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OPINION: Scheer should realize Canadians don’t want the usual sandlot antics of parliamentarians right now … or ever

Imagine driving down a steep hill and, as you approach a corner, you pump the brakes and the pedal goes right to the floor. You manage to make it around the corner and, as you gain speed heading for the next corner, you notice your turn signal is on. What do you do?

If you’re Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives, you focus on the signal light.

Scheer’s childish, petty whining about how many days the House of Commons should sit during the pandemic crisis is simply an irresponsible distraction. It sucks oxygen away from those who should be focusing on the fight against COVID-19.

One of the ironies in Scheer’s position is that this zeal for public debate comes just a scant few weeks after MPs, including Conservatives, voted unanimously on a bill giving government the ability to spend without parliamentary oversight on COVID-19 measures. Granted the government wanted that blank cheque to extend to the end of next year and, after push back, revised that date to a more reasonable time.

So, after giving the government a blank cheque, the Conservatives now want to have oversight?

Should have thought of that a month ago. However, the point that government should be held to account in the House of Commons is a valid one. To that end, the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, and Greens agreed to have one in-person session a week and two virtual sessions. The session, of course, will be a scaled back one with about 30 MPs in the House … not perfect, but workable in these times of physical distancing. A compromise.

That, however, isn’t good enough for Scheer who, in this time of national health crisis feels that playing politics is what we should focus our energy on. Is he, perhaps, jealous that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting air time every morning with his briefings on COVID-19?

Another irony in all this is the fact Scheer was an MP in the previous Conservative government when his predecessor decided, on more than one occasion, to prorogue Parliament and do what he is accusing Trudeau of doing now ­– govern without parliamentary oversight.

Where was Scheer’s righteous indignation then?

Canadians not only want and expect, but demand MPs work together to get through this pandemic. Even in good times Canadians abhor the sandlot antics of parliamentarians. It’s time to move on. If we plunge over the cliff, we’ll take no comfort in knowing the turn signal is off.

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