Thank you very much, Chair.
Mr. Patrice, I want to begin by thanking you and congratulating you, and all of the people who I know have worked incredibly hard to make sure that this place is ready and then move us in.
I'll be honest; I was one of those people who had doubts. I wondered how you were were going to move us all in just a couple of weeks, but you did. As you said, there were some hiccups, but really, it has been a very smooth move and transition. You certainly need to be congratulated. I know we're very appreciative of everything and the way it's kind of starting to feel like home, which is nice. I thought about it the other day. I thought I was starting to feel a little routine in where I'm going and how I'm getting where I'm supposed to go. That's really good.
I have a couple of specific items about things as they currently are, and then I want to speak briefly about Centre Block and how we could maybe have some input in that.
One item I know we're still struggling with in terms of practicality is the number of washrooms that are available. There may not be an easy solution. We obviously don't want to cause any issues. If it's only our caucus that has this, that's fine. We know there are some kitchen areas in our offices that are aren't even being used. There may be some opportunities at some point for them to be changed into washroom facilities. That's just a suggestion.
The other issue I've thought about is that I really miss that MP entrance we had at Centre Block. There was a sense, if you went through the MP entrance, that the general public wasn't there, and there wasn't media necessarily standing right outside. Right now it seems like we don't quite have that. I'm not sure if other caucuses are feeling that, but maybe there could be further discussion in terms of security. You become accustomed to something. I think that's probably what I'm feeling; we were accustomed to that dedicated entrance. If that's something that could possibly be discussed and maybe some solutions for it brought forward, we would appreciate that.
In terms of having input for Centre Block, I'm glad that's something you've thought about. I thought that the way the restoration work was done around West Block kind of felt like we were told as MPs that we were getting a new home, but no one was going to ask us what we needed in our new home or what we would like to see in our new home. We weren't even really going to know what was in our new home, and when we got there, we were just going to need to adjust. That's okay. I think we can do that, but I think it would be beneficial if we had a method to bring some input. I know we've had some offline discussions. Ms. Chagger, Ms. Brosseau and I have had some discussions about this.
What we don't want to see is kind of a political or bureaucratic bog-down process. We would like to have a process whereby each of our caucuses could have one point of contact in their caucus whereby suggestions.... Some of those suggestions could be small—as a member of Parliament, I want to be able to have a certain amount of legroom, if I need it, at my chair, if that's possible—all the way to needing to ensure that we have certain access for MPs.
There are a lot of suggestions. I don't think we'd anticipate that we would get everything we want, but I think we would like to have an ability to get input from our caucus and then bring it to you in a way that we know will be addressed—with a “Yes, we can do this” or “No, we can't and here's why” or “ How about we do it this way?” Then there's actually a way, when we move to Centre Block, to be able to say, “No, it ended up that we couldn't have this feature, and here's why, but we knew that there was some discussion, and it was recognized that the whole discussion could have happened.”
We would like to see a working group—not bureaucratic, not political, but just where we can have feedback and be able to make sure that our issues are at least being heard. I'll let the others weigh in, but those were the two things I wanted to bring up.