Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 66990
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 27, on July 6, 2020, of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The committee is meeting on its study of parliamentary duties and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pursuant to the motion adopted by the House on May 26, 2020, the committee may continue to sit virtually until Monday, September 21, 2020, to consider matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters.
Certain limitations on virtual committee meetings held until now are now removed. As just mentioned, the committee is now able to consider “other matters” and, in addition to receiving other evidence, the committee may also consider motions as it normally does. As stipulated in the latest order of reference from the House, all motions shall be decided by way of a recorded vote.
Today’s meeting is public, taking place by video conference, and the proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. So that you are aware, the webcast will always show the person speaking, rather than the entirety of the committee.
In order to ensure an orderly meeting, there are a few rules to outline. Interpretation for the video conference will be made available, and I think all of our witnesses here today and the committee members are all regular members of the committee and are familiar with the way interpretation works. Please select at the bottom the language you are speaking. You have the options of English, floor or French, but for interpretation purposes it's best to select the language that you are speaking.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you are ready to speak, you can click on the microphone icon and activate your mike. Even though we've been doing this for a while, we do forget this from time to time. Also, remember to mute your mike after you're done speaking.
If a member wishes to speak outside of their designated time and raise a point of order, they can just unmute their mike and say that they have a point of order. If another member wishes to speak to that point of order, they can use the “raise hand” function in the toolbar.
When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly. When you are not speaking, remember to have your mike on mute. I believe Mark just stated that he has his headset. I strongly encourage you to use your headsets if you have them, or a mike that you think has the appropriate sound quality.
Should any technical challenges arise, please do your best to let us know, whether it's with interpretation or whether it's with your being able to participate. We want to be informed right away so that, if needed, we can suspend to make sure that you can participate. With that being said, please make sure that you are on gallery view in the top right-hand corner. There's a speaker view option and a gallery view. Gallery view will ensure that you can see everyone.
With that being said, I'd like to welcome all of our witnesses here today. We have Mr. Anthony Rota, Speaker of the House of Commons; Mr. Charles Robert, Clerk of the House of Commons; Mr. Patrice, deputy clerk, administration; Mr. André Gagnon, deputy clerk, procedure; Mr. Philippe Dufresne, law clerk of the House of Commons and parliamentary counsel; and Mr. Stéphan Aubé.
Thank you so much for being with us today. I know that, Mr. Aubé, you are participating remotely and that everyone else is in the room. I believe we have opening statements, which were circulated to us beforehand, from our Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, could you go ahead and start with your opening statement, please?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair. It's a pleasure to be here this morning. It's always a pleasure to come back and dig a little bit deeper into some of the things that most influence us these days.
Thank you, Madam Chair and honourable members of the committee, for your invitation to appear again as this committee continues the second phase of its study of parliamentary duties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As requested by the committee, work has continued to document a proposed solution for remote and electronic voting. At my request, the Administration has also provided an analysis of in-person voting to respond to an inquiry made by the House Leader of the Official Opposition. The results of this work are contained in the reports submitted to the committee last week.
The proposed approach for an electronic voting system respects several key principles. It is mobile, allowing members to vote electronically whether or not they are present in the parliamentary precinct. It is fully bilingual and meets the House of Commons’ accessibility standards. It includes notifications to alert members through secure channels when a vote is to occur.
The integrity of the voting process is fundamental to the legitimacy of our parliamentary democracy, and it follows that the security of the proposed solution is paramount. Members must be confident that when they cast a vote using the system, it is recorded accurately and securely.
In the proposed solution, members must use House of Commons–managed devices. This is the same requirement as for participation in virtual committee meetings or hybrid sittings of the House. A recommendation from this committee that all members abide by this key requirement would further support achieving the necessary level of security.
The remote voting solution would be integrated with the existing security infrastructure of the House. This would allow us to use technologies already in place at the House to authenticate the identity of each member of Parliament every time he or she accesses the voting system.
Given that very little about the voting process is codified in the Standing Orders, this would not require extensive modifications. The report submitted to this committee contains a draft text of a possible amendment.
The method of voting would change so that all recorded divisions requested during virtual or hybrid sittings would be conducted using the electronic system. Members would not need to be in the House, either physically or virtually, for the reading of the motion prior to the division and until the results are announced. However, the voting process itself would continue to be familiar to members.
When a question is dependent on the result of another vote, such as when the House votes on an amendment before voting on the main motion, I would, as Speaker, announce the first result and allot additional time for the subsequent vote, unless unanimous consent were sought to apply the results of the previous recorded division.
As I mentioned at my last appearance, secret-ballot voting introduces an added level of complexity and would not be included in the system’s first phase.
In addition to preparing this proposal for electronic voting, the House Administration has conducted an analysis of ways to allow all members to vote in person while respecting public health advice. This work was done, as I mentioned earlier, further to a letter I received on June 11 from the House Leader of the Official Opposition, and committee members have received a copy of this correspondence and the resulting report.
The analysis of alternative in-person voting procedures has been guided by the principles of efficiency, accuracy, integrity and transparency, which align with the current process of standing votes. In developing options, public health guidelines and protocols have been the priority. The analysis also takes into account two major factors: whether it is a single vote or involves a series of votes and whether the vote is immediate or deferred.
Among the proposals put forward is an adaptation of the Westminster practice of queuing. This method would call for members to form two lines in the courtyard outside the chamber and for the tally to be recorded by table officers. Another method would involve holding the vote in the chamber, with members arriving and departing in several shifts to respect the maximum number of persons allowed in the chamber at any one time. Adaptations of this approach could be done through block or proxy voting, where whips or other members vote for themselves as well as some of their colleagues. The report also outlines how votes could be conducted outside of West Block at a larger location, such as the Sir John A. Macdonald building, which would be convenient to all members.
As I have stated at each of my appearances before this committee, the House administration is committed to providing the best possible support to all members. My team stands ready to prepare a schedule for the implementation of any voting system or procedure the committee chooses and to adapt the approach in response to the committee’s feedback.
We would be pleased to answer any questions at this time. Thank you.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I believe that's the only statement we have today. We have all of the witnesses for an ample amount of time. I believe we'll be able to get in a few rounds of questions. We can decide as we go. We can go for the whole time and get in all the questions that are desired by all the members here today.
I noticed during the opening statement that we also have Ms. May with us today.
Welcome, Ms. May.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'm sorry; I had some trouble locating the password. However, I was here in time to hear all of the Speaker's statement. If there's room to squeeze me in anywhere, I'd be grateful.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
All right.
We will begin our first round of seven minutes with a Conservative member. I don't have the list in front of me. Who will it be?
Mr. Richards, please go ahead.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thanks, Madam Chair.
I have all sorts of questions. I'll get in as many of them as I can.
Perhaps I'll start with a little bit about electronic voting options in regard to this potential for app-based voting. I know that when we were doing our first report back in April and May, the administration was moving ahead with making arrangements for the virtual and hybrid sittings even while we were doing the study. I'm wondering if any work is being done at this time towards building a voting app in parallel to this study that's happening right now.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, work is being done. The staff is working diligently to accommodate whatever this committee decides. Based on the questions that have come in, the administration, the staff members and IT have been working and looking at what's being done, not only possibly for ours but right across the country and right around the globe as well.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Can you maybe indicate how much money has been spent so far on the app or give an estimate of how much the development of the app will cost in total when it's completed?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'll have to defer to Monsieur Aubé on this one. He controls the IT and it's his department. He would have a better idea than I would.
Monsieur Aubé.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-07-06 11:17
Thank you, Mr. Speaker and Madam Chair.
Thank you for the question, Mr. Richards. Currently, we do have some internal resources through the House of Commons that are assigned to this project. We've been working at this for over six weeks now. These are costs that we would have incurred already. We have not yet incurred additional costs for building this tool box that could be used for a system moving forward, sir.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
So there haven't been any contractors or consultants hired at this point, engaged to assist with the work.
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-07-06 11:17
No, sir. The only partners who have been engaged in this process are CSEC and the House of Commons staff.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
If the committee ends up recommending an app to be used for voting, what would be the estimate in terms of how long it would take before that would be available to be used?
Stéphan Aubé
View Stéphan Aubé Profile
Stéphan Aubé
2020-07-06 11:18
We believe that, if given the okay very quickly, we could possibly have something for the return of Parliament in September.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Now I'll go back to the Speaker again. With regard to roll call voting, there were suggestions in the communiqué that we received from the Speaker, I believe, that we would have to have an extended presence of a member on camera in order to be able to authenticate their identity. That was my understanding anyway, but correct me if I'm wrong.
Second, with the app-based voting, what would be done in order to authenticate a member of Parliament and their identity and ensure that it's not someone else using the MP's device, for example?
Results: 1 - 15 of 66990 | Page: 1 of 4466

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data