Opposition politicians push N.B. government for virtual legislature sessions

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FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's opposition is calling for virtual sessions of the provincial legislature after three Liberal members from the Edmundston region were absent from the house today because of COVID-19.

The region in the northwest of the province has seen a high number of infections and is under the "red" pandemic-alert level.

Members Chuck Chiasson and Jean-Claude D'Amours decided against travelling to Fredericton while Francine Landry is mourning the COVID-19-related death of her father.

Interim Liberal Leader Roger Melanson and Green Leader David Coon say changes should have already been made allowing members to participate virtually.

Education Minister Dominic Cardy, however, has repeatedly expressed his opposition to virtual sessions, saying debates need to happen face-to-face in the legislature.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the technology for virtual sessions is in place and that discussions about using it will continue until March 16, when members return to the legislature for the provincial budget.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press