The COVID-19 pandemic and our response to the threat was priority #1 and with the House of Commons only sitting for three months prior to the first wave, our job as MPs required us to be quick on our feet in order to address the concerns of our constituents as quickly and as concisely as possible.
My experience as a member of the Class of 2019 has been unique to be sure, however no more unique than the situation most of us have seen ourselves in throughout the course of the pandemic.
I think of having to learn new technologies to communicate with my constituents, fellow MPs, and organizations; as we’ve all had to become familiar with Zoom calls and other platforms. The frustration of remembering to mute and unmute, (and those darn internet connection issues!), is something we are all now sadly familiar with, whether for work or communicating with friends and loved ones.
I also think of the challenge of not seeing my colleagues, of all political stripes, in person, for long periods of time. Building collegiality is difficult at the best of times in government. A least the technology, although not ideal, did allow us to pass laws.
One of our greatest challenges was that of actually conducting a vote. Normally with all 338 members present in the House of Commons one vote takes only a few minutes. Over Zoom, many votes took close to an hour, as the clerk needed to identify each MP on their computer screen. Eventually though, we adapted by developing an app for our phones that allowed MP’s to vote using facial recognition. Thankfully this helped speed things up a lot!
I need to take this opportunity to also thank the hard-working public servants in Ottawa who made it possible for us to continue the work of government.
The Omicron variant has proven to be yet another unwanted hurdle, but be sure to remember that our best days are just around the corner. I encourage everyone to get their vaccines and boosters as soon as possible so we can all return to the healthy and prosperous Canada we all know and love.
I am both thrilled and honoured to have been reelected this past September to again represent the people of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley.
In my new role as the Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, I am ready to hold the current government to account on the world stage and help improve the lives of people from around the globe.
Once again, I would like to thank my constituents for putting their trust in me to represent them.
I am forever grateful.
Marty Morantz is the member of parliament for Charleswood – St. James – Assiniboia – Headingley.