senators’ statements — Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Senate Proceedings

June 22, 2021


Honourable senators, over the past 18 months we have witnessed many challenges to our institution and our ability to properly do our jobs as senators. For the most part, we’ve met those challenges through patience, collegiality, the application of innovative technology and a pragmatic approach to passing legislation that was in the vital interests of Canada and its citizens as we navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. As recently as yesterday, we have, by unanimous agreement, broken our own time-honoured rules in order to deal with legislation offering financial relief to Canadians.

We may be asked once more to do so in the coming days and we will likely agree. However, a few times in this extraordinary era of urgent governance related to COVID we have been asked to suspend our rules and forgo our rights to fully exercise sober second thought on matters that are not emergencies and not related to the pandemic. In fact, earlier in this session and on behalf of Canadian Senators Group, or CSG, senators, I tabled a motion to highlight our reluctance to consent to non-emergency issues being waved through our chamber.

There is an old Western Canadian saying that goes like this, “Your bad planning is not my emergency.” On behalf of CSG senators, I want to state that in the coming days we will carefully and thoughtfully be applying that principle in the Senate Chamber, and we hope you will join us in doing so. Thank you, colleagues.