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Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2019-06-13 12:07
It's a non-change.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-29 11:18
Before going into the details of the review of the proposals and their impact on the 2019-20 main estimates, I want to make a general comment.
As you will see, there are a number of submissions to be presented today before you consider the proposed main estimates. We have thought carefully about these initiatives and have consulted with all House officers to ensure that what we are proposing will meet the needs of members. This is aligned to our new vision of providing outstanding services to members and their staff so that they are properly supported in fulfilling their parliamentary functions.
We have also looked at the financial implications of these submissions with a view to remaining within the existing funding allocation of the House. Without pre-empting your decision on these submissions, I am pleased to point out that these expenditures proposed for the main estimates of 2019-20 will be no greater than our main estimates for the current year.
My team and I are ready to answer all your questions.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-01 11:48
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am pleased to present the Report to Canadians 2018 to the Board of Internal Economy.
The report provides an overview of the work of members during fiscal year 2017-18 and of the House of Commons Administration. More specifically, it focuses on our performance and achievements and includes relevant financial information drawn from the Public Accounts of Canada. In short, it is our annual report.
As some of you reminded us when we met to talk about last year’s publication, the “Report to Canadians” is much more than that; it's an important document by which we tell our story to Canadians.
The “Report to Canadians” 2018 packs a lot of information into 48 pages. In the members’ snapshot section, for example, Canadians will find data on the composition of Parliament and on the nature of the work performed by members. There is statistical information about the House of Commons covering the past year, including the number of sitting days, the bills introduced by government and by private members, the volume of documents tabled and committee work.
This section also describes members' extraparliamentary activities through their participation in international associations. In addition, the reports presents a snapshot of the House Administration: the work done behind the scenes to prepare food and drive buses; to provide legal, financial and human resources services; to ensure that the Chamber and committees function as they should, and that parliamentary procedures and traditions are respected.
As you may recall, one of my first decisions as Clerk was to restructure the House administration to better coordinate our efforts and provide more seamless and enhanced services to members. I believe that this new arrangement has in part facilitated some of the administration’s accomplishments this past year, including preparations for the move from Centre Block to West Block. It's been a pretty big year.
Among the highlights, we celebrated Canada's sesquicentennial in parliamentary style by commemorating the first meeting of the first Parliament. We also carried out a host of legacy projects, such as the decorative window that will be a permanent reminder of this significant milestone, to be enjoyed by generations to come.
In 2017 the board opened its meetings to the public for the first time, our page program turned 40, and we published the third edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, the most comprehensive source of procedural information for members, their staff and others who, like me, have a passion for the procedures and practices that form our parliamentary system.
The House administration was also honoured when it was recognized as a top employer in the national capital region and at the national level for young people for the second consecutive year.
With this overview, I think you have a good idea of the latest edition of the Report to Canadians. With your approval, the report will be tabled in the House and made available on ourcommons.ca. The Speaker will also encourage members to share the report with their constituents.
My team will work to ensure that it reaches Canadians by sharing the report with our parliamentary partners and counterparts in provincial and territorial legislatures, by distributing electronic copies to the media, by leveraging our traditional and social media channels to promote it, and by amplifying the message about the work that happens on the Hill by teaming up with the Library of Parliament to engage the public.
We know we have a good story to tell.
If you have any comments or questions, I would be happy to respond.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-01 11:53
As you wouldn't be surprised to know, it attracts more attention the moment it's released, and then there's a declining slope.
This is an online document. From the reports we've had, we've had 2,290 hits to see the English document and almost 600 to see it on the French side. We're looking at a total of about 3,400 over the course of the last—
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-01 11:54
I'm not sure that everyone does, but I'm sure some do.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-01 11:55
One thing I think we should do to help in promoting the document is make greater use of the Forum for Young Canadians and also the Teachers Institute. I think the Teachers Institute is expected to meet sometime before we rise for the winter adjournment.
This is an annual event in which up to 80 teachers come from across the country. They are energized by the exercise of red carpet treatment here for a week. They come here to learn about Parliament to make them better teachers, more informed, and I think you're quite right: using this document and other documents, which are easily absorbable, would be one way to pass the message on.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-01 11:59
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-11-01 12:00
I can't answer with certainty about the reasons it's not covered, but I suspect you're right in saying it's because it is difficult to quantify.
We could perhaps present a report about the variety of activities that members undertake when they're in their ridings meeting their electors, their fellow citizens. We could probably add that. It goes to the point that Madam Chagger raised about having a human interest element in the report that speaks to the nature of the work you do on behalf of your constituents when you are in your constituency.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2018-03-01 12:34
Good afternoon.
Over the last three Parliaments, the Board has taken steps to provide more information to the public. In particular, it has published its by-laws and the Members' Allowances and Services Manual, increased the extent and frequency of the disclosure of MPs' expenses and published the minutes of its meetings.
Last June, Bill C-44, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, became law, and one of its provisions required that the Board's meetings be open to the public.
In keeping with this approach of openness, the House of Commons has undertaken a redesign of the board's web presence, the completion of which was achieved earlier last month. Prior to the completion, an interim solution was put in place for the first public board meeting in October, and many of the features highlighted in this presentation have been accessible to the public since then.
The new website features improved navigability and accessibility, a more intuitive user experience, and an aesthetic that is aligned with the branding that characterizes the House of Commons web presence.
All information relating to the board's proceedings can be found on the meetings page. This landing page includes webcasting capabilities; and general information about meetings, agendas, transcripts, and minutes. Broadcasts of the board's public meetings have also been made available for viewing through our webcasting service, ParlVu. Links to audio and video feeds are available for live streaming, as well as on demand.
Notices of meeting are normally published one week in advance and the corresponding agendas are available in the following days. In addition to being published on the Board's website, the notice of meeting is also sent to the public through our Twitter presence and the home page of ourcommons.ca.
The existing publication search tool has been adapted to include the Board's transcripts. The search conducted in those transcripts may be refined by topic, text, person speaking or any combination of those criteria.
The minutes, which serve as official records of decisions made by the Board, are organized with the help of an index.
The redesigned section entitled “Reports and Disclosures” contains the past and most recent versions of the Members' Expenditures Report, the Public Registry of Designated Travellers and the Financial Statements of the House of Commons, as well as other reports from the House Administration. All those documents are accessible with one click.
The bylaws and policies page features a wealth of resource material including the newly reformatted “Members Allowance and Services Manual“. The membership page is consistent with the look and feel used for House of Commons committees.
In summary, we believe that the new web presence provides a refreshed look and enhanced format and a better user experience.
If you should have any questions about the changes that are implemented to enhance to web presence of the board I'm certainly prepared to try to answer them.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2017-12-07 12:00
When I first came here, it was clear that procedural services were operating properly, because they had a deputy clerk of procedure who was coordinating all of the activities within the procedural service.
I wanted to see, and thought it was necessary to have, the same kind of supervision and coordination built into the corporate services that provide support to the members. It seemed to me that creating the position of deputy clerk of administration was one effective way to ensure that would be done.
We have now an operation that becomes more complex. We have 338 members. We're coordinating the LTVP. We're introducing new computer systems to enhance the kinds of services we can provide to members. It seems to me that, if we're going to be effective, we have to coordinate that work.
To coordinate that work, we need to have somebody who is more involved at a supervisory level, overarching all of the corporate services, in the same way that we do for the procedural services, to enhance, as I say, their coordination and the harmony of the work they do. For me, it seemed pretty clear-cut that having a deputy clerk of administration would be an effective way to better ensure that coordination.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2017-11-23 12:12
Thank you.
Mr. Speaker
and honourable members,
I have the honour to present the “Report to Canadians 2017” to the Board of Internal Economy. As you will be able to see, the elements of the report's table of contents can be broken down roughly into two themes: members and the House administration.
The “Report to Canadians” is an annual report that provides information and statistics on members and their various parliamentary activities. In this case, we are talking about the 2016-17 fiscal year. The report also includes information on the activities of the House administration. In order to reduce the use of paper, once the report has been approved by the Board of Internal Economy, it will be available in electronic format on the House website.
That's a paper cost saving, which is minor.
The section on members contains information on the characteristics of members as a group—in other words demographic and geographic characteristics, as well as the breakdown by political party. That information includes the gender ratio and the number of members born outside the country, which reflect our inclusiveness.
With respect to members' activities, the focus is on parliamentary work. There's information on sitting days of the House, as well as on the number of bills introduced by the government and private members. The report also provides statistics on committee meetings, witnesses heard, and reports presented. Finally, there are general figures about activities related to parliamentary diplomacy, carried out through the various associations.
The second part of the report focuses on the administration and what it accomplished over the last fiscal year, and among the highlights are the deployment of a new financial management system, the reopening of the Wellington building with offices for 70 members and 10 committee rooms, and the launch of a renewed House of Commons website, including a social media presence that encompasses Twitter and Instagram accounts. The administration is also proud of the fact that it has a 2017 designation as a top employer for young people.
Once this report is approved by the board, it will be made public and tabled in the House.
If you have any questions, I'm happy to try to answer them.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2017-11-23 12:18
I'm not sure I'll be able to provide you a very meaningful answer with respect to the last point you raised.
Whether the report should be available in paper as opposed to electronically I think is just part of a general drive by administration to reduce paper utilization. However, when there is a demand that expresses a need and a preference, I think we'll be quite prepared to make copies available.
It's certainly going to be available to schools if they access the House of Commons website. Both the House of Commons and the Senate try to maintain a very close relationship with school groups through what was Encounters with Canada, the forum for young Canadians. Just a few weeks ago we had our annual Teachers Institute, and there we build up relationships. I'm going to be having meetings with the Association of Former Parliamentarians to see if we can work at building alliances with them across the country so they can become recruiters as well as informers to school groups. That includes the students themselves as well as the teachers, so the relationship between Parliament and our future citizens and the teachers of those future citizens becomes stronger.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2017-11-23 12:20
In terms of the changing composition of Parliament, which is highlighted in this report, I think that reflects a reality that we increasingly appreciate.
Charles Robert
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Charles Robert
2017-11-23 12:20
We do have some statistics. In general numbers it seems to have been about 5,000 hits on the last report to Canadians. We hope we can improve that. Again, there's no compulsion. The access to the House of Commons website is perfectly voluntary.
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