Thank you to the LTVP working group. I know what an incredible amount of work this is, having been briefly involved before you passed on the torch. Our big thanks for all of the work that you've done, that you're doing and that you will do in the future.
I am particularly interested in the tunnel options. When any of us visit other Parliaments—the U.S. Congress, the European Parliament—all of them, within their parliamentary, legislative or capital precinct, have a tunnel network. It's for simple reasons. It's a question of effectiveness and efficiency.
We have the coldest national capital on earth. What happens in winter time, and what certainly has happened since I've been on the Hill—particularly when you have visitors—is that you go through this process of getting your coat, hat and everything else on, leaving your office building, going across the street, taking everything out, going through another security screen and finally getting into the area where you're actually going.
Sometimes, if there are committee hearings, that can be multiplied many times during the course of a day. It has never been efficient, to my mind. People are dressing and undressing—taking off coats, mitts and everything else—many times a day, and it seems to me that having a tunnel network will make a big difference in terms of making us more efficient so we can spend more of the time that matters helping our constituents and being engaged in the national debates that are so important.
When I look at the tunnel plan, I understand the recommendation is “W” and “D” to form that circuit that would go East Block, Centre Block, West Block and then through to Wellington and through to block 2 and block 1. I think that is, practically speaking, an excellent catch-up for Canada's national capital being on par with other world capitals in allowing people to move from one building to the next.
I have two questions.
Are there any provisions in terms of the tunnels—or has that discussion happened yet—around security screening from one to the next? When we're taking visitors through, for example, this is something that will save an enormous amount of time, but I would be interested in knowing what security screening, if any, is contemplated.
Second, we have two office blocks, the Confederation Building and the Justice Building, that have 10 feet between the two of them and then it's only about 100 feet from the Confederation block to Wellington, but I don't see provision for a tunnel network that would join them. It seems to me that's a relatively easy thing to do because of the short distances involved, but it would also add to the efficiency—if we have dozens of office suites in those two buildings—to allow members of Parliament and their visitors to move seamlessly through the West Block to the Centre Block.
Is that contemplated? I see a material handling node, but is there a possibility of extending the tunnel network to incorporate those last two buildings as well?
Thank you for your work.