Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Thursday, April 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.
As each province and territory makes plans to ease health restrictions and reopen segments of the economy, when will we be eased from the Prime Minister’s daily visits down the steps of Rideau Cottage and let a greater sense of normalcy resume with the federal government?
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said he wants Parliament to resume on May 25 on a more normal schedule–and why not?
The past two months have seen Justin Trudeau–in between phone calls to leaders from Santa Lucia and Tuvalu about the UN Security Council campaign–spend billions of dollars on supports for Canadians indeterminably and seemingly at whim.
The Liberals don’t appear to have much rhyme or reason that $9 billion goes to students, then $252 million to the agri-food sector, then the next day a big donation to the Canadian Red Cross, and on and on.
I envision every morning with the Prime Minister’s announcements like a faucet: you know some water is at least going to dribble out, but you’re unsure if today it will be just a few drops or a steady stream.
Say what you want about the United States’ way of politicking–at least their government is holding debate (a novel idea!) each time billions–trillions actually– are spent during the relief effort.
At least there is some negotiation on how best to provide stimulus spending to American citizens.
Here there is a cloud of grey fog on how this is decided, a think-tent instead of government.
Trudeau is unconcerned though. These virtual Zoom meetings are working, he said, and it’s allowing MPs from every corner of the country to express their resident’s concerns.
When I spoke to M.D. of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuk last week, he said he was tired of the online meetings because it was harder to have proper discussion and debate on the municipality’s ongoing items.
I’ll remind you that M.D. council is seven people–not the 338 representatives that form the House of Commons. This country is hard enough to govern in perfect circumstances, so do any of us really buy the government can be held accountable by hollering into your webcam through lagging internet?
If the Prime Minister is waiting for Canadian’s consent to continue our most fundamental institutions–then here it is Mr. Trudeau, I consent. However difficult, there most be some path forward, some gradual plan, that resumes Parliament.
Find a way to get a quarter of elected MPs back to the House of Commons to start and find an effective way moving forward to restore normalcy.
This is a risk worth taking. If a meat processing plant is worth keeping open through over 900 COVID-19 infections, then our federal government is certainly justified in getting back to work.
Further to that, even Alberta’s chief medical officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is scaling back her media availabilities in the weeks to come from every day to every other day.
There’s advice worth looking into Prime Minister.
It’s time for more matter, less art.
The opposition parties have a right to hold the government to account and to receive financial updates–heck, even get to vote on whether some of these supports should even go forward.
There are fewer things that actually count as essential.
Editor, Michael Menzies