Coming agreement on remote voting in the Commons?

Coming agreement on remote voting in the Commons?

Conservative MPs criticized electronic voting on Tuesday on the eve of the resumption of parliamentary work with the presentation of the Speech from the Throne, but were still open to the idea.

“We did a test yesterday and it was quite complex, thank you. A vote can take up to an hour, depending on your experience. So, if we have several votes to cast, we will spend whole evenings voting, ”said Quebec region MP Pierre Paul-Hus, upon arriving at a Conservative caucus meeting in Ottawa.

He added, however, that it is essential to strike a balance between MPs who physically attend sittings of the House of Commons and others virtually, given the increase in cases in recent weeks.

“Given the situation, I think we have to adapt. We have no choice, ”he said, referring to the possibility that 80 to 100 elected officials are present at the same time.

Her colleague from Manitoba, Candice Bergen, made similar comments, noting that a lot of work remains to be done to resolve technical issues related to remote voting.

“There is, I imagine, an extreme of electronic voting where a vote that would normally last eight minutes could last an hour and a half and you wouldn't know who's counted. Another extreme would be if too many people are in the House and I think there is a balance to be had, ”she commented.

The House leader of the Conservatives, Gérard Deltell, indicated that the discussions around the way forward for the return of parliamentary work are going well. He stressed that the resurgence of COVID-19 could not be ignored, mentioning in passing that the Bloc and Conservative leaders, Yves-François Blanchet and Erin O'Toole, are in isolation since they contracted COVID-19.

A conservative spokeswoman did not specify how many members of the political party were gathered in Ottawa on Tuesday, content to say that “the majority” took part virtually.

In the Liberal ranks, it was indicated early Tuesday afternoon that a consensus on the way forward could come very soon. Their caucus also met on Tuesday, virtually.

The Speech from the Throne is due to be presented to the Senate on Wednesday by Governor General Julie Payette. A vote of confidence will follow, but a date has not yet been determined.

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