Conservatives hold worst attendance record at House of Commons COVID-19 committee


Despite calls from Andrew Scheer for more parliamentary oversight during the coronavirus pandemic, the Conservatives have the worst attendance record of all five political parties at the House of Commons COVID-19 committee meetings.

Of the 21 special sessions, in which all MPs could participate, records show the Tories averaged a 47-per-cent attendance rate, placing them well behind the other parties.

The low turnout is prompting charges of hypocrisy from the NDP, whom the Conservatives criticized for agreeing with the Liberals to suspend regular sittings of the House of Commons in favour of the special committee meetings, which limited opposition powers.

“Canada’s democratic institutions should never be treated as an inconvenience,” Mr. Scheer said during a May 25 debate on extending the suspension of regular sittings.

“The House is an essential service to the country and we, its members, are essential workers.”

The Green Party had the best attendance, with its caucus averaging appearances 95 per cent of the time over the 21 meetings. They were followed by Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould at 86 per cent, the NDP at 85 per cent, the Liberals at 76 per cent and the Bloc Québécois at 73 per cent.

The committee meetings started with all MPs able to participate through a Zoom call and moved to a hybrid format where some MPs attended in person, in the House of Commons, while others participated through teleconference.

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