Interventions in Board of Internal Economy
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View Peter Julian Profile
I have a question that I should have asked in the working group. Is the BOIE being consulted, or does the BOIE have responsibility for approval? In other words, if we decide right now that we decline the contract for excavation, what happens? Have we made a decision, or is that just something that's taken into consideration in terms of moving forward?
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2019-06-13 12:54
That's a very challenging question.
As we have discussed at this committee, this concept and these projects were previously approved. The government entered into these contracts on the explicit understanding that Parliament wanted a visitor welcome centre. Parliament requested the Government of Canada, specifically Public Services and Procurement Canada, to implement such a project. That's the basis, to this point, upon which the contracts have been entered into.
If the decision is to no longer proceed, yes, there are contract implications. There's no question about that. Under the authority of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, those contracts were entered into. We would need to have some deep discussions between Parliament and the legislative and executive branches on how best to manage that situation.
View Peter Julian Profile
That decision of BOIE would be determinant. I support the excavating contract, but if we said no, that decision would then be implemented.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2019-06-13 12:55
I'm only speaking from a personal perspective at this point, which can be dangerous, but if Parliament explicitly does not want a visitor welcome centre, I could not see proceeding to build a visitor welcome centre.
View Peter Julian Profile
I understand, but we're being seen as a decision-making body. I think that's important. Ms. Bergen asked a very valid question. I hadn't actually asked it in the working group. I had assumed that we had decision-making authority, and it appears to be the case.
Coming back to the visitor centre, that is something that needs to be decided by a future BOIE. I think all three of us on the working group agreed that this is not a decision that should be taken now.
I do not believe that we're tied by decisions that were taken 20 years ago. The context was different and the mechanical demands were different. I believe that we're proceeding step by step on this project, but after the election the new BOIE will have the responsibility of deciding the ultimate configuration.
For the excavating contract, the scalability is important, because it doesn't tie us in to the decision about whether or not to proceed with the visitor centre. It allows the work to begin, so we're not delaying this project unduly, but ultimately it will still come back, and some hard discussions and hard decisions will need to be taken after the election about what Centre Block and the renewal project will look like. I think it's important for us to take note of that and to build time in for November and December.
View Mark Strahl Profile
I believe that at some point I asked for a briefing on the organization chart. What the decision-making process looks like surely must exist somewhere. If we've just layered a working group on top of that, we should be able to see that as well. Even in the assignment of offices in this building, we saw the difficulty of relying on decisions that were taken 20 years ago, so I agree with Mr. Julian that we're the people here now who are responsible for approving or not approving certain funds. We want to be involved where we need to be and not slow things up unnecessarily.
I believe that at a previous meeting—I don't have the blues in front of me—I did request some indication of how this is supposed to work going forward. Apparently, we had to jump into it to build the fence and to start the excavating contract. That's fine. We're about to rise at the end of next week, so I doubt this group will have to make any other decisions like this. We still have time to get this right, but I would suggest that it starts a few steps back.
I certainly appreciate the work that the working group has done and I apologize for putting you in that stressful position in advance of this meeting, but I think that if we want to get it right, we have to go back to the decision-making flow chart. Then we can look at where we believe a working group or members of Parliament should insert themselves and where they are not to inserted. That will give us a much better idea. Rather than coming to and from this group and presenting, we need to know perhaps where to insert ourselves. I would ask for that again.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you. You put it well by saying “where to insert ourselves”.
I have Mrs. Block and Monsieur Patrice—oh, we don't have any time. Sorry; I think I had better suspend. Will you come back, please?
Mrs. Block, you have 30 seconds.
View Kelly Block Profile
Building on the comments that were made, I think one of the things that was an impetus for us was understanding that there is a cost to delaying, if we don't stick with the deadlines that we've agreed to. We understood that this was one of the reasons it was important to come back now.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We will all reflect on those wise words over the next 10 minutes or so, and then we'll come back, I think—or can we? We can't come back today? We have to finish? I have until 1:30, as I understand it.
The meeting is suspended.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Do we wish to approve the excavation contract strategy and the construction hoarding? Is it agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Geoff Regan: Monsieur Patrice has indicated that he will provide members of the board, in the next week or so, with a note on the governance of this process.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2019-06-13 13:22
It will be for discussion purposes, and also a detailed briefing.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I think that from here on, it is important that we decide when we want to insert ourselves—or the board in the future can decide that, whoever they may be.
Colleagues, I thank you very much. I know you have lots to do, so I think we had better...or do we want to go on with the next item? We have another item, I guess. Sorry.
Go ahead, Ms. Bergen.
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