Full powers of Parliament must be reinstated, Conservatives’ Scheer says


OTTAWA — Opposition leader Andrew Scheer says more powers of Parliament must be restored to properly scrutinize the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says the existing thrice-weekly meetings of a special COVID-19 committee and the smattering of other committees still in session aren’t enough.

Scheer says among other things, the current set-up doesn’t allow MPs to compel the government to produce documents or to get witnesses to testify.

He says a demand that business in the House of Commons return to a new normal is not a partisan issue but a question of the need for the vital role of Parliament to be restored.

The House of Commons adjourned in mid-March as the pandemic began to sweep across Canada, coinciding with the implementation of travel bans, quarantines and physical distancing requirements.

It’s returned several times since for single-day sessions to pass emergency aid legislation, and meanwhile the special COVID-19 committee also meets.