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Trudeau hopeful for deal with Opposition parties on House of Commons re-opening

Last Updated Apr 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm PDT

FILE: Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises to ask for an extension of the sitting day in the House of Commons Parliament in the House of Commons Tuesday March 24, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Members of Parliament across Canada are waiting to learn whether they will have to make their way to Ottawa Monday as negotiations continue between the Liberals and Opposition parties about whether the House of Commons will re-open on Monday and under what terms.

The Liberals are proposing one in-person sitting each week, with a reduced number of MPs and an extended question period, but Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is demanding up to four in-person sittings per week to hold government to account for its pandemic response.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is hopeful a deal can be struck and says several of the Opposition parties agree that limited weekly sittings would ensure accountability and allow Parliament to continue to pass necessary legislation.

Trudeau says the Conservatives’ demands for more time in the Commons is more than he believes is wise at this time for public safety.

Meanwhile, the Green party says it does not agree with any proposal that would see MPs hold regular sittings of Parliament while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and is accusing Scheer of putting a desire for media coverage ahead of public health.

Unless an agreement is reached before Monday, the House of Commons will resume business as usual with all 338 MPs and Commons staff returning to work in Ottawa.