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MPs to meet virtually Tuesday to discuss coronavirus measures

CORMAC MAC SWEENEY | posted Tuesday, Apr 28th, 2020

Federal politicians will be facing off in Ottawa on Tuesday but it will look much different than usual.

Members of Parliament will be holding their first virtual meeting since a majority of parties in the House of Commons agreed to hold just one in-person and two online meetings each week to respect health advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, small committees have met through video link, but never have all 338 MPs been asked to debate online like this.

This massive Zoom meeting will see the opposition hold the government to account and Conservatives say they are ready to question the Liberals on emergency stockpiles, gaps in the emergency benefits, and the restart of the economy.

“The Liberals have been slow to react, and their failures have cost Canadians,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said.

“The Prime Minister owes Canadians an explanation and a plan to fix his mistakes.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the economic restart needs to be a slow and cautious process.

“If we get this wrong, everything we have sacrificed over the past many weeks could have been in vain,” he explained.

This is not technically a sitting of the House, so it will be a different format.

MPs will be allowed a five-minute time slot to ask multiple questions of the prime minister and his cabinet.

On Wednesday, politicians will debate and vote on the government’s $9-billion aid package for students, but that will happen in person with a limited number of MPs.

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