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Results: 1 - 15 of 241
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Just briefly, I note there is a mention of pairing. We didn't wish to talk about pairing.
I should actually read from the minutes. I'm going by memory here.
I just want to make clear that it was an informal discussion. I certainly did not wish to indicate with my remarks that any changes to the pairing system should be made. I don't know if that's indicated in the minutes.
I want to clarify that I was not asking for this board or PROC, or anyone else, to study the issue of pairing now or in the future. That would be a discussion for the whips, perhaps.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I don't have that in front of me. I trust what Ms. Sgro is saying is correct, but I would like to read it at the same time.
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
No, just that if there are any questions, I think we'd be happy to answer them.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
This is going to be a bit of a work in progress as we figure out.... We don't want to duplicate your work. You've obviously been assigned to these tasks to represent all of our interests.
Obviously, decisions were made previously regarding the new visitor welcome centre. I wasn't a part of those boards and I haven't seen those documents. I don't know how close to scale the site plan is and I imagine it's not designed to be that way, so could you perhaps explain something for my benefit?
The current visitor and parliamentary business entrance obviously deals only with the House side at this time. However, it looks as if that is.... What is the current footprint of the temporary, if we want to call it that, visitor welcome centre? What additional functions will it be performing to merit 22,000 square metres, up or down, inside? I should have been paying more attention to the fact that this one downstairs here was a temporary structure, and the new one looks quite a lot larger than what we have now.
Explain it to me very quickly. Is there more under there than just the welcome centre, and that's just what it's being called? Do we really need something that's 10 times bigger than what we have now?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Ms. Sgro and Ms. Block, thank you for your statements.
I want to be very clear about what is coming before the BOIE right now. We're not approving the visitor centre—and I don't think there is even consensus about moving to a visitor centre—but the excavation contract is something we're proposing be tendered for now, to begin in January 2020.
A ballpark figure of 22,000 square metres allows the BOIE, after the election, to either scale up if the decision is to add the visitor centre—and I think there will be a time and a place to discuss and debate that—or scale down to the minimum requirements, which Mr. Patrice and Mr. Wright have indicated are part of the essential elements of supplying the mechanical updates to the Centre Block. That would be 12,500 square metres.
The scalability, I think, is very important to all three of us. A decision should not be taken around the visitors' centre now. The excavation contract allows us to scale down to the essentials, or, if a future BOIE decides to go with the visitor centre, to scale up to the ultimate size, which would be about 33,000 square metres.
The excavation contract does not block us in and is not a decision to move ahead with the visitor centre. It is not. I feel pretty strongly about that. It's not a decision we should be making just a few weeks prior to a general election. The BOIE and the committee coming out of the election can then have that debate and discussion, and decide whether that excavation contract is scaled down to the essentials—12,500 square metres—or scaled up to another concept.
I'm comfortable with recommending the excavation contract and moving ahead with it, with the caveat that the BOIE can decide that we just keep to the essentials in the new year.
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate your question, and it probably raises for me other questions I have about our role as a working group. I don't think it's for us to determine or suggest the decisions that this board needs to take on this question, but I wanted to concur with what my colleague has presented to you in regard to the things we deliberated on. I would just add that the option we are favouring is the second of three. There was an option to go with a smaller square footage, and also a larger one. We took the middle-of-the-road approach, knowing that there was the scalability that my colleague commented on.
I would also like to put on the record that I personally leaned heavily toward supporting the recommendation coming forward on what had been done by previous boards in regard to establishing this concept of a visitor welcome centre. I did not feel, as a member of a working group that's here to provide suggestions to decision-making bodies, that I would be willing to undo the work that had been done over the previous 20 years.
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much.
I might go a step further than my colleague in describing some of the angst we probably felt in the last couple of meetings we've had. I do, at the front end, want to say that I have fully appreciated being brought in and being given the level of detail that we were provided. I think that there's a great group of people here working on this project, so we've relied heavily on, as I said, their expertise, as well as what's been done historically.
I would very respectfully suggest that if there is a standing committee that is made up of members from all parties who believe that perhaps they have a role to play in this process, and then there's a working group with three members representing all parties, it feels a little duplicative to me to have us meeting with these folks to sort of get our initial responses to some of these things and then bring that back to you. I'm questioning whether or not we have a layer here that is perhaps not necessary if we have a standing committee like PROC and then, of course, the BOIE, which ultimately is going to be the one making the decisions and which has great representation from every party on it already.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
It's very difficult. I guess I know one of the members who was on the BOIE 20 years ago when this was approved, but of course it was all in camera, so we can't discuss any of it.
I have the benefit of sitting beside Mr. Julian here, and clearly this group has been given the financials and the implications. It was not the intention to have people here who.... In the case of Ms. Block, she is a shadow minister, a key member of our shadow cabinet. She's a respected senior member of our caucus, so we put her in there. We didn't put her in there so that she would be making multi-million-dollar suggestions that would put her under an additional amount of pressure because this was suddenly part of her mandate. I don't think we would have wished that upon her. We would have chosen someone we liked much less than Ms. Block, if that were the case.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Mark Strahl: Therefore, I think on this one, I understand the need to.... I think this probably should have come to the board directly. I think this probably shouldn't have been something that the working group was assigned to. As we're working through this, we're probably going to find these things, but I don't expect that this is the role of the working group.
The tough part is that there is already scaffolding up on the building, so we're going to have much input at this time. However, those of us who sit on this body are ultimately seen to be accountable, regardless of whether the decisions were made by relatives of ours or not in the past.
At any rate, this is the last meeting we have. Obviously, it isn't something that they will be seized with over the summer, so we can revisit it again. I don't think we have a problem saying that they need to start digging. If that's what the decision was, yes, they do.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
If it is necessary for the project to dig 10,000 square metres in front of the Centre Block, then since we're not engineers and we're not architects and we're well down the path here, that is not a decision we need to make. That needs to happen. If they need to come to us for a decision in the future on whether it needs to be 27,000 square metres or 10,000 square metres, that's fine. I don't know why we're even talking about this issue.
I guess what I'm saying is that if you need to put the services in there for 10,000 square metres, then I don't know why it's coming back to us. That needs to happen. Go for it in that regard. I don't know why we need to even talk about the other phases at this point.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I have a question that I should have asked in the working group. Is the BOIE being consulted, or does the BOIE have responsibility for approval? In other words, if we decide right now that we decline the contract for excavation, what happens? Have we made a decision, or is that just something that's taken into consideration in terms of moving forward?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
That decision of BOIE would be determinant. I support the excavating contract, but if we said no, that decision would then be implemented.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay. Thank you.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I understand, but we're being seen as a decision-making body. I think that's important. Ms. Bergen asked a very valid question. I hadn't actually asked it in the working group. I had assumed that we had decision-making authority, and it appears to be the case.
Coming back to the visitor centre, that is something that needs to be decided by a future BOIE. I think all three of us on the working group agreed that this is not a decision that should be taken now.
I do not believe that we're tied by decisions that were taken 20 years ago. The context was different and the mechanical demands were different. I believe that we're proceeding step by step on this project, but after the election the new BOIE will have the responsibility of deciding the ultimate configuration.
For the excavating contract, the scalability is important, because it doesn't tie us in to the decision about whether or not to proceed with the visitor centre. It allows the work to begin, so we're not delaying this project unduly, but ultimately it will still come back, and some hard discussions and hard decisions will need to be taken after the election about what Centre Block and the renewal project will look like. I think it's important for us to take note of that and to build time in for November and December.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I believe that at some point I asked for a briefing on the organization chart. What the decision-making process looks like surely must exist somewhere. If we've just layered a working group on top of that, we should be able to see that as well. Even in the assignment of offices in this building, we saw the difficulty of relying on decisions that were taken 20 years ago, so I agree with Mr. Julian that we're the people here now who are responsible for approving or not approving certain funds. We want to be involved where we need to be and not slow things up unnecessarily.
I believe that at a previous meeting—I don't have the blues in front of me—I did request some indication of how this is supposed to work going forward. Apparently, we had to jump into it to build the fence and to start the excavating contract. That's fine. We're about to rise at the end of next week, so I doubt this group will have to make any other decisions like this. We still have time to get this right, but I would suggest that it starts a few steps back.
I certainly appreciate the work that the working group has done and I apologize for putting you in that stressful position in advance of this meeting, but I think that if we want to get it right, we have to go back to the decision-making flow chart. Then we can look at where we believe a working group or members of Parliament should insert themselves and where they are not to inserted. That will give us a much better idea. Rather than coming to and from this group and presenting, we need to know perhaps where to insert ourselves. I would ask for that again.
View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Building on the comments that were made, I think one of the things that was an impetus for us was understanding that there is a cost to delaying, if we don't stick with the deadlines that we've agreed to. We understood that this was one of the reasons it was important to come back now.
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