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Results: 1 - 96 of 96
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
When I took over as opposition House leader, I made a commitment to my staff that I would read through the Standing Orders. I'm sad to say that I'm only halfway through, Mr. Chair.
It says in the minutes that, concerning the report to Canadians, it would be tabled in accordance with the Standing Orders. I did a search, and I couldn't find which standing order requires it. I would like clarification from the clerk as to which standing order that is.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Perhaps that needs to be clarified, then.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, thank you.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Let's talk about that.
Obviously, there's something in the ballpark that you can estimate the cost as being. Do we have any idea of what the estimate for the cost of the tunnelling network could be?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I assume, Mr. Wright, that at $185 million, we can pretty much ballpark from a percentage standpoint what those additional costs may be, such as the design costs, the contingency costs, the escalation costs and all that stuff.
Typically, what percentage of the construction costs would be factored into some of those other costs, so that we can end up at that ballpark end number of what these tunnelling systems will cost?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
We could legitimately be looking at roughly a $250-million project for these tunnelling costs, if I understand you correctly.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
It's ballpark. I understand. It's a quarter of a billion dollars.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
A nice winter coat costs $199, so there's a big difference.
The next question I want to ask is on the issue around Wellington Street.
I'm not sure how much time we have left before the votes, Mr. Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
The issue around Wellington Street, of course, is being debated now. There are different levels of government engaged in discussion on the pedestrian use of Wellington Street, going forward. I know that there's been some discussion between the city and parliamentary staff.
Has the possibility of Wellington Street being pedestrianized been taken into account in the working group's deliberation on creating this new tunnel system?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes. There was that, and the other angle I was looking at was this. With as little traffic as there is on Wellington right now, if that does happen in the future and it is pedestrianized, does that affect the overall efficiency of building these tunnel systems, or does it actually affect the cost in a lesser way?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Right. Just by way of comment, Mr. Chair, on the tunnel system, it's difficult, or I hope we can all find it difficult, to agree that without an absolute cost.... I mean, we're dealing with projected costs here of $185 million just in construction costs. Then there are all the contingency costs. By my account, it could be a quarter of a billion dollars. Without that final cost figure.... I expect that it won't be that much: It may actually be greater.
I would like to see a little more certainty, if this were to be a supportable item for this committee, of what those costs would be. I understand that we're dealing with projections here, but projections have a tendency to get out of hand really quickly, as we are all aware.
In light of the concern that I have, are there other aspects of the LTVP projects that this board is being asked to make a decision on today with your proposals? If we were to defer this—perhaps to a meeting in the fall, I suspect—would we risk project delays and additional cost increases?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I appreciate your frankness on that.
The next question is on the nature of the ongoing dialogue with the Senate over the Centre Block infill proposal. Is this still a matter of the Senate seeking more than its 30% proportionate share of Centre Block facilities?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
What is the concept for the parliamentarian lounge on that sixth floor? What are you thinking about?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Going back to the report on block 2, the design winner was there, and the second and third place. Is there any backup system in place with the second and third place winners where, if the contract can't be fulfilled with the winner, we could fall back to those positions?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I have a couple more questions.
Construction is expected to begin in 2024-25. When do you expect this to be in use?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Finally, the “parliamentary office units” strategy, what exactly is that, just so I'm clear?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I think the Deputy Speaker had something to add.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I expect there will be consultation among House leaders' staff as to what that's going to look like. I think the same thing applied here in West Block as well. Is that correct?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to go in the chamber to vote.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
While I don't disagree with Madame DeBellefeuille, I think we should be going right in camera and dealing with item 8 first and item 7 second. I think we can defer item 6 in camera to later, and then we move into the public portion of the meeting after that. My suggestion would be that we move to item 4 in the public portion after we finish with those two items in camera. I think they're very timely matters that need to be addressed. That would be my proposal, Mr. Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
After hearing the discussion again, I think we can get through four items today, two in camera as a priority, and two in public.
If I hear Madame DeBellefeuille correctly, items 9 and 4 are the in public priorities. I agree with that. In camera I would suggest numbers 7 and 8, and if there is an opportunity to meet next week to deal with these other issues, then we're prepared to do that at any point at the beginning of the week or at the end of the week, Mr. Chair.
Thank you. That would be my recommendation.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I think there is a priority on the part of the committee to deal with item 8, considering that we're running up to a timeline. I don't expect items 7 and 8 will take much discussion, and I expect that perhaps item 4 and item 9 will take longer discussions, but I expect that we could get through these four items within the allotted time.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
My proposal is that we go in camera first and then we go public second.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. We're fine.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, first of all, I want to thank the administration for coming back with this suggestion. Obviously, staff have been extremely.... The demand for their efforts has been extremely high over the course of the COVID pandemic. We've seen that in our office with the amount of interactions we've had.
This will help, and we're hearing from our members about the retention of staff and the pay impacts. This will help with that. It's my intention to use any realized savings—because of the central budget looking after the office—to increase the salaries of my staff, because they deserve it, quite frankly, and they are relatively low paid, in my view, compared with some of the other work that goes on.
I would suggest one thing, and I'm going to look for consensus on this, Mr. Chair. In the course of the fiscal year, we're allowed to give one raise to our staff members. In some circumstances...certainly in my circumstance, I have done that at this point. I would ask that consensus be sought for a recommendation that we add a waiver for the one-year spacing between employee raises.
If it is the intent of members to use this money to augment salaries for our employees, some of those employees have already received an increase this year. That would make them ineligible until the next year.
I'm looking for some consensus to allow that to occur, Mr. Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
That's fine. I know we're public. I want to signal that, because it could be a problem for some members that we need to realize, but we can deal with it in camera.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Perfect. Thank you.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm okay with the agenda next week. I think we should defer item six, as well. We'll talk about what Mrs. DeBellefeuille wants to talk about afterwards.
Thank you.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. McDonald, the House order allowed for a travel authority for this committee. I just want to make sure that the proper rules will be in place, including having the approval of this body if there is a need for this committee to travel.
Is that still part of your understanding?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Just for clarification's sake on two issues, on the issue of charitable tax donations, if a member is to receive a charitable tax donation, the actual cost of the ticket would not be reimbursed. That remains in effect?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
And political fundraising events are not eligible for these types of expenses?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, sir.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, the only thing that I noticed was on the decision on remote interpretation services. You may want to note that the minutes are missing a reference to the board's preference for the use of the translation bureau employees and freelancers. After your proposal that only bureau staff be used, Mr. Holland had suggested that the board could express a preference as a compromise, and we did. Otherwise, I have nothing else to raise on the minutes.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In the last couple of years the board approved a $1.35-million budget for the 2022 annual session, plus a further $100,000 for the Parlement francophone des Jeunes, which was relocated. How much of those budgets was spent before the 2022 annual session was relocated, if any?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm glad to hear that.
During the 2020 board conversation, there was a discussion about maybe switching to a hybrid or virtual arrangement if necessary. That didn't happen. Why?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
That's it, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Laframboise, thank you for the presentation.
I have a series of questions. One is related to House officers and their employer obligations when things transfer or reset within those offices or when there is a change of the House officer.
For example, our party will be electing a new leader in September. Would that new leader start a new three-year clock, or would we carry on with the one that started previously under Mr. O'Toole last August? How would that work under this system?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I assume that's going to be part of the communication process that you send out.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The next question I have is determining an employer where there's an average of 10 employees. For example, we're in the season of summer student and interns. Some MPs will hire staff who have to be factored into this. How would externally paid interns, such as in the parliamentary internship program, work under this system?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I think Mr. Calkins has a follow-up question to that. Do you want to follow up now?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The next question I have is that the act requires that, if a pay equity plan discloses any gap in compensation, the employer must increase that compensation. Given that we work with fixed, assigned budgets, what happens in the case of a hypothetical scenario where an employer has to increase pay but doesn't have the budget room to do it?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
As you rightly mentioned, there could be some significant increases here affecting members' budgets disproportionately, for example.
That's good.
The last question I have is that, although the first plans need to be in place by 2024, it sounds like there are a number of steps required beforehand. When should offices subject to the act expect to start hearing from the House administration on the beginning of the necessary groundwork? What's the reasonable timeline that we can expect?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for this.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thanks again, Michelle.
Your report simply notes that there were seven of eight complaints last year concerning multiple grounds. Are you able to break that down a little bit further for us?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The other question I have is that five of eight of last year's complaints saw that a member was the respondent to the complaint. One of the complaints has led to a formal investigation. Does that involve a member respondent?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I guess you can't divulge the outcome of the investigation either.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Sometimes it's difficult when we're sitting in public, Mr. Chair, to get down to understanding a little bit more about the report, so perhaps we may want to consider an in camera session at some point.
This is my last question. A number of allegations came to light concerning a now former member of Parliament. It was my colleague Michelle Rempel Garner who wrote the Clerk to ask for a review and investigation. I believe the board did discuss this situation and this case last autumn. Is that matter accounted for somewhere in your report?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
There was no formal complaint—okay.
One of my colleagues did write, but as a result of that letter being written there was no formal complaint initiated or...?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. Thank you.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The rapid test submission that was approved this winter contemplated $1.2 million in expenses during the last fiscal year. Can you confirm what the actual final cost was?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
When you said “204” and “122”, I would have thought it was 204,000, but....
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I may have some more questions.
I'll come back to that, Mr. Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In doing the quick math on the report, it tells me that 15% of MPs have continued acquiring test kits. I'm going to take our party and the Bloc party out of it. Let's suppose it was the Liberals and the NDP, which isn't actually the case, that would still mean that more than two-thirds of MPs from those two parties, for example, aren't even bothering to have test kits available to their own staff.
Would that number be accurate, in your opinion?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
Do you have any data, even anecdotal data, for example about the recent uptake of the permission to include pandemic fundraising appeals and so on in MP communications?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The other thing that you've done is that you've provided us with data on the uptake of the home Internet reimbursement policy, but do you have the total dollar value of those reimbursements that were made in the previous fiscal year, the number?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
It was $140,000, okay. Are there any concerns on your part that if we extend the home Internet reimbursement policy to a full three years since its original approval, it will start to be perceived as somehow a permanent component of the compensation package, with its eventual end causing possible problems?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. If it's within a unionized environment, how would that happen?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm wondering if that would involve negotiations, collective bargaining, adjustments or....
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
The last point I want to make is that, before you return to any further renewals of the home Internet reimbursement policy, would you be able to do some research on how widely or not it has become in similar office-based work settings? Would you be able to do that?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you. Those are all the questions I have, Mr. Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I understand that there have been some discussions within the emergency committee about seeking some outside legal counsel. At this point, no final decision has been made, but if the decision by the committee is to seek that outside counsel, what impact will that have, if any, on the budget that's being proposed today?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Typically, historically, do we have any projection on what the possible cost of that could be?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for clearing that up.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I have a point on the second option, if I may.
One or two would be acceptable to us, but on the second option, if there is a temporary change, can you confirm that when we do get to the 45th Parliament it would come back to that 7:3 composition? I just need clarification on that.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. Thanks for clearing that up.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Before I begin my line of questioning, on an unrelated matter, Mr. Julian brought up a claim of permanent hearing loss for residents of the city of Ottawa as a result of the recent protests. I'm just wondering—and I don't know whether this is normal—if Mr. Julian could table with this committee the reports that he's referencing and where that claim comes from. I haven't seen any and in order for us to make informed decisions around this place, I would like to see precisely where that report comes from.
Could you table that, Mr. Julian?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there a report that justifies that?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
The claim was made, but there's no basis for the claim at this point anyway.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
All right. I do have questions for the interpreter.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I would love that.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, sir.
My question relates to parliamentary functions of interpreters and the function as it relates to the cabinet and the Prime Minister. We've obviously seen the parliamentary functions, and we understand where that comes from, whether it's through committee work or work in the House, but there's also when the cabinet and the Prime Minister have their press conference on almost a daily basis as it relates to COVID and other issues.
Can you differentiate between the number of injuries related to the parliamentary function and the function of the cabinet and the Prime Minister? Is there a way to quantify how that's played out?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Can you speak, then, to the differences between the services provided to parliamentary resources and those provided to the cabinet and Prime Minister? My understanding is that there is a difference between the two. Is that correct?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
When do you expect the data collection distinguishing where these injuries are occurring to be complete? When will you be able to provide the committee with any information to show that distinguishing line with respect to what's happening with the parliamentary resources and what's happening with the Prime Minister and the cabinet?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Through you, Chair, to Mr. Patrice, if the system is not similar, does that mean that the risk of injury would be greater? We've applied a pretty consistent system within our parliamentary resources. Is there anything being used outside of those parliamentary resources, such as in the example that you gave, that would cause the interpreters to be at any greater risk?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm sorry, Mr. Aubé. Do you have anything to add?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I do have one more question, and then I'll cede the floor. I may come back to others as well.
An unsafe workplace complaint has been launched against the Translation Bureau because of interpretation arrangements. Can you speak to that just to provide the committee with some insight as to the basis of the complaint?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
Thank you, Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As we quickly approach the end of the fiscal year, some of the carry-forward provisions and the exercises that have taken place in the past, I assume, will take place this time.
I understand that the House administration has some priority files. Could you indicate to the board what some of those priority files might be?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
If I may, just to be clear, what specific projects do you have in mind for this year as well?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
You've also noted in the report $1.7 million of spending this year as it relates to the pandemic. I know that in some of the past reports you've indicated that redeployment of employees from their usual employment to pandemic-related work has occurred. Do you have a sense right now of how many House employees have recently been deployed to pandemic-related responsibilities?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I would like that. Thank you.
My final question relates to page 4 of the report, which speaks about the fact that House administration is monitoring the impact of the recent protests on House finances. What are some of the impacts you believe you're going to see?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
You expect that most of that will be in relation to parliamentary security, then?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
I have. Thank you. It's in regard to the resources that are currently being provided by the House. We saw this increase in the budget because everything had shut down, including those resources.
Have we seen a significant uptake as a result of these resources now being provided? Are we seeing less advertising coming out of the members' budgets because they've now referred back to the House for their printing and advertising needs? Do you have any data that supports that, or have you seen anything with regard to that?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
I took advantage of the advertising opportunities, and I know that many of my colleagues did, and the increase in budget, but I have seen myself pull back into the resources that have been provided by the House without using some of the external sources that we were using at the beginning of the pandemic. I expect you'll probably see an increase in the use of the resources that are currently being provided by the House, resources that weren't there at the beginning of the pandemic, which was the reason for this increase, as you are aware.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I note that the House has become even more responsive over the course of the pandemic, and the virtual hybrid sittings, in supplying different types of resources not just to members of Parliament consistently but also to witnesses. I have seen an improvement in that.
Through you, Chair, Mr. Calkins talked about March 2020, and the fact that we had started moving to a virtual hybrid system. We've seen a marked increase in interpreters suffering from hearing problems as a result of this.
In advance of 2020, how many cases would we have typically dealt with proportional to what we're seeing right now in terms of the number of interpreters being impacted and affected by the hybrid Parliament? I suspect that it certainly wasn't the same as in an in-person Parliament.
Do you have any idea of what those numbers are, for workplace injuries as they relate to pre- and post-hybrid?
View John Brassard Profile
CPC (ON)
The reason I am asking is because it is relevant to the discussions we are having as they relate to this transitional plan of moving forward, restricting some of the measures that Mr. Calkins talked about, and eventually, I hope, returning to a normal Parliament.
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