Is Chuckles shooting blanks?

The lame duck conservative leader and leader of the opposition in parliament, Andrew Scheer, has a problem. Is nobody paying him any attention? Is it that difficult for him to squeeze past all the articles about the coronavirus and covid-19? Is the pandemic more important?

The answer to all three questions is ‘Yes.’

A lame duck leader, who is nothing but a place holder, until the party choses his replacement, is often ignored. Remember. he resigned to escape the ignominy of being voted out of office by the conservative party. It was the right thing to do. He should have known that the media would no longer come running to hear his words of wisdom.

And the current pandemic makes his situation even more difficult. Scheer’s comfort area is the house of commons. He knows this turf. He has had his best years there as an MP, as speaker and as leader of the opposition in parliament. He wants to keep this alive.

But in a pandemic, parliament is but a shadow of itself. Social spacing would force parliament to be a parliament of about 30 representatives of the people at a time. The other 308 members would be anxiously awaiting their turn.

And arranging for a virtual parliament with connections for all MPs is not an easy matter. Until adequate telecommunications can be made available for all members, some remote MPs would have to come into larger population centres to participate, until the high-speed, two-way connections can be completed in their ridings. Even then the management of sight and sound connections for more than 300 individuals, in isolation from each other, is a monumental task. It would require hundreds of technicians across the country and several hundred more in Ottawa. And do not forget that the parties have to be able to hold private caucuses.

Our parliamentarians are already learning from virtual committee meetings. No doubt they will be ready for a virtual parliament by the time the coronavirus has run its course.

And as for Chuckles, he is the forgotten man.

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Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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