Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison called out the federal Liberals for refusing to have Parliament sit until the fall, citing concerns over accountability as the country continues to grapple with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morrison spoke out against a plan pitched by the Liberals and supported by the federal NDP that opts to continue conducting government business through a committee that has been meeting in the stead of Parliament throughout the coronavirus crisis.
After June 18th, the committee is scheduled to meet four times over the summer until mid-September, with MPs attending either in person in chambers or via videoconference.
Morrison said his concerns centred on ensuring the billions of dollars that have been announced in economic supports as a result of the pandemic are being used effectively.
“The challenge, as the Official Opposition, is to hold the government accountable for things like spending and we’ve already agreed on some spending for people who need it like the CERB [Canadian Emergency Response Benefit] and the CEBA [Canadian Emergency Business Account] and other programs made available — totally agree,” said Morrison.
“…We want to make sure the money is going to where it’s supposed to be going and the only way to do that is when Parliament opens, so now we have to wait until September.”
Morrison said a full Parliament carries the weight of committee meetings, which has the power to solicit witnesses to testify on various matters, such as spending or other policy issues.
But the meeting format that will occur over the summer months doens’t have that same scope of government accountability, he added.
“Really, what we have is basically committee meetings where we can ask questions and they can choose to answer if they want,” Morrison said.
Temporary constituency office
Morrison is operating out of a temporary office following a vehicle crash on the back wall (Van Horne St.) of his constituency office on 800 Baker St. at the end of April.
The driver was taken to hospital and is fine, according to Morrison.
While repairs are underway, the MP’s constituency office is temporarily working out of 415 C Industrial Rd. A. Morrison anticipates being back in the Baker St. office in a few weeks.
His office can be reached at 250-417-2250.
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