Interventions in Board of Internal Economy
 
 
 
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. This has been very informative.
You mentioned a $17.4-million amount for this fiscal year. You also talked about negotiations for renewing collective agreements. However, my understanding is that we still have no collective agreement with the Parliamentary Protection Service officers. We see them every day, and they are extremely dedicated people. Will this surplus that is supposed to be carried over into the current fiscal year also be used to conclude an agreement with the Parliamentary Protective Service?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2019-05-30 11:30
The Parliamentary Protective Service is an independent entity that has its own sources of funding. Its activities and the expenditures associated with its services or the collective agreements it applies stopped appearing in our authorities when the service was created in 2015.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
So where does the service's funding come from? Unless I am mistaken, the House and the Senate contribute to it.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2019-05-30 11:30
The Parliamentary Protective Service has its own budget, which is approved by the Speakers of both houses. We do not manage that budget, as the service reports to the Speakers of both houses.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
It's a distinct budget that goes before the procedure and House affairs committee, of course, and then back to the House as part of the estimates.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
If a collective agreement had to be signed with the Parliamentary Protective Service, a request for funding could likely be submitted to the Board of Internal Economy, right?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2019-05-30 11:31
It would be up to the Parliamentary Protective Service managers to submit that request for funding to pay for those agreements.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Okay.
Is there anybody else who wants to speak on this topic?
Okay, we'll go to the next topic.
Thank you very much.
As we go on to the next topic, I'll ask Madam Bergen to chair the meeting as I have to leave for the official ceremony to welcome the Vice-President of the United States, Mr. Pence.
Madam Bergen, please.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
We are going on to the next item, the regulations respecting the non-attendance of members of Parliament by reasons of maternity or care of a newborn or newly adopted child.
We have some presenters here, and I will give the floor to you, Monsieur Dufresne.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:33
Thank you very much, Ms. Bergen and members of the Board of Internal Economy.
We are here at the board's request to talk to you about potential regulations that would enable us to justify the non-attendance of members by reason of maternity or care for a newborn or a newly adopted child.
Under the Parliament of Canada Act, a deduction is made to the members' sessional allowance for days of absence in excess of 21 days if the member is absent for no acceptable reason. The acceptable reasons set out in the act currently are illness, being on official or public business, or absence due to service in the armed forces.
In amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act, a new section 59.1 was added to provide the House with the authority to make regulations for the non-attendance of members by reasons of maternity or care for a newborn or newly adopted child. This provision was preceded by studies from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, where a recommendation was made to consider the family and parental obligations of members so that they would not be penalized for such reasons.
At the same time, questions were raised about the situation of members with respect to ordinary employees.
We have considered what is being done in other legislative assemblies.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:35
The situation of members is different from that of employees, as members hold public office they are always responsible for, even if they have children. What must be determined is whether non-attendance of members in the House to care for their children or by reason of maternity should be treated more seriously than other types of non-attendance covered in the legislation, such as for reasons of illness, public duties or service in the armed forces.
We've looked at other assemblies. Most of the legislative assemblies do not financially penalize members who are absent from the sittings for such reasons. Some will include periods and some will not. Indeed, some assemblies have looked at issues such as proxy voting in some such situations.
We have brought a proposal for the board's consideration that could consider as valid reasons for the absence from the chamber the period before the due date, given that the act talks about maternity for a pregnant member. That could be a period of four weeks or it could be a different period. In terms of care for a newborn child or care for a newly adopted child, consideration could be given to a period of 12 months or another period.
In any case, these would be decisions for the House to make. Options for this board could be to refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee or to have agreement that a member would put forward a motion proposing the regulations.
With that, I would open it to questions.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you for those comments, Mr. Dufresne.
I think that we are certainly supportive of making the regulations, such that pregnant or new parents are....
Just to be clear, we're talking about mothers here—primarily pregnant women, in this case. We're not talking about parental leave. This is more of a maternity situation, as I understand it. I just want some clarification on that.
Could you address that right off the top? Does this also apply if a father wants to take some time for paternity leave or is this just for mothers?
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