Tories to oppose hybrid parliament proposal, say it weakens government scrutiny

Conservative MPs will oppose a government proposal today to return to a hybrid format in the House of Commons, which has allowed MPs to participate virtually in proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen says her party fears hybrid sittings “let the government off the hook” and give ministers an excuse not to turn up to answer questions in the Commons. MPs will today debate whether to resume the hybrid format, with both the Liberals and NDP supporting the move. They argue that it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and allows MPs who are ill, or have sick family members, the ability to participate from their homes or offices. The Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois both want to fully return to normal in-person sittings. Bergen argued that the hybrid format is designed to protect the government from “scrutiny and accountability,” not to protect Canadians from the deadly virus. “The fact is that the government has been let off the hook because they haven’t been here,” she said, adding that she sometimes sat in the chamber during the last session of Parliament without a single Liberal MP or minister in the House.

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