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Results: 1 - 30 of 1310
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome to meeting number 18 of the Board of Internal Economy of the 43rd Parliament.
We will begin with the first item, the minutes of the previous meeting. Are there any questions about it? Since I see no raised hands, let's continue.
We will now move on to business arising from the previous meeting, the dashboards and virtual committees. Are there any questions on that?
Ms. DeBellefeuille, you have the floor.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I would like to address two items of business arising from the previous meeting.
I would like to talk about the dashboards first. I read them carefully and they are very useful in my work as a whip. If I may, I would like to ask a few questions about the dashboard.
On page 3 of the report, it says that the preliminary tests are 96% done. Does this mean that 96% of witnesses have undergone a preliminary test? Is that what that means, Mr. Janse?
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2021-06-10 11:11
That is exactly right, Ms. DeBellefeuille.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
All right.
Does what is written on page 4 mean that half of the witnesses did not have headsets that complied with our standards?
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2021-06-10 11:11
Either they didn't have a headset sent by the House or they were using a headset that was not approved by the House. Obviously, there are improvements to be made in this area. The difficulty is always having the time to send headsets to witnesses.
Lastly, we have put in place a process in collaboration with Mr. Aubé's team, which has approved a list of good headsets. When we don't have time to send a headset to witnesses, we encourage them to buy one themselves and then we reimburse them. We hope this will help us to have a better success rate on future dashboards.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Good.
The last question I have on this part is about page 6.
When witnesses come to committee and they don't have headsets or they don't have the equipment, what happens?
Are witnesses automatically invited to reappear? Has there been testimony without headsets, and therefore without interpretation?
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2021-06-10 11:12
If there are any problems during the pre-test or on the day of the meeting itself, or if the witness simply does not have a headset, the clerk will notify the committee chair following discussions with the technical team. The chair can provide this information to the committee, and it is up to the committee to decide what to do.
The committee can decide to hear the witness anyway, or, as you suggested, they can ask that witness to come back to another hearing when they are better equipped. This is really at the discretion of the committee, which decides how it will proceed.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Fine.
Yesterday, at the Standing Liaison Committee, someone said that most committees have adopted housekeeping motions that ask the committee chair to tell members at the beginning of the meeting whether the tests have been done and whether the witnesses have the necessary equipment. This makes things easier.
It was noted that few chairs made this statement at the beginning of the meeting. Knowing in advance that witnesses do not have helmets or that they have technical difficulties can be helpful. It allows the committee to make a decision at the outset rather than finding that the witness does not have everything they need during their testimony. Members may be too uncomfortable to interrupt.
So committee chairs have been asked to indicate this at the beginning of the sitting. I encourage the whips to remind all committee members that it is important to know this at the beginning of the meeting so that good decisions can be made. This prevents witnesses from appearing without the right equipment, which has implications for our interpreters.
The other point I wanted to make is to you, Mr. Chair.
It concerns your ruling in the House on Monday, June 7, regarding the misconduct of the member for Pontiac and your willingness to ask the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to look into this matter. I had discussions with my colleagues prior to the Board of Internal Economy meeting. I had invited you to review the decision to put the April 14 incident on the agenda, and I note that this item is absent. So I wanted to thank you for listening to all the members of the committee.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
You're welcome.
Now we'll go to Mr. Richards.
Mr. Deltell will be next.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I had two items of my own, but I'm not sure if I misunderstood what Ms. DeBellefeuille said. Was she suggesting that we put something up for discussion?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
No, the item relating to the April 14 has been removed from the agenda.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
She's just confirming that she's agreed to that.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Exactly. She's just thanking us for listening to her point.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. Thank you, I appreciate that.
I have two things to raise.
The first one is that we have been provided some information with regard to technical incidents, etc., at committees. That brings to mind for me that there has been some discussion around here about fairly significant technical upgrades that are required this summer that would make resources unavailable for a couple of different and fairly lengthy periods of time.
I wondered if we could get a bit more information on what those upgrades entail. Specifically, we've been operating in a hybrid manner and we've seen some challenges with the availability of resources as a result. Particularly in the last couple of days, we've seen the other three whips agreeing to cancel meetings to ensure that certain other committee meetings occur. Of course, that's not something I've agreed to, but it has happened, and obviously it's unfortunate to say the least when we are in situations where committees are not able to do the work they're supposed to do.
I would assume that with vaccination rates rising and whatnot, we'll probably be seeing an end to hybrid sittings of committees within a fairly short period of time, but I am curious about the technical upgrades being done this summer. Are some of them related to hybrid sittings? Are technical upgrades needed for other reasons? Maybe you could just elaborate a bit on what those upgrades are and why they're required. I'm not certain I have enough information.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay, we'll pass that on to Monsieur Aubé.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I do have one other thing that—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
It's fine, we can—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Is it related to this one?
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
No, they're separate. I just want you to know that I still want the floor.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay, we'll come back to you again.
Monsieur Aubé.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2021-06-10 11:18
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Richards, thank you for the question.
We're planning two windows of maintenance for the summer.
The plan is for the first period to deal with updates to the chamber systems and committee rooms. We haven't had a chance since the end of January to do the necessary maintenance for security reasons, because all the systems we're using are actually connected to the Internet.... There's some patching to be done. We tried to do it, sir, during the March and April time frame and then we ran into a lot of issues because we didn't have the appropriate time frames to do the testing required before releasing these into production. So we have moved all of our scheduled windows to two windows this summer.
The first one is right after the adjournment of the session, hopefully after June 23 to the end of June and the beginning of July, and then the last window, sir, is for what we are calling a “multimedia operation centre” where we distribute all content to Canada. All of the maintenance for that system hasn't been done in over eight months, and it's required so that we can properly support the chamber, distribute the content to Canada, and also ensure that we have a secure environment for the operations to work.
It's not about our people, sir. It's really about making sure that the systems are up and functioning and that we can do the necessary testing so that we can minimize the number of incidents we have in the chamber or committee rooms. Those are our plans.
Usually we do this on a year-to-year basis. We've been doing it since I've been at the House, for more than 20 years. We've always used these windows because we've had the opportunity in the summer, but this year has been a little bit different because we haven't had a lot of the windows we usually do. That's why we're focusing on this at this time.
Having said that, sir, if ever there's a need for the House to come back, if there's ever a need for another priority, as we did at Christmas, we have plans in place to make sure that Parliament can sit. If ever it is the decision of Parliament to bring back the House, we will certainly make sure that you can do your work as usual.
That's my commitment to the House, Mr. Speaker.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll go back to Mr. Richards, and then over to Mr. Julian.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, I just have one very short follow-up. I appreciate the information, which is very informative and helpful.
You mentioned that if there were a need for the House to sit, you would make sure it could happen. That's obviously incredibly important.
Would the same apply if there were emergency committee meetings? Would you be able to find a way to make sure they can operate as well?
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2021-06-10 11:20
It would be our goal to do so.
Our preference is to keep that window open if we can. If the House decides that we need to have this to happen, sir, we've always found ways to make it happen. We're going to try to do our best to make this happen, sir.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Sure. I appreciate.
I know you always have done everything you can, so I appreciate that. Thank you for the information.
I have another matter I want to raise quickly.
We have lost or will soon be losing three of the most senior procedural clerks in the House: Colette Labrecque-Riel, Beverley Isles, and as I understand now, André Gagnon. We're going to see his retirement soon. These are three of the most senior people we have. I think there's close to 100 years of combined experience there. One of them, literally, wrote the book on procedure.
First of all, we want to acknowledge and thank them for all of the work and the contributions they have made to this place. However, I suppose it also raises a question on which I want to see if we can get some information brought back to the board. I understand that each of them has at different times been on medical leave in the last few years and then have ultimately decided to retire early. They all strike me as pretty young despite their lengthy years of service, so it seems as though those retirements could be coming a little early. Losing even one of them is a huge loss to this House, but quite frankly, losing three of them is probably an immeasurable loss.
Can we get a report back on whether there has been any work done on determining whether there are any internal factors that have caused such a significant and unexpected turnover? Is there anything being done both to try to mitigate their loss and as to whether there's anything we need to correct to ensure that we're not finding something occurring that's causing three of our more senior people to choose to leave in what I would say seem to be early retirements?
Can we ask that the administration examine that and come back with something on that? If there's any comment now, I'd be happy to hear if anything has been done.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's a fair request. We'll ask the administration to come up with a report and find out if there's anything—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
That's unless there's anything to report now. If not—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. Laframboise, did you want to add something?
Would you have something to report on that, or should we come back with a report?
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