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National Finance and Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committees Authorized to Meet Entirely by Video Conference during the Adjournment of the Senate

Honourable senators, since we have a statement that intends to provide some clarification, I feel it’s necessary to provide a fuller story of this matter. I, too, want to get this question dealt with as soon as possible. I do not know if the motion, as written, does allow for the committee to be able to sit in a hybrid form if it so chooses, so we should not take that as a given. However, I will leave that to those who understand procedure and who can interpret the motion with greater accuracy.

I would say, though, that the reason for this motion is because we decided not to sit next week, and we decided not to sit next week because of the worsening COVID situation. We have chosen to not be in this chamber, to not endanger ourselves and endanger the staff. If we were then to say that committees can do exactly what we chose not to do — to sit in person in a hybrid format — it would beg the question as to why we chose it for the Senate as a whole to not sit in the first place.

So I would just ask that both committees, Legal Affairs and National Finance, weigh very carefully, first, if they have the right to sit in a hybrid format and, second, whether that is, in fact, the wise thing to do, given that we have made a decision that goes in the opposite direction when it comes to the chamber as a whole.

Your Honour, with that, I hope we can quickly get leave and have this matter settled.