much as possible, members in Ottawa,” he said.
Deltell, who was recently appointed to the job by new party leader Erin O’Toole, said he would not negotiate in public. He said the Conservatives do believe the public should be able to see their MPs cast a vote.
“The vote is so important, and especially when we’re talking about minority government, when we’re talking about a throne speech,” he said. “We need to see the member of parliament voting. Where does he stand.”
In June, the Conservatives proposed allowing MPs to cast votes in Ottawa, with a variety of in person means including having MPs vote in shifts or walk in a line past a house official who would record their vote.
Some MPs have reported difficulty flying back to Ottawa during the pandemic, airlines are offering fewer direct flights because of low passenger volumes and some provinces require people to quarantine.