Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thanks to all the witnesses.
I'm a member of Parliament for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. Before this, I was the MLA for Fort McMurray. I actually resigned my seat at 38 weeks pregnant to run in the 2021 election. I had my son in the middle of the election and came to Ottawa for the first time with a five-week-old. My husband, luckily, took parental leave and supported our family as we did the back-and-forth with an infant for the first year.
That was spectacular. I think that some of the virtual options, specifically the vote app, gave me a space where I knew that there was always an option. I would argue that this is an important function that should continue.
I think that opens it up for more than moms, because there are amazing dads. We have to stop talking in this gendered space that only the mom is the primary parent. In my household, that's not the case. My husband is the primary parent. My husband is the one who takes care of my son when he's sick. My husband was the one who was up five times last night—not me. My husband's back home in Fort McMurray with my son.
I really am disappointed with some of the conversation, as if this is only going to open things up for moms. No, this is going to open things up for people.
I'll get off my little soapbox on that one, but I do think that it's important that we keep that in mind. If we're wanting to have more women and more young people in politics, we have to stop gendering this conversation and only saying that it's good for moms. This is good for people.
In the year since I have been elected here, I have seen a lot of abuse of the virtual system. I've witnessed someone use the virtual Parliament from a washroom. I don't understand why someone thought that was an appropriate way to be participating virtually—in a washroom here in the West Block—but that happened.
We have seen so many abuses. There is a real conversation to be had. In order to strengthen this to allow for people who have good, legitimate reasons to support their parliamentary duties, parameters need to be put in place so as to not cheapen it and then at some point Canadians reject this idea completely.
My question is for Ms. Collins.
What are your thoughts on having parameters around how people can participate virtually? What kind of parameters would you like to see?