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MPs meeting to decide on resuming Parliament during pandemic

Last Updated May 25, 2020 at 5:44 am EDT

Members of Parliament arrive to take part in a Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The House of Commons is meeting Monday to decide, again, how it’s going to function as COVID-19 restrictions gradually lift across the country.

The governing Liberals are proposing four sittings a week of a special committee to talk about the pandemic and how the government is responding to it, using a hybrid system with some MPs in the Commons chamber in Ottawa and others participating by video conference.

They would also have four days scattered through the summer when MPs could press cabinet ministers on other issues.

The Liberals appear to have the NDP’s broad backing for the plan, which would be enough to get it passed today.

The Conservatives have been pushing for many more normal sittings of the Commons, with full-blown question periods and a chance to debate legislation, though with a limited number of MPs in the room to reduce the risks of spreading the novel coronavirus.

The House of Commons has been working on how to hold debates and votes with some MPs participating remotely, but hasn’t yet solved technical and security challenges.