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Results: 211 - 240 of 459
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2020-06-01 16:06
Ajax could use better Internet.
I will try. I don't know what to say. Can folks hear me right now?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We can hear you. There is some kind of breakup in there. I can make out what you're saying, but I can understand that an interpreter would have a hard time taking it and translating.
I'll ask you to continue and maybe you can repeat it in French, if you like.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2020-06-01 16:06
I was just going to say that the member acknowledges that he made a mistake. I just feel that it was an honest mistake. It was an effort to communicate around COVID-19, and I know there was a lot of anxiousness that a lot of members had. The policy for external printing was changed a few weeks later.
The member is not proposing to charge the House of Commons central budget, but is suggesting that he charge his own MOB. Given that it would go against his own MOB, and given the fact that I think the error was made innocently, and having had conversations with him, I would seek approval from the board to provide support on that basis.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay, that time everything went smoothly. I don't know what you did, but it almost seems like a light came from your computer. You lit it and we heard you. I'm not sure if it was divine intervention.
We'll hear from Madam DeBellefeuille, and then Mr. Strahl.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My question is for Mr. Paquette.
Are many of the members who inadvertently made this mistake paying for the expense without having requested an exception from the Board of Internal Economy?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Paquette, you have the floor.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-06-01 16:07
I am currently aware of only one case, but it is not at all on the same scale. We are only talking about a few hundred dollars. It is not on the same scale as the situation we are talking about.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Now we'll go to Mr. Strahl.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Quickly, I know what we're going to do here is to charge the member's office budget. It didn't take a lot of work to figure out that a lot of the staff members had come over from Mr. Brison, so I'm a little unsure. I've been involved in politics at the staff and MP levels for a number of years, and you've never been able to do what he did, certainly not without the approval of PAMS.
He was a month ahead of where the policy was, but there was apparently enough COVID stuff in there to allow it. Was the printing expense within the acceptable range? I know that issue was raised in our previous document. The cost for some external suppliers was way too high and PAMS had to go back and either say no or negotiate. Was the range acceptable?
I certainly have never heard of members going out on their own and mailing things under anything other than the negotiated frank rate or the rate for unaddressed ad mail. What was the additional cost because the member went outside of the contract for unaddressed ad mail that the House of Commons has with Canada Post?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll go back to Mr. Paquette.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-06-01 16:10
The member did meet the requirement. There was COVID-19 content in the document. The printing itself was within reasonable parameters, and the cost for printing, although a little higher than we'd seen, was not excessive.
The big part of the cost was the post, because, from my understanding, it was the printer who went to Canada Post and got the normal bulk rate, no corporate discounts whatsoever. Canada Post was not aware that this mailing was for a member of Parliament, so it didn't invoke any of the advantages we have for that. That's where the large majority of his excess cost came from. It's the postage, because it was a third party that mailed it for him.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
That's my question. Are we allowed to use our MOB for bulk mailing? We're trying to retroactively cover him a bit here because of what he did. He made a mistake, but does the mistake ever extend to...? What is the cap on postage? Is that the 5,000? Is that where that comes in? I'm trying to understand this.
We want to give some grace when mistakes are made, even though we might have questions about them, but the mailing part is concerning to me because we have never had a policy allowing us to contract for bulk mail, not that I'm aware of. That is what I'd like to know. What was the difference in cost between what he did and what would have been done had he waited a month and been approved?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Paquette, you have the floor.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-06-01 16:12
I don't have the exact difference between what it would have cost had we processed it ourselves and what it cost him doing it on his own.
The 5,000 limit is just on the printed materials. There has to be more than 50% difference in the material if you are going to print more than 5,000. At this point, we really don't have that many specifics in our guidelines on the limitations of using any kind of mail couriers for packages or things of that nature. We don't have that in our parameters. It's really just about the printed copies.
I don't have the specifics of what would have been the cost for us, at this point. We can probably get it for you after the meeting.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I would just say, if we take members at their word that it was an honest mistake, and obviously the buck stops with those of us who sign of on these things, so, if it's charged to his MOB.... We don't want to put a member out $13,000 or whatever it would be, but I would simply say I hope that when other members come with the same honest mistake type of defence, that we extend similar grace in those situations and not simply act based on what colour hat we wear around the table.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other comments or questions?
Do I understand that we have consensus here?
Everybody's in agreement, so we will proceed in the way it's proposed. Very good.
If I can, I'm going to go back to item number five, the brief comment from the clerk. The proactive disclosure requirements will be coming into effect on June 21, whether we like it or not, so I don't have much of a choice there, but I do have a commitment from the clerk that they will come back and explain what the exemptions are and whether the person travelling, the family member, is actually named or what information is disclosed, and they'll have a lot more detail on that for us.
If it's okay with you, we'll let that one pass and have the information come back to us.
Do I have agreement on that?
Ms. Bergen.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I don't think that's ideal.
I'm not sure if we're being told by the law clerk. If we have an option, I would say no, that your initial decision was the right decision. If the law clerk is saying we don't have an option, then we don't have an option.
That would be my position. I support your initial decision, unless we don't have an option, and then we're basically just being asked if we approve of the templates, which we do, but I don't think that you did get a consensus on this moving forward.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'll defer to Mr. Dufresne on that.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2020-06-01 16:15
The proposal was to put in force the implementation of the legal obligations, i.e., the templates for the disclosure, and that we as the administration would come back with the process and the details for the use of the Speaker's powers to exempt certain elements of information. That would come at an upcoming board meeting, but the approval would be sought to put in place measures for proactive disclosure as indicated today and required by the legislation.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. Bergen, do you have a follow-up question before we go on? No?
Mr. Holland.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2020-06-01 16:16
I want to be clear on that point. As I understand it, there is no flexibility in terms of what the board can do here. I am sympathetic to the fact that folks have concerns, but I am hearing that there is no flexibility in terms of what we can adopt.
Some of the matters that were being discussed are not even necessarily being changed, for example, the disclosure on designated travellers. It is my understanding that this matter before us is not amending that. I understand that members would have other concerns with it.
The only question is really about the discretion of the Speaker. Maybe I could ask the question more directly and it might clear it up a bit so that folks aren't left with the impression that this discretion is broad. While technically the Speaker could rule that there was an infringement of privilege or security, that ruling would still need to respect that any Speaker who was occupying the chair would be burdened with a need to respect the spirit of the act.
As I understand the spirit of the act, it is disclosure, and if there is a security concern, it's a bit hard for me to understand that security concern when the disclosure is not in real time. I could understand that there would be a security concern if it were in real time.
I think I'm hearing from folks that if there is an act, it doesn't make sense for them to belabour it and they have to accept it, and I think that's where we are. There are some specific questions as to the power the Speaker holds, and I think those powers would probably be defined as rather exceptional in nature and would still need to adhere to the spirit of the act.
There are some technical questions regarding the incredibly rare circumstances in which there would be an unforeseen security concern or infringement of privilege, in which the Speaker would have a ruling, but those would be very limited circumstances, I would think, would they not?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Monsieur Dufresne, did you want to comment on that before we go to Mr. Strahl?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2020-06-01 16:18
It is constrained. It has to be a breach of privilege. That is not an unlimited category, and it has to be a threat to security of persons in the precinct, following a consultation with PPS. There are certainly parameters, and I would agree that the spirit of the act is for disclosure. Again, the act does provide for those specific exceptions, and that's what we would be coming back to the board with in terms of the specific parameters of those exceptions, but the proactive disclosure regime would be put in place.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Holland, you're fine?
We'll go to Mr. Strahl.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Obviously, if things need to be done to meet legal obligations, we're not going to stand in the way while awaiting more information on that interpretation, which I do not think is extremely narrowly defined. I think it's fairly broad. As we've seen, privilege in the House can relate to everything from being on a bus caught behind the Prime Minister's motorcade to someone being denied the ability to speak during S.O. 31 statements. Privilege is broadly defined, so I don't think we can say it's going to be narrow here.
My point is we've entirely glossed over a request for new funds or an FTE or 70% of an FTE. I don't want to gloss over that. To me, we have no.... I'm a little concerned right now. I believe that's for.... Is the JIC getting the extra money? No one is travelling right now and won't be for the foreseeable future. Is this FTE necessary because of new expertise that is required? It would seem to me that the workload of the unit would likely have been reduced. Do we have the ability to shift that, or is it entirely...?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Janse was frozen for a few seconds, but he'll answer the question. Go ahead.
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2020-06-01 16:21
The extra FTEs are required by the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate. As you know, Mr. Strahl, they are a joint directorate, House and Senate, so they deal with the two different financial and HR systems. The volume right now keeps the staff they have on hand for such work already fully occupied. Now with the requirements of Bill C-58, they simply could not produce everything that needs to be produced in light of the new legislation, so therein lies the genesis of the request for the FTE, which would be split 70% for the House, 30% for the Senate.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's very good.
Are there any further questions or comments?
We'll proceed, and we will have a further report at our next Board of Internal Economy meeting on the items that were of concern.
In the meantime, I would recommend that if any other topics come up on this issue, please let us know through my office or the clerk's office, and maybe we can have a more fulsome report or come back and answer any questions that may occur.
Ms. DeBellefeuille, do you have a question or comment?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
I see the meeting's winding down, Mr. Chair. It's 4:20 p.m., and we had planned to go until 5:00 o'clock.
After your conclusion, would you allow me to ask Mr. Patrice a short question regarding the interpretation of parliamentary subcommittees?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Absolutely, there is no problem.
Are there any other questions? No.
We will continue.
Mr. Patrice, can you answer the question, or do you require further details?
Results: 211 - 240 of 459 | Page: 8 of 16

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