Cannings: MPs working from home important during Covid

“Ottawa is a hot spot for the virus at present … “

Parliament begins its fall session this coming week and I have just returned from a week of meetings in Ottawa to discuss how that sitting will look—both in terms of how we will meet and the policies the government (brought) forward in the Speech from the Throne on Wednesday.

Throughout the spring and summer, the House of Commons met in a hybrid fashion, with a small number of MPs in Ottawa but most joining over the internet from home. I’m hoping that this will continue in some way, with the addition of remote voting so that the regular business of the House can resume.

While the Conservatives have resisted remote voting, there is a simple, secure solution—a roll call vote as is normal in the House of Commons, except in this one the clerks could also count MPs visually signalling their intent from home.

Allowing MPs to continue working from home is important in these COVID times.

Ottawa is a hot spot for the virus at present, testing line-ups are extremely long, and already the Bloc Quebecois caucus is in full quarantine.

Filling the House with all 338 MPs—coming from across the country then returning to their homes on the weekends—would be irresponsible.

The Liberal minority government prorogued Parliament in August for a “reset”, saying that a new, bold Speech from the Throne was needed to properly tackle the COVID crisis, keeping people safe and secure while rebuilding a healthy economy.

While the long prorogation period was more about shutting down the voice of committees investigating Liberal scandals, the NDP agrees that a bold reset is needed to fix the many policy gaps that have been exposed by the health and economic crisis we are faced with.

First, we need to bolster our much-loved health care system, ensuring that it is properly funded and extended to fully cover the needs of all Canadians, including long-term seniors care, dental care and pharmacare.

Second, all workers need access to funds to get them through times of unemployment—COVID showed very quickly that 60 percent of Canadian workers didn’t qualify for EI and the economy would have collapsed if CERB hadn’t got them through the weeks and months when their work vanished.

We need sick leave benefits for all workers so that they can afford to stay home if they are feeling ill; and affordable child care.

Many of these gaps could be filled by a guaranteed liveable income so that no Canadians would live in poverty.

And finally, we need to stimulate the economy to create jobs to replace those lost in all sectors, including manufacturing, resource extraction and the service sector.

And this stimulus package is an opportunity to seriously tackle the climate crisis.

For example, incentives to retrofit residential and commercial buildings across the country could significantly reduce emissions while creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs, and those salaries would cycle through local economies across the country.

The inevitable question is “how can we afford this?”

Working families across the country are struggling, but those at the very top have added billions to their wealth since the pandemic hit.

A wealth tax aimed at those with more than $20 million in assets would be a good way to generate the funds necessary to get the economy working again while at the same time start the process of narrowing the gap between the super-rich and the rest of us, a gap that has been steadily growing over the past 30 years.

But it really comes down to “how can we afford NOT to do this?”

Without new jobs, our economy could quickly collapse, and without a solution to the climate crisis our children and grandchildren will be left with a frighteningly uncertain future.

Richard Cannings, MP, South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Brenda Haley
What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email it large or actual-size to

One complaint the Trail RCMP had to deal with involved laundry. Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Off the cuff calls to the Trail RCMP

Greater Trail police responded to several vehicle collisions as well as a few more usual cases

Two big 4-enders lifted the Darrin Albo rink to a 9-6 victory over Team Les Lepine in Kootenay Savings Super League action on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey.
Kootenay Savings Super League: Albo storms back for big win over Lepine

Kootenay Savings Super League curling goes every Thursday at the Trail Curling Club

Trail Legion launches poppy campaign

Trail residents can pay their respects during the two weeks up to Remembrance Day by wearing a poppy

Wreaths will already be laid around the cenotaph before people arrive at the ceremony. Photo: Chelsea Novak
Scaled-down Remembrance Day event to take place in Rossland

The public is encouraged not to attend ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 crisis

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read