Politics

Parties agree on hybrid House of Commons meetings through autumn

The House of Commons will sit this fall with most MPs participating by video link, so that they can stay physically apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Hybrid' sittings will see MPs vote through video conferencing until secure remote voting application is ready

MPs are seen participating in a special committee on the COVID pandemic in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in June. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

The House of Commons will sit this fall with most MPs participating by video link, so that they can stay physically apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez introduced a motion to set the rules for "hybrid" sittings as the Commons sat for the first time in months Wednesday afternoon.

Those rules include having MPs vote via video conference until a secure remote voting application for smartphones is ready, and reducing the number of members who have to be physically present for a quorum.

The plan also includes reconstituting committees, such as the special body examining Canada-China relations.

The Conservatives had argued for in-person sittings only, with limited numbers of MPs in the chamber, and had opposed electronic voting.

But the MPs present Wednesday, including Tories, approved the plan unanimously.

The arrangement is to stay in place until Dec. 11, although MPs could vote to extend it then.

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