Keep Friday sittings in House of Commons, Windsor MP says

As a House of Commons committee looks at making life more family-friendly for its members, on Windsor MP says taking Fridays off isn’t the best solution.

House of Commons committee looking at how to make Parliament more family friendly

Brian Masse says House of Commons sittings on Fridays are important to Canada's democracy. (File Photo)

As a House of Commons committee looks at making life more family-friendly for its members, a Windsor MP says taking Fridays off isn't the best solution.

According to a study by Canada's Library of Parliament, there are few jobs with longer hours and greater stress than a Member of Parliament. One proposal includes taking Fridays off to spend with family.

All political parties have been asked to consider ending Friday sittings at Parliament and moving the workload to earlier in the week. It would make it easier for MPs to fly home to their constituencies on weekends.

But NDP MP Brian Masse, who represents the Windsor West riding, told CBC News Parliament needs to sit five days a week in order to get everything done.

"The elimination of the Friday sittings probably won't improve things as they currently stand. And it could actually create more complications as well," Masse said.

Masse lives in Windsor and is in Ottawa only when the House of Commons is sitting. He's a volunteer coach and is involved in his kids' extra-curricular activities. In order to make up the time missed on Fridays, business in the House of Commons could be pushed later into the night or earlier in the morning, he said.

"It would probably do more difficulty for me than it would benefit," he said of the proposal to move to a four day workweek.

With many new MPs elected to Parliament this October, Masse said many may be still figuring out how to keep a solid balance between work and home.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has spoken openly about putting her family first. For 2 and a half hours a day, six days a week, she turns off her phone and spends time with her kids.

"I just decided that it was really important that I figure out a way that I could be effective at work but also be happy." McKenna previously told CBC News. "I had to figure out how I could care out the time that was important to me." 

Even with legitimate concerns about balancing family time with work, Masse questions whether the public would support such a move.    

"The government is on the stage there for discussion, for debate and for questions on a daily basis, and that is very important," Masse said. "Maybe raising the level of importance for Fridays would be a better use of time."   

MPs from all parties had until the end of February to survey their caucus. They're presenting what they heard at a committee meeting March 9.


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