Interventions in Board of Internal Economy
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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
This meeting of the Board of Internal Economy is called to order.
Our first item is the minutes of the previous meeting. Are they approved? Yes.
Second, is there any business arising from the previous meeting?
Madam Chagger.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I want to raise the issue of maternity and paternity leave for MPs. On March 1, I wrote to you in your capacity as chair of the board and asked that BOIE be seized with this issue. Members of PROC had released a report in November 2017 entitled “Support for Members of Parliament with Young Children”. The committee recommended that changes be made to the Parliament of Canada Act to add that pregnancy and paternal leave be reckoned as a day of attendance of the member.
We took action with Bill C-74 and the budget implementation act. The PROC report was basically asking for guidance from the House of Commons administration for the purpose of implementing new rules, terms and conditions and/or modifying the current rules, terms and conditions that apply to members who are pregnant or on parental leave.
I'd also like to acknowledge that there was a supplementary report from the official opposition to the PROC report, which recommended that politicians not be put in a better position than their constituents. I think it would be appropriate for the House administration, when developing options, to factor in both the report and the supplementary report.
I'm hoping that the board will agree to ask the House administration to prepare some options that could be considered by both the board, as stewards of the House of Commons, and the committee on options for members who are pregnant or on parental leave.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I wonder if I could ask the law clerk to respond.
Can Mr. Dufresne answer the question?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-02 11:37
Thank you, Mr. Speaker and Ms. Chagger.
Indeed, as you point out, section 59.1 of the Parliament of Canada Act gives both Houses the authority to:
make regulations, by rule or by order, respecting the provisions of this Act—or of regulations made under section 59—that relate to the attendance of members, or to the deductions to be made from sessional allowances, in respect of its own members who are unable to attend a sitting of that House by reason of
(a) being pregnant; or
(b) caring for a new-born or newly-adopted child of the member or for a child placed with the member for the purpose of adoption.
So that power rests with the House. A way to bring this to the House would be a report from PROC with recommendations in terms of such regulations.
The House administration is reviewing this issue. We will be prepared, should it go to PROC, to make some recommendations in terms of the content of such regulations.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate that.
PROC has already released a report asking for recommendations. That's why I'm bringing it back to this table, to ask the House administration to prepare those options now that there has been a report by PROC members as well as the supplementary report. I think both reports should be considered when preparing those options, but I do believe that options should be prepared, being mindful of the situations and the legislation passed.
View Peter Julian Profile
I would agree with Ms. Chagger on that. I believe what she's recommending is that we have this come back to the BOIE from administration prior to us rising. I think the timing is important as well to have those—
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
You said to have it come back to the Board of Internal Economy, not to PROC? I thought she was suggesting that she'd like recommendations to go to PROC first. Is that wrong?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
PROC released a report in November 2017 asking for recommendations.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
There has also been a supplementary report to ensure that members are not put in a better position than constituents. I believe that should be factored into providing recommendations to the board as stewards of—
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Oh, it's to the board; okay. I thought you meant that they were looking for recommendations to be made back; they'd asked for the recommendations and the administration could make them directly back to PROC and therefore not have to go through the step of having it here. But I'm open to what....
Again, from what Mr. Dufresne has told us, essentially, I don't think it's within the jurisdiction of the board to make these kinds of regulations. It is the House. That's under the advice of PROC, but PROC has asked for recommendations—
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