The Canadian government is holding its first virtual House of Commons session on Zoom amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new meeting format comes in response to efforts to maintain physical distancing during the pandemic. The government passed a motion on April 20th to meet via video conference on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
It’s interesting to note that the government is using Zoom, which is currently facing scrutiny for its flawed security and privacy practices after numerous issues have come to the surface.
However, House of Commons officials have noted that the government is not using the consumer version of the platform, and have implemented extra security measures.
Like many other virtual meetings happening during the pandemic, the members faced some hiccups along the way. For instance, the house speaker had to remind some members to un-mute their microphones, while others had difficulty connecting to the meeting.
Further, some MPs who reside in rural areas hope that the virtual meeting will lead to more discussions about connectivity issues in non-urban areas across the country.
For instance, Northwest Territories Liberal MP Michael McLeod told the CBC that he has problems connecting to Zoom due to limited bandwidth, and will only be able to attend the virtual meeting through audio.
Canada is one of the many countries around the world using video conferencing tools to hold meetings in place of in-person gatherings amid the pandemic.