Commons adjourns without resolving dispute over how it should resume in new year

The House of Commons has adjourned for a six-week Christmas break amid a dispute over how it should resume in the new year. 

A motion that has allowed the Commons to sit in a hybrid format throughout the fall — with about 80 MPs in the chamber and the rest participating virtually to help curb the spread of COVID-19 — expires today. 

The minority Liberal government wants the Commons to resume on Jan. 25 in the same format but with MPs using a new app that would make it easier and faster for them to vote electronically. 

Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez says all parties agree with that — except the Conservatives. 

Conservative House leader Gerard Deltell says it’s the Liberals standing in the way of an agreement because they object to his proposal to allow Commons committees to continue operating, as needed, during the break period. 

Without an agreement, if the Commons needs to be recalled to deal with an emergency or Senate amendments to the assisted-dying bill, all 338 MPs would theoretically be expected to be physically present in the chamber.

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