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Results: 451 - 480 of 570
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
If we say we don't want it to be changed drastically, for example, then many of those decision points will be taken off the table—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'll now give the floor to Mr. Julian. Ms. DeBellefeuille will speak next, followed by Mr. Strahl.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I looked carefully at the entire document. I want to thank you for providing all this information. However, I don't see the budget figures. Is it because Public Works and Government Services Canada didn't provide approximate amounts for each option?
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-02-27 11:57
The construction manager, meaning Public Works and Government Services Canada, is responsible for the budgets.
I'll ask Ms. Garrett to explain the absence of costs at this stage.
Jennifer Garrett
View Jennifer Garrett Profile
Jennifer Garrett
2020-02-27 11:58
We really do understand that cost is a critical factor in determining and informing the decisions along with other key aspects like, as you indicated earlier, the heritage interventions and things like that. We would never ask parliamentarians to make decisions without understanding those cost details.
In terms of the functional programming, we are here to start the engagement process to see if we have those options right in terms of their functional capabilities to support parliamentary operations. From there we are happy to re-engage and come back to provide you cost ranges on what that might mean. We are at step one of a further discussion about cost to help inform the decision-making process.
The other aspect is the comprehensive assessment program. It's also a key factor in what we learned about the building and what that will involve in terms of modernization. The combination of the functional program and the base-building modernization ultimately inform a building scope, and it's only from there that you can baseline your cost scope and schedule. As you can imagine, there's a very big difference, just to take the chamber, for example, between remaining within the existing chamber versus completely deconstructing a very significant portion of the building and rebuilding it.
We are really not trying to not provide those details, and we're happy to come back with that information. We just need to know and get a better sense, as part of the initial engagement, as to whether the hard work we've done at the staff level with the House of Commons administration is landing in terms of options that make sense operationally for Parliament.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you for that.
There's no doubt that this is important to Canadians; it's the centre of Canadian democracy. At the same time, among those at this table, I represent the riding that's farthest away from Ottawa and most of my constituents will never come to Ottawa. They'll never see the House of Commons and Parliament Hill.
It's about making sure that we do justice to the Centre Block and to the importance of Parliament, but I would certainly disagree with any Cadillac approach where we're putting excessive funds into the building. I think, coming back to the comments that Ms. Bergen and Mr. Holland mentioned—I would agree with both of them—that we need to establish those principles as a starting point so that going into this, we know that we can provide direction. Perhaps, since we don't have the figures in front of us, it's very difficult to even imagine the scope of the project right now, but putting those principles into place can make a real difference.
As Mr. Holland mentioned, moving forward quickly is important because there's also a cost element to not making those decisions. I was part of the building committee that met prior to the election. We basically went with the stripped-down option, but that allowed for some flexibility about decisions post-election. The longer we delay the decisions, the more costs there are for the taxpayers. It's about finding that balance, moving forward immediately with the principles—I agree with Mr. Holland on that—and meeting in a couple of weeks.
I also agree with Mr. Holland on his real reservations about having a joint process with the Senate. We're the elected members. We're the ones who will have to justify decisions back to our voters, perhaps in a few months, perhaps in a few years, so I think, because of that, that there is a principle to our hearing from them but also providing the leadership on that. Moving forward quickly will be important. We'll move forward with principles so we can get this right and in a way that is reasonable to people across the country, including in New Westminster—Burnaby. People will say that we got it right on the House of Commons and Parliament Hill. It's a good building, and we didn't spend excessively to preserve the heritage and the symbolism that is the Parliament building.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good.
Ms. DeBellefeuille, you have the floor.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First, Mr. Patrice, I want to thank you for the quality of the documents that we received in advance. As a result, we can better appreciate today's presentation.
I gather that you're inviting us to take a step forward rather than to simply participate in a committee. This process would continue over time. The process, which has started, would not end with our Parliament, but rather in several Parliaments.
I also understand that all recognized parties in the House of Commons are committed to working in a committee. Regardless of whether the whips or leaders change, the work must continue. In this way, the administration and the experts in the House will shape the new Parliament, with the support and advice of the members who spend a great deal of time there, sometimes even more time than in their own homes.
Perhaps we'll soon resolve one of your issues, and there will be 78 fewer seats in the House of Commons.
We think so, don't we, Mr. Rodriguez?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
That's it. That may be one of the solutions.
All kidding aside, I agree. I share Mr. Holland's view that we should have a joint committee. I think that it's easier for you and for us to be together and to share our common concerns.
We can't be against a guiding principle. However, as a whip, I would like to have known one thing. Members are very busy in parliamentary committees right now. How do you view meetings every two weeks?
Will each two-hour period require decisions every week? We should have time to consult at least with the members of our parties. I don't see how one member can make a decision. It isn't a personal decision, but a decision shared by a few members of caucus, at least.
What do you think of this schedule whereby we meet every two weeks once the committee has started its work? How much work will be required between the two meetings to come up with recommendations or advice from our caucus members?
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-02-27 12:05
I think that it will vary. Obviously, we'll adapt to the consultation needs of the members of this working group.
I'll be honest. I think that some decisions will be simple. For example, I'm thinking of the Hall of Honour. I don't believe that anyone is expecting any changes to the Hall of Honour. On the other hand, other decisions will require a longer discussion or more extensive sharing of information.
I'm suggesting two hours a week to give you an idea of the level of effort required. I may be completely wrong, but it could take six hours of meetings—or three weeks, or a month—before a decision is made. There's no structured goal whereby, every two hours, three decisions must be made. It will depend on the topics discussed and the committee members' need for reflection and consultations.
In addition, it will depend on the amount of information needed. For example, if a cost projection is required to make a decision, I hope or dare hope that the members wouldn't make a decision without knowing the cost. If it takes a month to obtain the costs, it will take another month to make the decisions. In short, it will take as long as is necessary to make a decision. It's certainly not my goal to hold a gun to your head and say that you must make a decision now without considering the costs.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
That's fine.
I imagine that you have an idea of the sequence of events, from the first decision to the last, and ideally the costs involved. You must have a sense of how long it could take to make all the major decisions that guide the start of the work.
Is this specified in the document, or did I miss it?
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-02-27 12:07
It isn't really specified. However, in terms of the House, the halls are very important because they constitute your working environment. The visitors centre is important to us. We must move forward as quickly as possible with these areas.
That said, once again, we don't intend to rush you in your decision making. However, for the sake of responsiveness and to avoid delaying the project, at some point, we may work with parallel designs.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-02-27 12:08
Yes, thank you. They would be concepts, parallel scenarios A or B. We would have already done some work on them once the decision is made.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
This will be my last comment, but I want to talk about something that concerns me. The issue is the space reserved for members who are young parents. The Bloc Québécois currently has about a dozen young members with young children. If we want to draw more young people or women towards politics, I think that we must also provide a space that makes it possible to balance the roles of parent and member.
The renovation of the West Block incorporated a family room, which I don't think is being used to its full potential. The idea is good, but perhaps that room doesn't necessarily meet all the needs identified by the members of my party. I'm thinking of the room's location, size and design.
I don't know whether this issue is part of your plans, but I want each party to have a space that I'll call a “family room,” where parliamentarians could meet with their spouses while waiting to make a speech, and cradle a child and work at the same time. I think that we must keep up with the times. We made the effort to create a family room here. However, if we want to look to the future, I think that we must be mindful of this issue. The needs will be even greater in this area.
It may not be too late for you to bear this in mind, Ms. Kulba.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-02-27 12:10
Thank you. That's also one of our main concerns.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much.
I appreciate the comments by my colleagues—none of whom have senators in their caucus—about how we should just simply tell the Senate how it's going to be.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Mark Strahl: I think that will be challenging, quite frankly.
On that note, who is in charge? Who has the final say on the common elements? For instance, though it is a shared building, we wouldn't have a situation in which we on the House side would say that whatever we need to do, we want six floors. I heard rumours about having to use one of the floors for services, as was indicated previously, and how difficult it would be to run the appropriate wiring and all the rest of it. We couldn't have a situation in which, at the Peace Tower, it went from six to five, or six to seven. Who is in charge of the common elements? I guess that would be the exterior. I don't assume that the interior fixtures will change in the Hall of Honour. Maybe I'm wrong there.
If we know there are common elements, who is making those decisions? I know that senators are very particular about what they want to see. For instance, we've heard that they would like 10 committee rooms on the Senate side. I just pull that out as an example.
I have two questions.
Who ensures the common elements? Will that be coming back to us, or is it going to be that we recommend and they look at it? Is that a whole circular discussion?
Then, is there a challenge function at either the department or somewhere else where, if it is deemed that one of the two occupants of the building is making requests that are simply outside of what is reality, Public Services and Procurement Canada would have a challenge function to say, “You might want that, but it's not going to happen”, or is it always deferring to parliamentarians to have to make those decisions?
Duncan Retson
View Duncan Retson Profile
Duncan Retson
2020-02-27 12:12
Thank you. It's an excellent question. It's really important question, and pretty central, in fact.
The truth of the matter is that with a shared building and a shared facility, as we say here, there actually is a shared accountability on this one. As was set out through the presentation, our department and our minister act as custodian. Our department is responsible for doing basically the project management and project delivery. We've adopted an interesting model for Centre Block especially, given the shared accountability.
As to the shared part, parliamentarians ultimately set what their needs are—and that's parliamentarians from both Houses, supported by the respective administrations and, as was mentioned earlier in the presentation as well, the key supporting functions. Those would be the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Protective Service, with each of their responsibilities. Those requirements are set by those entities, and we work together.
What is interesting and a bit novel for us is that Jennifer is leading not just a PSPC team, but an integrated project office that consists of representatives from the firms we've hired to conduct the work, and members of the House administration and members of the Senate administration. Different people are coming together, and we're working together on this to try to collectively work out the requirements. In effect, there's what I'm going to call an on-the-ground challenge function that happens in real time as we move through this together, with the respective administrations all working together as a part of this integrated project office to try to pull common decisions together, because it is a common space, to your exact point.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe Mr. Julian has another question.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I'm not done.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Oh, I'm sorry. Mr. Strahl, please continue.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Patrice was going to speak, too.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2020-02-27 12:14
I just want to add something in terms of how the government or system works. At the end of the day, the government is responsible; it is holding the purse. They have has the financial initiative. For example, if the government feels they don't want to spend that kind of money the requirements that have been sought, they cannot present those budgets that would support those requirements. At the same time, as you know, it's Parliament that approves. That's the higher principle with regard to what I would suggest are excessive requirements, either by the House, for example, or....
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I'm not sure if it's appropriate to ask, Mr. Chair, if you have met with the minister. Have you talked to the minister about this project, the long-term vision and plan? Perhaps at a future meeting it would be productive, while we're discussing this, to have.... As Mr. Patrice has said, this is a government decision. There's a minister responsible for this file. It might be something we discuss. I don't want to put someone on the spot here, but we work through all of these officials, who are doing great work, but the minister is accountable for her department as well. Perhaps she would come here either to give her perspective on this project, as one of her files, or to hear from us once we have developed this working group or the plan from this side, so that we are all on the same page as members of Parliament and the minister.
I think it would be productive. I just throw that out there, as Mr. Holland has, about the timing of a meeting. I think it would be good for us to hear from the minister and to include her and her office as much as possible in this process so that we're not running at cross purposes.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have not met with the minister. I have met with Monsieur Patrice and his team for maybe a little bit more in-depth update, a briefing, on what's gone on so far in here. I'm sure that's something we can consider as a board and go from there.
Thank you.
Mr. Julian.
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