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Results: 1 - 15 of 59
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Since we want to discuss a lot of topics today, I will start immediately.
First, I want to mention that I am very pleased with the progress we have made and especially with the fact that we have more and more equipment that reduces the injury rate of interpreters. Interpreters do a lot of hard work and reducing the number of injuries helps them tremendously.
Second, I would like to ask Mr. Aubé a question. While we are pleased with the progress, there are still some problems. What will it take for us to reduce the incidents affecting our interpreters to zero?
I have experience working in factories where you go days, weeks or months without an injury. It's part of the workers' health and safety program.
What do we need to do to reduce to zero the incidents that cause problems and injuries to our interpreters, who are doing an outstanding job?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
I have said this before at the Board of Internal Economy. I believe firmly that we have to put our partisan hats aside at the Board of Internal Economy. I certainly prefer that we not have these kinds of debates. I don't think they are appropriate for the board where it is strictly non-partisan and where we put aside whatever party, whether we represent the government or the opposition. This is not the place nor the role for the BOIE. I feel uncomfortable with a couple of the comments that have come up so far today.
I just wanted to raise that.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to ask any questions, but I do want to make a comment.
I would like to say that I support the recommendations that have been provided. I think it is extremely important to have a reasonable transition period. We know full well how difficult it is to go through an election period and then to not have the resources for everyone, the outgoing employees and the members, for the ensuing transition. That is a problem. So I think this approach makes sense because it improves that transition.
I would also say, Mr. Chair, that I think a more appropriate transition is also good for Canadians. We have a situation where MPs come out of an election campaign. If we're talking about a defeated member of Parliament, it's important that there be some transition with the new member of Parliament, even if they are from a different party.
Putting in place these measures, I think, just makes sense for their constituents as well. We need to have a little more of a framework and support and order around the transition that comes out of the chaos of an election campaign, so I fully support these measures.
Thank you.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
I agree with Mrs. DeBellefeuille and Mr. Richards. It is problematic.
Our country advocates the equality of the two official languages. This means that in committees and in Parliament, we must have access to interpretation services at all times. Interpreters are extremely dedicated and they work hard. However, there is a significant lack of resources, which has already been recognized, but is now critical.
Unfortunately, in all likelihood, there will be a third wave of the pandemic. This means that resources will have to be in place for parliamentarians to continue their work in virtual mode.
The issue that has just been raised is crucial. It is important that we respond by putting the necessary resources in place to ensure that employees are treated well and that their health and safety are not jeopardized.
In addition, committee members must be able to meet while having the resources to work.
For all these reasons, I stress the importance of responding to this urgent need, as my colleagues have done.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank Mr. Paquette and the House administration.
I certainly support the extension of these measures. In our case, in downtown New Westminster where my constituency office is, those measures have allowed us to put up plexiglass panels to protect our employees. We're in a very high-traffic area in the downtown area. Even though our office is largely functioning virtually, when constituents do need to come in, my staff are protected.
I think that these measures have been sensible, and they've been effective, allowing members of Parliament to make the important adjustments that come with this pandemic.
The new variants of COVID-19 are worrisome, as we all know, and many people are predicting a third wave coming this spring. It makes sense, then, I believe, for us to extend the measures so that members of Parliament and their employees can be protected and can continue to serve their constituents in a way that protects everybody.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I would like to thank Mrs. DeBellefeuille for proposing this compromise.
Health specialists are saying very clearly that we probably won't be out of the woods for another year. So I don't think that vaccination dates should be part of our decisions today.
We should decide to put all possible measures in place to protect the public and our employees and to continue our work as parliamentarians. It is for this reason that I fully support the recommendations of Mr. Paquette and the House Administration. However, as Mrs. DeBellefeuille said, I understand that we are an entity that advocates unanimity and consensus, so I am prepared to support her proposal.
I am not ready to say that we will be out of the woods in September. I hope so, but I don't think so. If we rely on projections, especially if we take into account the new variants of the virus, we may unfortunately have to wait at least a year before we can say that we are out of this pandemic.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
My question is on the same subject.
If the letter has not been forwarded to all committee members, it's important that it be sent to them right away. We must ensure that Parliament works well in both official languages and that high-quality interpretation services are available to everyone. I am a little concerned to find that some committees have not yet discussed it.
It is really important that the letter besent to all members so that steps can be taken to ensure that the two official languages are on equal footing during virtual sittings of the House and the committees.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
There are some laudable suggestions in the document. My own experience, anecdotally, with the external suppliers, the local suppliers, was that what made the difference, and why we were able to get things out more quickly—during a pandemic, of course, it's vital to get information in the hands of my constituents—was the mailing delay that came from Ottawa.
We have very talented staff in Ottawa, they do a terrific job in the printing centre, but often, it's a two-week delay getting it from Ottawa to New Westminster—Burnaby. For the external suppliers, in our case, even though it's correct to point out that they may not be as efficient and may not understand the Canada Post preparation as well as staff in Ottawa, the reality is that, once it's actually dropped at the post office, it's a one- or two-day delay, as opposed to a one- or two-week delay.
That needs to be taken into consideration. We have a vast geography, and the mailing times add complexity to mailings that are particularly tied to specific events. It makes a difference to be able to use local suppliers for certain types of mailings.
I agree with enhancing the printing team in Ottawa. There's absolutely no doubt that would mean that things could be produced more quickly for our constituents, but I also believe local suppliers definitely have a place. In the case of a British Columbia MP, it means that the overall length of time is quicker, even if it takes twice as long to produce the printing, because it takes 10% of the time to actually do the mailing and get it into the riding.
I wanted to give you that feedback, because that needs to be taken into consideration as well when we're looking at the overall proposal that comes to the BOIE.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Janse.
This information is very useful and very important to us, given our current concerns about the decline of French in Canada. Over the past few weeks, we've initiated some parliamentary debates on this topic and have adopted several motions.
I was interested to learn that over one-third of witnesses can speak French. The problem is not so much the number of francophone and francophile witnesses, but rather the infrastructure shortcomings.
At meetings of the Standing Committee on Finance, I saw interpretation problems several times, as a result of which people who were speaking French felt obliged to switch to English.
I believe the figures would back me up on this. People don't feel comfortable speaking French if the equipment is unsatisfactory and the interpreters can't do their work. As a result, they tend to switch to English, which is something that really should be avoided. The recommendations being made here should be forwarded to all the committees. Furthermore, it's important to firmly support the idea that the technology needs to be perfect so that witnesses can speak French in the knowledge that they'll be able to count on the excellent House interpretation services.
These statistics are very important, and I'd like to thank you for passing this information on to us. I think everyone around this table would be in favour of immediately and forcefully implementing the recommendations that were made.
For me, it would be a dream come true.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Stanton.
I know there's a tremendous amount of work involved, in addition to all the other hats you wear, so our thanks to you and to the team of members of Parliament working with staff on this difficult issue.
I have a number of questions, so I'll just lay them all out. I think that is easiest.
First off, in terms of the centre light court infill, you haven't mentioned what the possible use would be for that shared space. It would be helpful to have a few more details on that proposal.
On the infill courts, the west light court and the light-well, those seem to me to be no-brainers. Having had an office a number of times on that west court, I know the amount of wasted energy that is required to heat the four walls of the courtyard rather than just covering it over and using that space far more effectively. On the light-well, it never made sense to me why that was blocked in the first place. Again, there's an energy loss there, so bravo for looking at that.
My concern about the galleries, quite frankly, is that we are cutting basically in half the participation of people who are able to come directly into the House of Commons and see parliamentarians at work. As someone who comes from the far west of Canada—5,000 kilometres away—I know that when any of my constituents make their way across Canada, they want to have the full experience of our democracy, and often, they want to be able to participate in the House of Commons. That hasn't been a problem generally, but if we're cutting the number of seats in half, I think that would be. I would raise concerns about that.
Yes, absolutely we need to have the ability for people with reduced mobility and people with disabilities to be able to participate fully. There are designated spaces that could achieve that, but I'm very concerned about the cuts in the number of people who can actively participate. Could you perhaps explain a little bit more? You mentioned a scaling-up on occasion. That may happen more often than not. Particularly when we open the new building, we'll have people coming from across the country to see it. We certainly saw that with the Library of Parliament, so if you could go a little bit more into that, I would appreciate it.
I gather that a dedicated internal vertical circulation is Ottawa-speak for stairs or an elevator, and I'm wondering in terms of the lobby what that actually means. It would seem to me that given the narrowness of the lobby space, what we are actually doing is having the lobbies one floor down, and how that access up and down is achieved is important.
My final question is the most important one. What are the cost differentials in doing this? I assume from the west light court and the light-well that the energy savings will probably be far beyond the renovation costs. For some of the other things, it would be helpful for us to know at least in a ballpark way what the differential is between what would be a scaled-down version and what could be proposed. As we're going through a pandemic, most Canadians want to make sure every dollar spent is spent effectively.
Nobody wants to see a deterioration of the Centre Block. Quite the contrary, they want to see a renovation, but they don't want to see frills. We have to be very conscious of that to make sure that every dollar spent is effective.
Those are my questions. Thank you.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
I honestly find it disturbing that the main estimates show an increase of approximately 5% over last year. The inflation rate is around 1%. In the presentation you just made—and I thank you very much for it, Mr. Paquette—you say that salaries rose, which is normal, but also that expenses for computers, security and administration also increased. You also discussed the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic had during the past year and that it will also have over the next fiscal year.
Mr. Paquette, I'm going to ask you two questions. First, can you tell us, in general terms, about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential repercussions for next year's main estimates?
Second, do you anticipate that the main estimates won't be as high? I think people expect that overall budgets won't increase significantly during the pandemic and that they'll be reasonable. If the main estimates rise considerably relative to last year, but the supplementary estimates are much lower next year, we'll approach a balanced budget. However, it will be more disturbing if there are just as many increases in the supplementary estimates.
Thank you for all the details included in these estimates.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I agree with Mr. Holland on this. We have some extremely important decisions to get to. I've found the staff are very good at providing answers on the financial records.
There are also questions that really are a matter for House leaders and whips to discuss in another forum. We need to focus on the work that we need to do as a board of internal economy. For example, today I can't go past one o'clock and we're not going to get to the end of the agenda, which means we'll have to meet again next week. We're meeting now on a weekly basis.
Mr. Holland's comments are very valid. We have to be concise and focused. We have to do the work we have and ask the important questions, but there are many ways of asking those questions beforehand and also of making sure that the issues that are a part of another domain, like House leaders and the whips' meetings, are kept there.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I'd like to know the date when we'll receive the report.
We'll of course have to mail out other householders early next year. Since we're still in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing whether our offices can do business with local printers could make a difference.
If we don't receive the report within a few months, we'll lose that opportunity to mail householders to our fellow citizens.
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