Commons to vote remotely in fall?

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Commons are preparing to vote remotely during the fall

Commons are preparing to vote remotely, after report from parliamentary committee instructs the chamber to do so. The overseeing committee strongly advises for the House of Commons to smooth transition to remote voting. The committee also calls for the chamber to work on helping MPs with poor internet connections.

The report states clearly that gathering in large numbers could spark a COVID-19 outbreak in Parliament. Many MPs travel large distances between Ottawa and their respective provinces. This means the chamber could become a hotspot for coronavirus outbreak.

After the pandemic hit Canada, the chamber broke up and has since used two meeting formats. The first is a special committee, the second is occasional sittings with very few MPs present. The report, once again, advises to fuse the two formats so that MPs can finally participate virtually and hold meaningful votes. This is also because there will be a need for swift legislation.

What’s needed for remote voting?

In order for MPs to hold a voting remotely, they need essentially two things: proper high-speed connection and a high quality audio gear. Without the first, there is a risk many won’t be able to participate properly to voting procedures. Without the second, it would be impossible to hold meaningful discussions on legislation.

Poor internet connections are also a plague for interpreters and translators, and they also affect those primarily from outer provinces and rural areas. Still, there are some who are against the report’s recommendations. Conservatives dissented with the conclusions from the report, believing that a small number of MPs representing the will of the people is the new way to go.

‘Of course, we recognize the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to change our routines’, stated the Conservatives. ‘However, the underlying currents, during this study, heading toward a remote voting app made us question, again, if ‘a crisis was not being left to go to waste.’