Virtual Parliament: Does it work? - Policy Crunch - Institute on Governance

Virtual Parliament: Does it work? – Policy Crunch

Join IOG President Toby Fyfe and our panelists for a discussion about Virtual Parliament, if it’s working, and the risk to our democracy if it fails.

Free Tickets Here


Event Outline 

During the pandemic, many Canadians have adapted to work from home, from our kitchen tables or makeshift offices. On Parliament Hill, ‘adapting to the pandemic’ has translated into some significant changes to fundamental democractic processes, negotiated ‘on the fly’. So, how does Virtual Parliament work? What are the risks to government accountability, transparency, and deliberative democracy if Virtual Parliament doesn’t work? Do we need to make more, significant changes to how Parliament works virtually? 

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Hannah White, Deputy Director, Institute for Government
  • Dr. Rebecca Gordon, Research Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Paul Thomas, Director, Parliamentary Internship Program; Adjunct Professor, Riddell Program in Political Management, Carleton University
  • Dr Jonathan Malloy, Professor, Canadian Politics, Carleton University
  • Moderator: Toby Fyfe, President, IOG


Moderator: Toby Fyfe, President, IOG

Dr. Hannah White

Deputy Director, Institute for Government

Twitter | Website

Dr Hannah White has strategic oversight of the Institute for Government’s programme of work on government, parliament and the civil service, focusing on external relationships and impact.

She has extensive knowledge of Westminster and Whitehall based on over a decade of experience in parliament and the civil service. Before running the Committee on Standards in Public Life in the Cabinet Office, she was a clerk in the House of Commons managing select and legislative committees and advising on parliamentary procedure.

Hannah joined the Institute for Government in May 2014 and leads the Institute’s work on parliament.

Dr. Rebecca Gordon

Research Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics.
University of Birmingham

Dr Rebecca Gordon is a Research Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics at the University of Birmingham. Her current two research projects focus on the role of legislative leadership. The first focused on oversight and scrutiny during COVID-19 and the second project explores the roles of parliamentarians working towards inclusive legislative change. The majority of her research has focused on social inclusion, leadership, education and livelihoods.

Dr. Paul Thomas

Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University and Director of the Parliamentary Internship Programme

Dr. Paul Thomas is the Director of the Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP), an educational initiative of the Canadian Political Science Association that each year gives 10 recent university graduates the opportunity to work for both government and opposition MPs. He is also an Adjunct Research Professor with Department of Political Science and the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Programme in Political Management at Carleton University.

Paul has spent more than a decade working in and researching British and Canadian politics. After completing the Parliamentary Internship Programme and serving as a researcher for Senator Yoine Goldstein, Paul relocated to London to work in government relations for Cancer Research UK. He then completed a PhD in Political Science at the University of Toronto and a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Carleton University. Prior to becoming PIP Director, Paul served as a Senior Research Associate at the Samara Centre for Democracy, an organization dedicated to strengthening Canadian Democracy through research and public engagement.

Paul has published several articles and book chapters on legislative politics in Canada and the UK, and co-authored the book Religion and Canadian Party Politics. He serves on the board of the Canadian Study of Parliament Group.

Dr. Jonathan Malloy

Professor of Political Science and the Honourable Dick and Ruth Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy.
Carleton University


Jonathan Malloy is a professor of political science and the Honourable Dick and Ruth Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy at Carleton University. As of July 1 he is additionally Associate Dean (Research and International) in the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton. He previously served as chair of his department and recently completed a term on the university board of governors. 

His teaching and research focus on Canadian political institutions and he has published four books including Fighting for Votes andThe Politics of Ontario. He is a past-president of the Canadian Study of Parliament Group and the programme chair for the 2021 Canadian Political Science Association annual conference. He comments regularly in the media on Canadian politics. He also has a strong interest in professional development and his most recent book is Work Your Career: Get What You Want From Your Social Sciences and Humanities PhD.

Originally from Elmira, Ontario, he was educated at the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, and the University of Toronto, and has been a Fulbright chair at Duke University and a visiting scholar at the Australian National University. He lives in Ottawa but his favourite place in the world is the Museum of Australian Democracy in the Old Parliament House in Canberra.

Each session is built with learning and networking in mind: 

  • 5:30-6:00 E.T. – E-Networking and engagement 
  • 6:00-7:00 E.T. – Panel discussion  
  • 7:00-7:30 E.T. – Small group discussions with panelists 

Join Policy Crunch Online

Join us on Zoom or on our YouTube channel.

Live-Tweet your thoughts (#PolicyCrunch), and/or join the conversation on Slack.

Event Costs


This is a free virtual event