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Conservatives meet amid uncertainty about plans for return of Parliament

Last Updated Sep 22, 2020 at 2:15 pm EDT

Morning light hits the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. Less than two weeks before Parliament is to resume sitting, no one knows how it is going to function amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Federal Conservatives say so far there’s no agreement on how members of Parliament will return to work with only one day to go before tomorrow’s speech from the throne.

Parties have been arguing for months over the best way for the House of Commons to function during COVID-19, with disagreement over how to protect the health and safety of MPs while ensuring full parliamentary representation and accountability.

The Liberal government wants a hybrid model: a limited number of MPs in the House of Commons in person and the rest attending, and casting votes, online.

Yet the Conservatives are pushing back, with several expressing ongoing concerns today as they gathered to plot strategy ahead of tomorrow’s throne speech, which kickstarts a new session of Parliament.

Manitoba MP James Bezan says a trial run of a proposed electronic system on Monday saw one vote that should have taken a few minutes instead stretch over more than an hour.

Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen says parties are continuing to negotiate but she and others are uncomfortable with electronic voting and have proposed other solutions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press