Senate adopts hybrid formula for its committees

(Ottawa) The Senate has resolved a dispute over the operation of its committees during the pandemic, allowing them to start this week.

An attempt to set up committees two weeks ago failed amid denunciations and accusations of obstruction between Conservative senators and members of the Independent Senators Group.

The dispute revolved around Conservative concerns that the Senate was preparing to hold entirely virtual committee meetings.

Conservative Senate Leader Don Plett feared virtual meetings would eventually become the norm, even when the pandemic was over.

After negotiations with leaders of other Senate groups, senators have now unanimously passed Don Plett’s motion that will see committees meet, if possible, in a hybrid format – with some members in person and others present virtually.

The motion allows for fully virtual meetings in limited circumstances, but clarifies that the new committee arrangements are strictly for the duration of the pandemic.



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