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View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2020-05-13 15:40
Yes, I'd be happy to.
What we've heard in testimony is that many of the deliberative functions of Parliament have been replicated in a virtual setting so far. What we heard from the Speaker's testimony, and others' testimony, was that there were decision-making functions of Parliament that were not completely happening at the moment. In the recommendation it implies that a virtual Parliament would try to replicate as many of the functions of Parliament...which is what we've been asked to study, how Parliament can continue to function and parliamentarians can continue to fulfill their roles and duties. I think what we've heard in testimony is that an alternative set of standing orders is actually something that's been recommended by several witnesses. I don't think this is reaching in any way.
The other thing about exceptional circumstances that I will say is that I think there are extraordinary, exceptional and emergency circumstances. There's a little difference in language but I think the spirit in all is referring to the same thing. Part of the job of creating an alternative set of standing orders in the future would also be to create the criteria of those exceptional circumstances, define what that means and define how this set of standing orders would be triggered by parties through some sort of majority vote. I think that is largely what was recommended by at least one witness, as I remember, and it seems to me it is a perfectly reasonable way to move forward. I don't think we have to have a be-all and end-all definition right now of “extraordinary circumstances”, or even the criteria at the moment. We know a pandemic is included, but there may be quite a number of other emergencies—second waves of a pandemic, third waves, etc.—that could be included as extraordinary circumstances.
Thank you.
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