LILLEY: A hybrid Parliament is just a way for Trudeau’s Liberals to hide

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Erin O’Toole wants to know why Justin Trudeau thinks it’s just fine to party it up maskless in Europe, attend a conference with thousands, or campaign across the country in an election but thinks going to Parliament is dangerous. The Conservative leader was hitting hard at Trudeau on Thursday ahead of a vote on holding a hybrid Parliament with some MPs attending via video link.

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O’Toole’s questions are completely valid. Trudeau has shown with his own actions that he’ll go anywhere during COVID for a vote or a photo-op so why not show up in Parliament?

Trudeau called the election in August even as Canada’s top medical advisors were warning that the fourth wave had started. That didn’t matter to Trudeau as he cross-crossed the country, held events in packed rooms and ignored local public health guidelines.

After the election, Trudeau went on a European trip that saw him wearing a mask for official photos but yucking it up with other politicians in restaurants. At COP26 in Glasgow, there were 30,000 attendees and no requirement for proof of vaccination.

“It’s totally unacceptable for Mr. Trudeau to go to big meetings such as the one in Glasgow but not be able to meet here on the Hill,” O’Toole said.

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The House of Commons requires proof of vaccination for MPs to enter while those claiming a medical exemption must have it verified by Commons staff. MPs are also required to wear masks in the chamber when not speaking.

On Thursday, Liberal MPs who had been all about handshakes and hugs when the House resumed earlier this week were voting for a virtual Parliament.

“What are the Liberals afraid of? The answer is obvious, Justin Trudeau has an aversion to accountability,” O’Toole said.

Trudeau being a hypocrite or afraid of accountability is not new to anyone who has paid scant attention to Canadian politics but this double standard is brazen.

After campaigning on ensuring all MPs are vaccinated and that anyone getting on a plane or train would have to be vaccinated, one of the Liberal arguments for having a hybrid Parliament is travel.

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“We have people flying in from every corner of the country, spending a week together, co-mingling in a very, very small space and then going back to every part of the country,” Liberal House Leader Mark Holland said Thursday.

Funny, that sounds a lot like Trudeau’s week in Europe where Canada took one of the largest delegations to spend a week in a convention before flying back to all parts of Canada. Did I mention the UK’s case rate per 100,000 is about 10 times that of Canada’s?

The Liberals have been politicizing COVID-19, vaccinations and everything related to the pandemic for months. They will switch positions to suit their needs, telling us one day that everyone flying must be vaccinated to keep Canadians safe and then telling us the next day that flying across the country is not safe.

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As anyone who has spent too much time on video conference calls over the last two years can tell you, they come with glitches and the virtual Parliament is no different.

As Conservative MP Michael Barrett has pointed out, Liberal ministers claimed technical problems to evade tough questions in the last Parliamentary session. Bloc Quebecois MP Alain Therrien has accused the Liberals of using a hybrid Parliament to hide and act like groundhogs.

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They are like groundhogs.

Trudeau and the Liberals will pop out into public to take a flight, make an announcement, hold a rally or attend an international summit when it suits them. Facing tough questions is not something Trudeau wants to do.

If he can campaign across the country or attend conferences around the world then Trudeau and his team should be showing up in Parliament, not phoning it in.

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