Jagmeet Singh says Canada should consider having a permanent hybrid Parliament to attract more women and parents with young children to federal politics.
The NDP leader said Wednesday that MPs should consider maintaining a flexible format, allowing some MPs to participate virtually in parliamentary proceedings if necessary, after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
He argued that a permanent hybrid parliament would persuade more people to get involved in politics and provide flexibility for some MPs with caring responsibilities.
Singh said a hybrid parliament has been shown to function well during the pandemic and he believes continuing it should be explored after the public health crisis subsides.
“I think the hybrid parliament has opened a door to more participation and allows MPs with young families and other obligations to participate and continue to fulfill those obligations, so I think it has opened a new opportunity and I want to see it continue,” he said in a press conference.
“Perhaps it is good to continue with the hybrid format even after the pandemic because it provides greater participation and also greater flexibility.”
Singh said expanding participation in federal politics and making it more “welcoming” to women, people with young children and those with other caregiving duties would be good for Canada.
“If we want to encourage younger MPs with families (and) women to get involved in politics, we can’t just say, ‘Okay, get involved’ without doing something to make it more welcoming, easier or more conducive or more accessible, “he said.
“Having a hybrid parliament is a tool that would encourage more participation.”
Both the NDP and the Liberals are in favor of continuing with the hybrid format, which was introduced during the pandemic, when Parliament resumes on November 22. They also support that only fully vaccinated parliamentarians enter the Commons.
Conservatives oppose both the resumption of a hybrid format and the mandatory vaccination requirement. They have expressed concern that not enough ministers showed up in the Commons during the last session for questioning.
Could a hybrid House of Commons be here to stay? The #NDP leader wants to talk about it. #CDNPoli
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 27, 2021.