Shomporko Desk:-Parliament was recalled Saturday for a debate on legislation to free up billions of dollars in financial aid for Canadians and businesses to weather the COVID-19 crisis, with the opposition parties agreeing to allow for unanimous consent in order to make it law late in the day.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in attendance for the rare weekend sitting, which began around 12:15 p.m. ET, along with a small number of MPs, who were to vote on a revised wage subsidy bill. The Senate will sit starting around 4 p.m. ET.
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A draft copy of the bill was shared with the opposition parties last Monday and they have been holding talks with the governing Liberals since then.
Only about 20 MPs will be in the House, enough for a quorum, in order to maintain physical distancing measures. The prime minister will skip his usual, daily media briefing outside his residence in order to join the debate and will instead address Canadians from within the Commons.
He plans to take time off on Sunday and Monday to spend time with family. Trudeau primarily has been working from home since March 12 when his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam spoke on Saturday about federal guidelines updated this week to better protect people in long-term care homes, describing the recommendations as possibly “one of the key legacies of this particular pandemic.”
She said one key recommendation was that essential volunteers and visitors wear a mask inside those long-term care facilities.