Trudeau update Canadians on COVID-19 pandemic April 20

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily briefing for the first time did not focus on COVID-19, as the PM spoke directly to Canadians about the tragic mass shooting in Nova Scotia that took the lives of at least 18 people, including a veteran RCMP officer. Trudeau announced that a virtual vigil will take place on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

Parliament Sitting

Trudeau’s only COVID-19-related comments were in regard to how the House of Commons will operate during the ongoing pandemic. The Liberal government has proposed in-person sittings once a week (every Wednesday) with limited staff and parliamentary services, plus additional 90-minute virtual sittings each week – once the technology is in place – for MPs to question the government. Both the NDP and Bloc Quebecois support this proposal, but the Conservatives (the official opposition) remain against it, arguing it limits accountability and oversight and warning that “the role of an opposition in a crisis moment is essential and will lead to better policy outcomes for Canadians.”

All-party agreement is required, and as a result of the impasse 37 Members of Parliament are sitting in the House of Commons today. Prime Minister Trudeau said discussions between all parties continue and he is hopeful for a resolution soon so as to limit MP travel and maintain social distancing.

*Above summary by Enterprise Canada