North Island – Powell River MP Rachel Blaney speaks during question and comment period in the House of Commons in this June 28, 2018 screenshot. Blaney is on the Standing Committee on House Procedure and Affairs, which will meet to discuss implementing a virtual sitting of Parliament.

Rachel Blaney among MPs working to implement virtual parliament

Enourmous challenge, but should be possible thanks to technology: Blaney

A Vancouver Island MP’s role within her party remains as important as ever.

In addition to being the North Island–Powell River representative in Ottawa, Rachel Blaney is also the NDP’s party whip.

She’s leading her party on accountability measures and the role Parliament will play during the COVID-19 pandemic, all from her home on Canada’s West Coast.

“Accountability is important for every government, but even more so during these unprecedented times. We asked for committees to meet during the crisis, and the finance and health committees are already doing that to evaluate the government’s response,” she said. “In these fast changing times, committees and conversations with ministers lead to changes in programming that gets help out to more people.”

Following the introduction and acceptance of the unanimous consent motion in the House of Commons on April 11, Blaney and the other members of the Standing Committee on House Procedure and Affairs will be meeting regularly to talk about a virtual sitting of Parliament.

RELATED: NDP’s Rachel Blaney happy COVID-19 legislation strikes the right balance

It may be more difficult to implement in Canada than in other places thanks to unique factors like broadcasting in both official languages at the same time and internet connectivity, depending on where MPs live, said Blaney.

“The challenges with a virtual sitting are enormous, but with today’s technology it should be possible,” she said. “Public Health is telling Canadians we cannot be travelling or even leaving our homes frequently. I hope members of Parliament are leaders in this and not travelling across Canada like they normally would.”

RELATED: Government, opposition parties strike deal to pass massive wage subsidy bill

Blaney said her biggest priority will be ensuring the government is held accountable to rural and remote communities.

“With MPs who are already near Ottawa being prioritized for meeting in the House for public health reasons, we have to make sure that the voices of MPs who live further away aren’t lost. The constituents of North Island – Powell River are my top priority and I’m looking forward to finding new ways to bring their voices to the federal government,” she said. “We’re all stressed out right now and I think it’s really important to remember to be kind to one another and while we’re all living through this, I just want to remind everyone to stay safe. We’ve seen some preliminary success here in B.C. and we need to keep it up. Every time you decide to stay home you could be saving someone else’s life.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The candidates in the recent municipal by-election say while they’re disappointed with the voter turnout, most are intending to take another run at a seat in 2022. Black Press File Photo
Candidates lament low voter turnout in Campbell River municipal by-election

Many say they will still be putting their names forward again in the future, however

BC Rent Bank helps people stay out of homelessness. Black Press stock photo
BC Rent Bank pitched for Campbell River

Program provides loans to keep people housed

Comox Strathcona Waste Management is planning webinars for the public to see the preliminary designs for the new composting facility. Photo CSWM
Preliminary designs for CSWM composting facility released

CSWM wants feedback on designs, holding two webinars next week

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Campbell River automobile dealership reports positive COVID test result

Campbell River automobile dealership Steve Marshall Ford has announced a temporary closure… Continue reading

The Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness will be working towards having people with lived experience of homelessness at the table with a new peer advisory group. Photo courtesy Zoom.
Campbell River Coalition to End Homelessness to include people with lived experience at the table

Coalition and Urban Indigenous Housing group starting peer advisory working group

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read