Canada’s House of Commons to reconvene today with a familiar seat map but a new set of challenges
Canada’s House of Commons will reconvene today after nearly five months with a seat map that looks very much like the one from the last session of Parliament.
Government House Leader Mark Holland told CBC News today that the first order of business today would be electing a Speaker to preside over the chamber’s proceedings. This would be followed by reconstituting the hybrid model that allows Members of Parliament (MPs)to dial in from outside Ottawa and enforcing a new vaccine mandate for parliamentarians.
After weeks of confrontational vaccine mandate and threats of a challenge to the new vaccination rules, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole confirmed to Radio-Canada over the weekend that all Conservative MPs are now either vaccinated or have secured a medical exemption to the requirement.
Faced with an organized challenge to his leadership in the form of a petition from a now-former caucus colleague, O’Toole refused to say how many of his caucus colleagues were able to claim an exemption from the vaccine mandate. An MP can be exempted if they have proof of “a medical contraindication to full vaccination” according to the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE), the committee of MPs that essentially governs the House.
A hybrid Parliament where some MPs are physically present in the Commons while others speak and vote remotely is being insisted by Holland, who wants the dual format to continue until at least June 2022.
“It’s absolutely imperative we continue with this and the flexibility it provides,” he said. “I don’t want to be coming back in March re-litigating all of this, wasting precious House time,” CBC News reports said.