Dan Albas

Dan Albas

COLUMN: Considering in-person or hybrid Parliament meetings

MP Dan Albas addresses choice of whether MPs need to be present in the House of Commons for debates

This week, more than two months since the September federal election, finally the House of Commons is back in session again.

The first order of business is always to elect a new speaker, which is a democratic process voted on by all members of Parliament.

This year there were seven candidates for speaker before the MP from Nipissing—Timiskaming Ontario, Anthony Rota, was re-elected to this same role he had in the previous Parliament.

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With the speaker elected, the next order of business was the throne speech, that was for the first time since her appointment as Governor General, read by Mary Simon in three different languages.

The title of this year’s throne speech was “Building a resilient economy” and contained many of the same promises that the Liberals made in the recent election.

Over the next week in the house, there will be debate on the throne speech from both government and the opposition.

There are also some ongoing procedural debates occurring in Ottawa this week.

Topics such as how vaccination and medical exemptions are regulated within the House of Commons is one active topic of discussion.

Another is the ongoing debate between in-person Parliament and a hybrid Parliament where MPs do not have to physically be in the House of Commons to participate in votes or debate.

The Liberal government is also expected to be tabling some government bills that they expect to be passed before the House rises in mid-December.

When these bills are tabled, I will provide more information on them in future weekly reports.

Finally, this week I have joined with other opposition MPs from British Columbia and have requested an emergency debate regarding the disastrous flooding situation in parts of British Columbia including the communities of Merritt and Princeton in my riding.

At the time of writing my report this week I can announce that the request for the emergency debate has been granted and will occur during the evening hours of Wednesday, Nov. 24.

I have been in regular contact with elected leaders and members of both Princeton and Merritt and have serious concerns that adequate levels of provincial and federal government resources can be delivered in the manner requested and as needed.

This will be a topic I will raise both provincially and federally to ensure communities such as Merritt and Princeton receive the supports, they need.

My question this week relates to hybrid versus in-person Parliament. Is it your preference that MPs show up to work in Ottawa to participate in votes and debate or are your supportive of the hybrid model where debate and votes can occur with MPs back in their home riding?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola and the Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

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ColumnistFederal Politics