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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
This is meeting number 18 of the Board of Internal Economy.
Today is February 16, and this meeting is televised.
Members of the Board of Internal Economy are participating remotely, by video conference.
Before we go to the first one, I'd like to change the agenda a bit.
Would that be okay?
Item 3 requires a bit more time, so I suggest we deal with items 1, 2, 4 and 5 first. I think we can get through them fairly quickly.
Then we can move on to number 3 and take our time. I believe that one will take some time.
Mr. Julian.
View Peter Julian Profile
I'm fine with that, Mr. Chair, but we have to discuss item 5 in camera. Were you planning to have the committee go in camera to discuss item 5 and, then, resume in public to deal with item 3?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes. Those in the room can stay for the in-camera portion of the meeting. We will discuss what we need to discuss in camera, after which, we will come back to item 3.
Go ahead, Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
I'm fine with that as well, Mr. Chair. I hope all of my fellow members will stay to discuss that item and not try to duck out.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Some things I can't control, Mrs. DeBellefeuille. That said, considering everything that's going on in the House and in committees, I don't think anyone will slip out.
That brings us to the first item of business, the minutes of the previous meeting.
Are there any questions or comments?
I see that the committee is in agreement.
Under business arising from the previous meeting, item 2c is Internet expenses for members and their employees.
Ms. Findlay, do you want to cover that?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes. Ms. Findlay wrote a letter asking....
Do you want to speak to that? Either you or Ms. Findlay....
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2023-02-16 11:05
I'm assuming Ms. Findlay might like to start. If not, our finance folks might.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay. It's fairly straightforward. I think anybody who has read it understands it.
Ms. Findlay, if you want to say a few words on that, that would be great.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
I think it is quite straightforward. The issue is, I believe, payment of bills for Internet at your home or for staff at their homes, which, given the circumstances that Canadians find themselves in, having a difficult time paying bills and with inflation at the high rates it is at, seems to be something that should be a personal expense and not tied to your job as an MP or as staff to an MP.
That being said, some MPs have spoken to me and said that at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns, etc., when they had to work from home, being in particularly rural communities, they had to upgrade their Internet. One MP even had a tower erected in his backyard in order to facilitate that. However, those costs were incurred in the past. Now that we are where we are, our feeling is that this should be a personal expense and should no longer be charged to members' budgets.
We as a party have taken the step of telling our members not to claim those charges anymore. I believe others have done likewise, but I don't know the status for all the parties.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Mr. Holland.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2023-02-16 11:07
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
I'll just add that we concur. We have advised our caucus the same. While there may have been a time when this particular item made sense, in the contemporary context it does not. Internet is something we all have to have in our homes, in the same way that we have to have hydro. I think for principal residences, it makes sense to withdraw the ability for members to apply for that.
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