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Results: 1 - 15 of 260
Daniel Paquette
View Daniel Paquette Profile
Daniel Paquette
2021-03-25 11:49
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I am here today to seek the Board of Internal Economy's approval to update and harmonize certain policies in the Members' Allowances and Services Manual and the Members By-law in relation to the dissolution and the post-election or transition period.
Following the last general election and in light of the challenges raised by members of Parliament and House officers, as well as issues raised by others and heard during consultations, the administration noted opportunities to update certain Board policies. I will provide an overview of some of the recommendations that are in the submission.
To begin with, the current post-election travel policy does not allow eligible employees of members of Parliament to travel between the constituency and Ottawa following a general election to assist the members of Parliament in closing their files and vacating their offices. In order to properly support members of Parliament, we recommend that eligible incumbent employees be provided with the same post-election travel allowances as outgoing members between the constituency and Ottawa.
Next are two closely related items pertaining to access to the parliamentary precinct network and the purchase of cellphones. Under current policy, members who are not seeking re-election have access to the parliamentary precinct until the day before the general election, and members who are not re-elected have access to the network for 21 days after the election.
These former members must also return their telecommunication equipment such as their cellphones. The current time frames do not allow enough time for former members to complete the administrative tasks and to settle the accounts with the House.
Extending the duration of access to the network would better serve members in settling their accounts. The administration here is recommending that external access to the parliamentary precinct network be increased to 90 days following the election for members who are not seeking re-election or who are not re-elected. They would retain one House-managed portable device during that period to facilitate the process. This would also align with the period that members have to settle their financial accounts.
As for cellphones, former members have expressed an interest in purchasing their devices to help ensure a certain continuity at a time when they are experiencing many changes. It is our proposal that, following an election, these members be allowed to purchase their cellphones for personal use at a fair market value.
Other recommendations relate to the mandatory clauses in constituency office leases. This proposal builds on revised assignment clauses approved by the board in 2015 where the leases of former members are assigned to the House for the 120 day period following an election. The administration noticed opportunities for further improvements, which would help facilitate a smooth transition between former and newly elected members. These revised clauses would be included in new constituency office leases or the extension of existing leases after the next general election.
Also, with respect to transition support, the administration is recommending adjustments to better align the policies and by-laws in order to ensure that former members can effectively use these various transition supports.
Mr. Chair, this concludes my presentation. We are here to answer any questions that board members may have.
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 Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
We are going on to the next item, the regulations respecting the non-attendance of members of Parliament by reasons of maternity or care of a newborn or newly adopted child.
We have some presenters here, and I will give the floor to you, Monsieur Dufresne.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:33
Thank you very much, Ms. Bergen and members of the Board of Internal Economy.
We are here at the board's request to talk to you about potential regulations that would enable us to justify the non-attendance of members by reason of maternity or care for a newborn or a newly adopted child.
Under the Parliament of Canada Act, a deduction is made to the members' sessional allowance for days of absence in excess of 21 days if the member is absent for no acceptable reason. The acceptable reasons set out in the act currently are illness, being on official or public business, or absence due to service in the armed forces.
In amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act, a new section 59.1 was added to provide the House with the authority to make regulations for the non-attendance of members by reasons of maternity or care for a newborn or newly adopted child. This provision was preceded by studies from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, where a recommendation was made to consider the family and parental obligations of members so that they would not be penalized for such reasons.
At the same time, questions were raised about the situation of members with respect to ordinary employees.
We have considered what is being done in other legislative assemblies.
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:35
The situation of members is different from that of employees, as members hold public office they are always responsible for, even if they have children. What must be determined is whether non-attendance of members in the House to care for their children or by reason of maternity should be treated more seriously than other types of non-attendance covered in the legislation, such as for reasons of illness, public duties or service in the armed forces.
We've looked at other assemblies. Most of the legislative assemblies do not financially penalize members who are absent from the sittings for such reasons. Some will include periods and some will not. Indeed, some assemblies have looked at issues such as proxy voting in some such situations.
We have brought a proposal for the board's consideration that could consider as valid reasons for the absence from the chamber the period before the due date, given that the act talks about maternity for a pregnant member. That could be a period of four weeks or it could be a different period. In terms of care for a newborn child or care for a newly adopted child, consideration could be given to a period of 12 months or another period.
In any case, these would be decisions for the House to make. Options for this board could be to refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee or to have agreement that a member would put forward a motion proposing the regulations.
With that, I would open it to questions.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you for those comments, Mr. Dufresne.
I think that we are certainly supportive of making the regulations, such that pregnant or new parents are....
Just to be clear, we're talking about mothers here—primarily pregnant women, in this case. We're not talking about parental leave. This is more of a maternity situation, as I understand it. I just want some clarification on that.
Could you address that right off the top? Does this also apply if a father wants to take some time for paternity leave or is this just for mothers?
Philippe Dufresne
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Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:38
Mr. Strahl, if we are talking about the four weeks before the due date, that would be only for the mother. The 12 months after the birth or after the date of adoption could be for any parent.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Okay. You've done some analysis here. With the employment insurance maternity and parental benefits, there are a maximum number of weeks that an individual is covered. We're looking at 13 months, with what you've put on the table. Unless there's a medical component to someone's maternity leave, I don't believe they would get the same number of weeks.
Did you do that analysis? Can you speak to that?
Philippe Dufresne
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Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:38
They would not. In terms of employment insurance, the supplementary report that was made in the procedure and House affairs mentioned 55% of income protection for such employees. There are some other employees with different regimes where it's a higher percentage.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Obviously, in this case we're talking about retaining 100% of pay and benefits, which is perhaps different from what our constituents would receive in most jobs.
For one of our constituents who works at a restaurant and pays into EI and goes on maternity and parental, I believe the maximum is 50 weeks, with a two-week.... I just want that knowledge for us. What number of weeks are we proposing here in addition to what someone would get if EI were the only support available to them?
Robyn Daigle
View Robyn Daigle Profile
Robyn Daigle
2019-05-30 11:40
I'll take that question. Thank you.
In terms of EI as the comparator, currently what's available to them through EI would be up to 12 months at 55%, or up to 18 months at 33%. I think one of the nuances we want to make here is that in the cases of EI, those employees are actually leaving the workforce. They're not employed during that period—they have no function—whereas here we're simply talking about reasonable reasons for non-attendance in the sitting. There are still functions that are very much current for the MPs at that time.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Right.
What is the vision for how this would be recorded? Would it simply be recorded on the attendance form that we currently use, or is that a decision that has to be made? Right now, there's travelling, official business, illness, etc. Will there simply be another box there that will say “pregnancy” or “parental leave”? What's the mechanism for reporting?
Philippe Dufresne
View Philippe Dufresne Profile
Philippe Dufresne
2019-05-30 11:41
Assuming that the House were to agree to adopt this regulation, the mechanism would be put in place and it would be recorded to say, “this is the reason for the absence”. In addition to having all of this, like service in the armed forces and public business, those absences would be justified, as it were—
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
—captured on that current reporting mechanism.
Okay. Thank you.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
I just have two general questions.
You said you have looked at what is being done elsewhere in other parliaments.
Can you tell me which ones? I assume they are mostly parliaments of industrialized countries?
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