Interventions in Board of Internal Economy
 
 
 
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View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
It is, so perhaps I started a bad trend there. I'm comfortable with this, but in terms of what we need, even though we have given our stamp of approval of it, I think PROC should be the body that sets regulation and deals with standing orders, regulation and legislation regarding the Parliament of Canada. I would be happy to concur with Ms. Chagger and Mr. Julian's comments.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 12:06
Yes, I concur with that. I'm comfortable moving forward on that basis.
I don't want to slow this down because I understand the need to make a recommendation to PROC and that it can make a decision quickly, and that we have a limited amount of time in our calendar. Perhaps in the future, however, I'd like to be able to address the issue of pairing and gaining assurance that there's actually a means to protect that leave. That also is in a situation of serious illness, right? We've seen this before when somebody is in very poor condition and they're being brought back into the chamber to vote because otherwise it would precipitate an election. To me that seems to me an unfair circumstance, and it's certainly unfair that somebody would be pulled. It makes sense that they're going to be doing work in their riding and are continuing to be in the riding, but to be pulled back in that period, I think, is problematic. I think if we could have that looked at and perhaps have something come back to us, then we could make a recommendation to PROC—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2019-05-30 12:07
Okay. My problem is that I don't know what that mechanism is. I don't necessarily want to slow this process down, but I would be interested in understanding what tools would be at our disposal to be able to effect that—so that people who are on a serious medical leave are not in a situation where they're being dragged out of a hospital bed and into the chamber. If we could have something that assured that pairing were present.... I think it's a good time to have that conversation, frankly, because we're not in a heightened situation at the immediate moment with a minority government where there could be a very tight vote.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I would think that that would be more appropriate for PROC to consider in a more comprehensive review of the Standing Orders. I know there have been members of our caucus who have believed that the whip should not have a role in pairing, for instance. That matter has been brought forward—that two members should be able to make that arrangement. I think we could, in looking at exactly what that meant.... I'm uncomfortable with any suggestion that we would start to erode the value or the importance of a member being present to vote in the House. I think you'd open Pandora's box there: “Well, if it's okay because I'm on maternity leave, then it's okay because I'm ill, and then it's okay because I need to be at home because I have a family emergency.” You would open it up to interpretation: “Why is your emergency or situation more valid than mine for having an automatic paired vote or an automatic proxy vote?" I think, if we're going to entertain it at all, it's a very, very serious discussion that members need a lot more time to consider than the 17 sitting days we have left in this Parliament.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
All right.
I would add that I do agree with Mr. Strahl. I know I'm the one who brought the issue forward, but I think we should keep it separate from this particular issue.
I do think, though, that PROC should be looking at this. I would still like them to look at the issue I brought forward with respect to MPs who are fathers possibly being able to access that four weeks before the due date.
I think there is consensus, then, that we refer this to PROC and let them look at it in greater detail.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
To clarify, Madam Chair, so we are supportive of the policy as written and referring it back to PROC?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, we're supportive of the report and the proposal, and we'd like to send it to PROC. Is that correct?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: All right, good. Thank you.
We're going to suspend. We'll be going in camera.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
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.
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
NDP (BC)
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.
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