14th March, 2020
Canada’s House of Commons, in a rare display of unity, put aside partisan wrangling and voted unanimously on Friday to suspend its session until April 20.
The suspension of session was in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s important to mention that we did this together and it’s the right thing to do,” Government House Leader Pablo Rodrigues told reporters in Ottawa at a joint news conference with opposition party leaders.
In the course of a normal day, the 338 members of parliament shake thousands of hands while meeting with constituents and members of the public, and then congregate together on Parliament Hill, Rodrigues said.
“Now, we’re avoiding that. These are not normal times,’’ Rodrigues said.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May welcomed the unanimous motion, telling the House of Commons that history would not look kindly at Canadian legislators if it emerged that they had become vectors for the coronavirus spread.
The vote in the House of Commons came hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he was going into self-isolation after his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive for Covid-19 following a trip to London.
Trudeau’s communications director, Cameron Ahmad, said Thursday evening she was feeling very well and only had mild symptoms.
Trudeau was in good health with no symptoms and would not be tested on the advice of doctors,” but would remain in isolation for 14 days, Ahmad said.
In a phone interview with French language public broadcaster Radio-Canada on Friday, Trudeau urged people to stay home if sick