Parliament Set to Resume With Focus on COVID-19 Vaccines, Supports

Parliament Set to Resume With Focus on COVID-19 Vaccines, Supports
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Dec. 3, 2020. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—The federal government’s handling of COVID-19 vaccination campaign is set to dominate the agenda when Parliament resumes today.

Members of Parliament are expected to work together to again allow virtual attendance in the House of Commons as many provinces remain in lockdown during the second wave of the pandemic.

They are also set to adopt an app that will let MPs vote remotely.

Yet those shows of unity are likely to be the exception rather than the rule as opposition parties have indicated they plan to press the minority Liberal government on a number of fronts.

That starts with grilling the government on delays in the delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer’s move to deliver only a fraction of the shots it promised over the next few weeks.

The government has also promised to close a loophole to prevent people who leave the country from being able to collect a sick-leave benefit to quarantine, while opposition parties want more support for families and businesses.

Looming in the background will be the ever-present threat of a snap spring election, with the opposition accusing the Liberals of wanting to send Canadians to the polls—a charge the government denies.

The government will also be under pressure to lay out its plans to identify and appoint a new governor general after Julie Payette resigned last week over allegations of overseeing a toxic workplace.