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Results: 1 - 15 of 44
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I have another one as well, Mr. Chair, if I can.
With regard to the litigation that the government has brought with you named, Mr. Chair, I thought it might be beneficial for us to have an in camera briefing, just to find out a little bit about the litigation strategy that will be followed by the House in defending themselves against the government in the Federal Court procedure. I want to throw that out as an item that we could add to the agenda.
Obviously it's timely, so I don't think it's something that we can leave for a future meeting, but I think it would be helpful for all of us to have some sort of briefing on that. I would suggest that it be in camera.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe that's already open and ready to go in camera. I believe we have unanimous consent to go along with that.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Further to that, I also wanted to get.... I don't know who the appropriate person is to ask for an opinion on this, but I'm sure you can direct it to whomever it's appropriate to answer. With regard to that, obviously we're talking about a situation where it is in fact the government that is taking the House to court in that instance. Obviously, there are members of the board who are ministers in that government. I don't know, but it did occur to me that there's a possibility that there could be a conflict of interest for them to participate in those discussions. I don't know if they've personally given any thought to that, but maybe it would be good to get an opinion on whether it's appropriate for them to be a part of that discussion or not.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
If it's okay with the members, maybe we can approach it once we go in camera. We'll have the House of Commons lawyer, Mr. Dufresne, comment on that and then we can make a decision.
Is that fair?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay. Let's go with that, then. That gives everyone some time to reflect until we get there. There are no decisions made on the spot, and we'll make sure it's the right decision to make.
Mr. Julian will be followed by Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
I was going to reiterate the same comments Mr. Richards made. I agree that, as part of the in camera, we should be briefed on the court case against the House.
Thank you for that.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Excellent, thanks.
I had a similar question for you, in relation to the resources available to you.
With the government making an application to the Federal Court, and a number of requests put to you to help determine the appropriateness of certain documents being released, based on orders of a variety of committees and the House itself, do you have the resources that you need at this time to manage both that Federal Court procedure against the House and those requests for documents?
Are you handling that Federal Court application in-house, or are you going to be engaging outside counsel?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2021-06-28 11:34
Thank you, Mr. Richards.
It's certainly been a busy time for the office, but we have been able to provide the service and the advice. With regard to the litigation matter, we have the resources to deal with it. We have retained outside counsel and we'll be working very closely with them in terms of directing and giving instructions. This is something that I will continue to monitor very closely, but for the moment, and thanks to this board's earlier decision that had increased the resources for my office, I feel that I have the necessary resources to continue to provide the services.
Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Perfect. When I heard the answer, I was kind of worried that she wasn't answering you directly, but she got to it and it was part of the next presentation, so it all worked out very well.
Are there any other questions or comments? Are we all in agreement?
We'll continue then.
The next one will be the implementation of the proactive disclosure requirements of the Access to Information Act in the House of Commons. The presenters will be Daniel Paquette, chief financial officer; Philippe Dufresne, law clerk and parliamentary counsel; and José Fernandez, deputy chief financial officer.
We'll let Daniel start.
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-06-01 15:16
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
If you want to follow along, I know you have a lot of material in the binder related to this topic, but I'll be using the shorter deck to really walk through some of the key items here, and that deck is entitled, “Implementing the Proactive Disclosure Requirements”. That is for you to follow along with the presentation. Also in the materials you have are all the mock-ups that'll show you how the information will appear when we are able to publish to meet the requirements of the act. Today I'll really just focus on the items that pertain to the information that's going to be published and not necessarily on the format or the look and feel.
I won't be spending much time on slide 2 of the deck. It's just for background information. It really provides you an overview of the evolution of the last almost 20 years of what we've done around disclosure for the House of Commons. Obviously, I'm here today for that last step, in which 2020 will be the first disclosure, to comply with Bill C-58.
Slide 3 highlights some of the changes to what will be disclosed for members. With regard to travel, we will now be disclosing all travel incurred using House funds. For members, that will mean the detailed disclosure for travel that was basically covered by the MOB, not only the travel that was using the travel points system. For hospitality, there are no changes in the information that's going to be disclosed in terms of what we have been doing versus what the bill requires.
With regard to contracts, the column on the resources provided by the House will no longer be part of the quarterly report disclosure going forward. All contracts for which the member is the contracting authority will now be disclosed. In this case here, that means that all expenses incurred that would not already be disclosed under either travel, hospitality or the travel summary will be subject to detailed disclosure in this particular category. These expenses will be disclosed quarterly again, but they will not be cumulative as has been the case in the past, and they will still be published within 90 days of the quarter end.
On slide 4, changes for the presiding officers and House officers, there will be no changes to the information to be disclosed for travel or hospitality for these groups. When it comes to contracts, it is similar in that all expenses incurred that are not disclosed in the categories of travel, hospitality and salaries will also be disclosed in this category and again at the quarterly disclosure within 90 days of the period end.
One of the places we'll see the most significant changes is in relation to the House administration. I have that on slide 5. In all categories those disclosures will now start to happen. When we get to the travel and hospitality, it's all-encompassing so it will be all travel and all hospitality for all employees of the House, which will be disclosed in these detailed listings. For the contracts, we'll be looking at all contracts over $10,000, and we will also be disclosing the call-ups on standing offers that will be over $10,000 within that particular reporting period.
The expenses, again, are always disclosed quarterly, but what will be different for the administration is that this publication will be within 60 days of the quarter end, not 90 days. It's a little quicker after the period end.
Slide 6 gives you a bit of the changes pertaining to parliamentary diplomacy and committees. To meet the requirements for this group, changes are being made to the existing reports to meet all the requirements of the act. Parliamentary diplomacy will maintain their existing reports but add reports around delegations, around hosting and operating expenses, and around conferences. These reports will be published on the parliamentary diplomacy website also within 60 days. For committees, liaison has approved two proposals. One is a modification to the existing activity in the expenditure reports to break down the hospitality items. The new detailed travel expenditure report will also be added. Both of these will be disclosed on the committees website.
Also for this group, in order to meet the requirements of this act, IIA has asked for one additional resource, for the funding to cover at least 70% of the cost of that resource for the IIA.
In addition, the Access to Information Act provides two exceptions to proactive disclosure: security and parliamentary privilege. It is the Speaker of the House who has the authority to decide, and the administration will communicate to everyone in due course the process and criteria governing these exceptions. We will also conduct an analysis of all existing House contracts to determine the application of these exceptions, if any.
In conclusion, the administration has modified its tools and practices to meet the requirements of the act and we have a communication and training plan that is ready to be deployed to implement these changes.
To that end, we are here today to recommend to the Board of Internal Economy that it approve the recommendations presented in the submission. Specifically, we are asking the board to approve the proposed approach, changes to the disclosure reports, necessary amendments to the members' by-laws, changes to the Members' Allowances and Services Manual, and funding to cover the equivalent of 70% of a full-time employee.
We're ready to answer your questions. Thank you.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
First of all, Mr. Paquette, can you be clear that everything you're proposing here is required by the act? Is there any flexibility, or did the ship sail when royal assent was given to this bill?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-06-01 15:23
We have been working with the legal counsel to make sure we were just disclosing what's required by the act, which is why some of the pieces, like the resources provided by the House, are not required and are not going to be in these detailed listings, but the interpretation has been taken to the extreme. We've worked with everybody in the organization to try to make sure we were meeting the requirements and not going overboard.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Can you confirm if the requirement for designated traveller expenditures being separated from...? I found it interesting that the House administration reporting requirement is a cumulative amount—that's what I understood you to say—that it will be a global number, or would it say, “Mr. Paquette took the following trips”?
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2020-06-01 15:24
It will say, “Mr. Paquette took this particular trip.” There will be detailed disclosure for all employees. This is different from what we'll see in the rest of the public service, where it's all employees and not just senior officials.
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