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Results: 1 - 15 of 22
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
First, let me thank you and the entire team for your efforts. There has been a marked improvement in the quality of the interpretation, but also in the health of our interpreters. Thank you very much for your efforts.
I have just a quick note. If we're going to talk on the issue of resources, then I really do want to raise this point. It is the opposition's right, of course, to troll and look for anything it might find useful for itself. Hopefully its principle purpose in that is what's useful for the country. It's the government's right to disagree with what it is trying to bring forward and say that is not what is of most importance to the nation right now or for the advantage of Parliament.
I do think it's a good opportunity to talk about the use of Standing Order 106(4). I do think it's a good time to talk about all of the creation of new committees and work that is being placed on interpreters and to ask who is creating that work. Who is demanding all of these additional resources and all of the additional time that is being taken? Of course, that is a rhetorical question. I would never actually ask that of House administration because that would be an incredibly partisan thing to do and this is not supposed to be a partisan environment.
I do think it is worthwhile for us, as we think about the people who work with us and who do an incredible job of supporting us as we pursue our individual agendas and what we are trying to take care of, to think about the work that they have to do and how much time they have to spend to do it.
As the opposition creates new committee meetings under Standing Order 106(4) and decides to continue to press issues that are not being talked about in the national dialogue and demands that Parliament spend all of its time and energy on those issues, perhaps the opposition members could give some time and consideration for all of the people they are putting out along the way.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll just note that I'm noticing that these meetings are running a lot longer. The frequency of meetings is starting to increase significantly because we're taking a long time to get through the business.
I would encourage members to avail themselves of the opportunity before the meetings to try to go through as many of these questions as possible. We typically move through these agenda items a lot more rapidly. I'm just concerned that we're not getting through these items with how much time we have. I'm concerned about the frequency of meetings we're having with BOIE. We're going to start turning it into a weekly meeting here, Mr. Speaker.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Thank you so much, Mr. Stanton. Thank you for your report. Thank you for the work being done by the working group. I do support the recommendations.
My question isn't with respect to the recommendations before us today. This question is for the House administration and those involved on the staff side of the project. I'm wondering whether we could get a bit of an update on the implications of COVID on construction timelines. I know that there was some concern, when we were initially talking about this project, around the decisions we were making, the speed of those decisions, and their implications for the timeline of the project. I'm wondering if we could have a bit of an update on those items.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It's not a question; it's a comment.
We make a lot of requests for people who make mistakes, and it's very uncommon that I would suggest a member bring this forward.
I appreciate that normally these matters wouldn't come forward, but after I spoke with Mr. Blois, I realized it was an honest mistake that was happening around wanting to get out information on COVID-19. We did change the policy a couple of weeks later, and in this case, the member is proposing that he charge his member's—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'll try to be very brief and to the point. I don't know if anybody can hear me. I'm not sure what's happened. I seem to have had a major technological malfunction here.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ajax could use better Internet.
I will try. I don't know what to say. Can folks hear me right now?
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
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 Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
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 Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, there have been very productive discussions among members of the board with respect to this item. I first want to thank my colleagues for those conversations, which have been very fruitful, and provide a recommendation. I thought it would be appropriate for me to start by summarizing as best I can the conversations we've had.
The intention would be to create a subcommittee, a working group, if you will, comprised of members of Parliament from all recognized parties that would be a subcommittee of the Board of Internal Economy, and would report its recommendations to the Board of Internal Economy. We've had some conversations on this to get the composition right. I'm proposing three Liberals, two Conservatives, one Bloc and one NDP for that working group.
From our own perspective, we'll be populating it with members of PROC to harmonize the process and the work PROC has been doing with the work we are doing.
The Senate would then choose its own working group format. It could have a conversation about matters specifically of import to the Senate, the Senate chamber, the Senate meeting rooms and that sort of thing. However, where there is overlap, those two bodies could meet jointly and try to find a way to get on the same page.
The Board of Internal Economy, though, and we would be seeking to do it at this meeting, would be looking to provide specific direction that the overriding principle be the preservation of heritage.
Candice, I know you had some specific thoughts about some of the pieces, some “thou shalt not touch” provisions: Thou shalt not touch the chamber. Thou shalt not touch the Hall of Honour. Thou shalt not touch the entrance for members. Thou shalt not touch la Francophonie. We would place specific direction to restore these elements of heritage and not contemplate any amendment or potential destruction of these elements of heritage.
I don't think this needs to be part of a motion, but it's important to state that the assistant deputy minister for parliamentary infrastructure of the Department of Public Services and Procurement, or his or her designate, would operate as liaison to the working group to make sure there's that connection between the ministerial side and the work of the parliamentary group. Obviously, it would be led by the parliamentary group, and the minutes of the working group meeting would be recorded and made public 30 days following a meeting.
Mr. Speaker, that builds on the conversations we had at the previous meeting, where we really heard from all members around the importance of—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, that is my understanding. I'm looking at Charles to see if this has been circulated to members.
I think the text is available in both official languages.
Members should have that in front of them. I'm suggesting that as a framework for the motion that we can hopefully proceed with today.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm open. My thinking would be that we would allow that body to make a determination. The parameters are fairly tight. If the committee wanted to hear representation on public use of the front lawn and the implication on the design....
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
With officials.
Again, if we want to be so prescriptive as to say that body wouldn't hear from anybody outside of officials and parliamentarians, I'm a little loath to place that restriction on them. I'd rather have them come to that conclusion as part of their process. I'd be interested in hearing you expand upon the....
If I could, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the officials, my understanding is that by placing the “thou shall not touch” provisions and the overall directive of preservation of heritage, it takes away some of the time pressure that was previously discussed. One of the biggest concerns was the decision on the size of the chamber, as an example, and that impeding the ability to proceed with construction in the summer.
Is that correct?
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, if I could just finish the point, I think we have more time as a result. If this direction is carried out, we have considerably more time than we had previously. The urgency is lifted a little. Therefore, my suggestion would be to leave it to that body to make a determination on how best to comport itself and how best to come to the conclusions for the recommendations they're going to give to this body.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a reflection, but I'll wait for my turn.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you. Let me just go through a couple of little points that were raised.
On the first point raised by Mr. Strahl, Mr. Speaker, I think it is certainly the intention of this document and reflective of the conversations that we had that this would create a body, not three, so that it would give very clear responsibility for the adjudication of recommendations to this body, that the body would then be reporting back to BOIE. The intention really of doing this is to ensure that we don't have multiple different channels for the House administration to be dealing with, which is also partly the reason I don't want to be too prescriptive about how that body conducts itself, but ultimately it would be recommendations that would be coming back here.
If there wasn't clarity here, hopefully that clarity will be reflected in the conversations and will therefore be carried in the spirit of what is created. I'm comfortable with adding additional words, but I think that the unanimity of this body probably is sufficient. I wouldn't be uncomfortable with additional words if that made people more comfortable.
What I think would be sufficient to start with, to answer the question posed by Madam Bergen, is that we have some immediate ones that we've already agreed to as a group in our conversations that should not be touched. On the “thou shall not touch” list we have the chamber itself, the entrance at West Block and the Hall of Honour.
Then I would say that the list will certainly be more expansive than that, but I think we can start there and stay those categorically today.
Then, my recommendation would be to ask the House administration to come back to us with a list of heritage features that we can take a look at and potentially add to that list. I can tell you that when the chamber was closed and they had the opportunity to lock hallways, when all the doors were open and nobody was in the building, there were some rooms that I walked into that I didn't even know existed. They were just magnificent, and it would rip my heart out to see them transformed. I may not—or this body may not—even be fully cognizant of all of the heritage features that decisions have to be made on.
Through you, Mr. Speaker, to Mr. Patrice, would it be sufficient at this point to give you that specific direction on the pieces of heritage that I have identified, to come back with a more expansive list of heritage features that we could review for our next meeting and then make a decision whether or not to add to that list?
Results: 1 - 15 of 22 | Page: 1 of 2

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