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Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2021-03-25 11:36
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am pleased to present a submission seeking approval from the Board of Internal Economy to amend certain regulations and policies. As a result of a request from a member of Parliament, the House Administration has reviewed the Board's policies regarding the distribution of householders and mailings to constituents residing outside Canada. The Members By-Law currently provides that householder and constituency mailings may be distributed only within the member's constituency.
The restriction of householders and constituency mail to within the constituency of the member means that members' constituents living outside of Canada do not receive these mailings. Constituents who reside outside of Canada and are registered to vote with Elections Canada are recorded in the international register of electors, which is provided to members annually by the Chief Electoral Officer. After the general election held in October 2019, there were 167,392 electors in the international register of electors.
In recognition of the need for members to communicate with all of their constituents, including Canadian Forces and other Canadians living outside of Canada, the House administration is proposing updates to the board's policies on householders and constituency mail.
First, the House administration proposes that the policy regarding householders be changed to allow members to send householders as addressed mail to their constituents living outside of Canada whose information is included in the international register of electors provided by the Chief Electoral Officer. Costs for additional copies of householders would continue to be charged to the members' office budget, and envelope costs and costs for international postage would also be charged to the MOB.
Second, the House administration proposes that the policy regarding constituency mail be changed to allow members to send a portion of their original constituency mail allocation as addressed mail to their constituents living outside of Canada, whose information is included in the the international register of electors. Envelope costs and international postage for constituency mail sent to constituents living outside of Canada would be charged to the MOB.
These recommendations, if approved, will allow members to use householder and constituency mailings to communicate with all their constituents, including those living outside of Canada.
This concludes my presentation. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thanks for the presentation, and I appreciate the attention this has received. I think an important matter was raised. I'll ask a question and make a suggestion at the same time.
I'm wondering if this fully captures the aspect of military personnel and their dependants. I assume that in your consideration this would include military personnel outside of Canada. That's a question. But what about those within Canada who would be stationed on a base outside of the constituency where they are electors? I'm wondering if this captures them. It doesn't seem that it would.
I have a suggestion to make. In points one and two you talked about adding addressed mail, the householder or constituency mailings for constituents living outside Canada. That's how you've termed it. I wonder if we could make it “constituents living outside of the electoral district” or something like that, because although it would capture, I assume, military members and their dependants who are stationed outside of Canada, I'm not certain that it would capture those posted on a base within Canada who are electors elsewhere. I want to make sure they are captured as well. I think it's important to ensure that all of our military personnel are receiving the same opportunity to get communications from their MPs.
Would the suggestion I've made capture all of those people, or do you believe you've already done so?
Michel Patrice
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Michel Patrice
2021-03-25 11:41
Thank you, Mr. Richards.
You're totally right. The proposal as presented right now is about Canadians living abroad, but it doesn't capture constituents who may live outside a riding. To reach those types of constituents, they would need to modify it. If it's the wish of the board, we could definitely make that change to the submission to capture Canadians outside of a riding who are registered abroad and those within Canada.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Do you think the suggestion I'm making would capture all of them, or do you have another suggestion?
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2021-03-25 11:42
We would look at the wording to make sure it captures what you addressed, but there are also other constituents. For example, it could be students who are registered in a riding but studying, for example, in another....
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Yes, good point. I'd like to see us capture that. I'll make that suggestion. If other members are willing to consider that, I think it's important to include those people as well.
I have something else, but I think what I'm going to do is lower my hand, Mr. Speaker, and raise it again so that we can deal with this particular aspect. I have a question that relates to printing and mailing, but I think it's better that we have this discussion first. I will raise my hand to bring that up afterwards.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I understand the proposal, but I cannot give my support to my colleague Mr. Richards at this time. I don't have the information for a comprehensive analysis. For the time being, I am in favour of adopting the submission before us and reflecting on this proposal at the next meeting.
I have other questions, but perhaps they are not appropriate for this meeting. I would like to understand the full implications of this proposal before we add it. I'm not opposed to it, but I would like to have more analyses and recommendations from the House Administration before deciding on this issue.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.
In the same vein as the previous speaker, I wasn't planning to speak to this, but I'm wondering how we would capture students within our ridings who are in other areas, or military personnel who perhaps are not living at home and are at another base.
With respect to the proposal that's been brought forward, there's a registry in place, an international registry. How would we be able to capture people who are living outside of their riding if they're not registered in a specific area? I'm just looking for a bit of clarification on that.
Michel Patrice
View Michel Patrice Profile
Michel Patrice
2021-03-25 11:44
It would be the information, as I understand.... We're not providing those lists, but it would be based on the lists that MPs receive pursuant to the Canada Elections Act. We could look further into what information they provide you in the lists. It's clear that for people abroad you're getting a mailing address, but it could be the same thing in relation to other constituents. We would need to have a better understanding of the list that is provided to MPs on a confidential basis.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
As long as we've addressed anyone else who wants to comment on this particular suggestion, I would like to move on to another topic. It appears that's the case.
I'll make one last comment on this. I'm hearing the concerns that were raised about ensuring that there is a way to capture those people. I think there would be, because if I understand the proposal correctly, it would be on us to address them based on the information we have available to us from electors.
If it's the feeling among members that we approve this, we can ask them to come back with a suggestion on how to deal with people within Canada. As long as there's a commitment that they can find a way to capture those people in a satisfactory way, we will be seeking to approve it. If we're satisfied with this, I would be comfortable doing it that way, because I think it's important that we find a way to do this. As long as we make a commitment that we're.... As long as they can come back with a way to show us that this can be captured in a reasonable way, we would be seeking to move forward. I'd be comfortable with that approach.
There is another issue I want to raise. I can't remember which meeting it was, but at a previous meeting I had raised the topic of service standards with printing and mailing services. I know that some suggestions were going to be brought back to us on how those could be improved. In the last little while, some additional concerns have been raised to me by members of my caucus about some of the delays and things like that, so obviously we still have work to do there.
I'm wondering what the status of that is and when we can expect to see something come forward to us. Is there any update you can provide to us on the work being done to improve those standards? Can you bring something back to the board with suggestions on that?
Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2021-03-25 11:48
Sure.
We are planned to come back. We're on the forward agenda for the May board meeting, with the further analysis that's been done. That follows the submission we brought to the last board meeting. That's when we're planning to come back.
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