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Results: 1 - 30 of 30
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, Mr. Stanton, for your presentation, and to all of you for the work that you've done.
I'm going to start by saying that—at least for me, and I think for most members of Parliament on this board—we don't want to see, three years from now, costs escalating yet again, there seeming to be no answers as to why, and the taxpayer looking back on us and saying that we said yes to this without really giving it thorough oversight.
When I see the differences, for example, in the square footage that we were given as the small, medium and large options, which are being changed today, the explanation sounds reasonable to me, but at the same time it's not something I'm an expert on. I'm concerned that the same thing could happen with the costs. When we're talking about a 38% escalation cost, if you tell us that's normal, we believe you.
I guess what I'm asking is this: Can the taxpayer, and those of us who are members of Parliament representing the taxpayer, be assured that there is somebody there and that there is a check there so that these costs won't escalate even further? It's just like the square footage. There's a reasonable answer as to why we were given different square footage amounts a while ago, as compared to today. Can we be assured that these costs will not escalate beyond this 38%?
In the private sector, there's somebody paying the bill; there's a business case being made, and that usually helps provide checks and balances. I absolutely understand that in this setting we don't have that, but I, for one, want to be able to look the taxpayer in the eye and say that we, as members of Parliament on BOIE, did everything we could to ensure that these costs didn't escalate and that there wasn't a blank cheque given.
I would like some assurances around that. I'll leave that as a comment, and maybe somebody wants to speak to it.
I do have a specific question. I think Mr. Wright referred to the excavation changes. Is there an update? I think the previous number was $48 million for that cost. I'm just wondering if that is changing, and whether we'll be given updates on that.
Second, in regard to the decision we're being asked to make, are we actually making a decision, or are we giving the minister our position? I know that recently the state broadcaster reported that BOIE recommended the $733-million option. Obviously, the CBC was in error, because we hadn't made that decision, but I just want to know that the minister hasn't been told that we've made a decision, and whether this is a recommendation or a decision point.
Those are two questions, and then I just have one more quick comment after that.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Great, thank you.
Could someone just answer the question of whether we're giving the minister a recommendation here or actually making a decision? Has the decision been made by the minister, in effect?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
That's because you knew what we as MPs would be thinking. You knew we'd be asking about that too.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thanks for clarifying that.
Finally, through you, Mr. Stanton, perhaps you could reiterate this to the working group. When you were giving us your report, you were talking about the specific rooms in Centre Block that had been listed and how there would not be an undermining of their heritage value. I would like to reiterate that, as I recall from when we had this discussion, we really don't want those rooms changed. We'd like to be able to walk in and see that they are not changed at all.
I just want to reiterate that point. We really hope that so many of those rooms remain exactly the same outwardly as they were when we left just over a year ago. Thanks very much for the opportunity to provide that feedback.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
My first question is to follow up on the answer. I was under the assumption that this proactive disclosure was mandatory as per the act, and there wasn't necessarily room for interpretation. If there is, then I would suggest...because I agree very strongly with what my colleague, Mr. Strahl, brought forward.
Rather than wait to see if there are unintended consequences, I suggest we discuss those here, as well as any others, and try to address them now. If the act prescribes this to a T, then we have no choice. I guess you can elect a Conservative government and we could always change it again. I would rather that we try to deal with it at this point and try to make it the very best, so that we are complying with the act and we are disclosing what we need to disclose, but we don't have the consequences that we have identified here that could happen.
My other question has to do with the Speaker making these decisions. Is it prescribed in the act? I'm wondering how the Speaker would make the decision. Would it be at the request of a particular MP? What's the process and does the act lay that out, or how does the Speaker decide what doesn't need to be disclosed?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I want to say thank you. It's good to see the templates of what the new disclosure will look like. It would be good if we could share those with our caucuses so they're aware, as well.
My question wasn't quite answered, and it could be because this is a new process. My point is that if there's any way that we can try to address the issue around our designated traveller, where our partner or spouse could be targeted for political gain, we want to try to mitigate that.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Just to follow up on that, I think the report that we will now be required to put is the name, which I know is public, of the designated traveller or staff member. It looks like there are some additional requirements we have put in that have not been necessarily explicitly asked for by legislation.
My question goes back, though, to the Speaker's decision. In your answer to Mr. Julian, Mr. Dufresne, I'm still not clear on a number of things. Would a member go to the Speaker ahead of time and say, “I took this trip with my spouse, and I feel that if it's disclosed my privilege would be breached or there would a security risk, and can you decide?” The Speaker would make the decision, and the Speaker might agree with that individual MP, so their expenses would not be disclosed and nobody would know about it.
What's the process according to the legislation? Would we know if Ms. Bergen's expenses had not been disclosed because the Speaker had deemed it a security breach on this particular trip, or is nothing said about it? I think we need just a bit more clarity, and if we don't have that, again, that might be something we need to discuss.
How does the Speaker decide? I'm just wondering. When the Speaker makes a decision in the chamber, he or she rises and gives their decision—there might be a point of privilege—and it's all very public. I know that you can't be public if you're trying to protect someone's safety and security or privilege. I just feel that we don't have enough answers, and you may not know those exactly either, which is fair, but I think there are some questions around how the Speaker makes those decisions.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I may be the only one. I don't know what my other colleagues feel. I appreciate that the act is fairly general, then, but I think that's something we need to be talking about and setting some parameters around. We're setting the stage for what could be many years with many different Speakers and different parties in power. I think that even puts a lot of pressure and responsibility on the Speaker. Even today, we discuss requests from MPs for exemptions, and that's all done in public when those decisions are made.
I don't know how the others feel, but I do feel on that part that there are a number of things that will be new for our members of Parliament, and to be informed that you will be disclosing your information and your colleague may not actually have to because the Speaker could decide and nobody will know, I think that's problematic. If the act doesn't provide for clarity on that, I think we need to have some clarity on that before we move ahead on this.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
I would reiterate a lot of what Mr. Julian said.
I do want to clarify for Ms. DeBellefeuille that I don't think any of us have issues with disclosing. I will say this though, just to give her a little context. You're fortunate, Claude, that you live fairly close to Ottawa, so you're not flying quite as much as some people who are in other parts of the country.
Also, and this is something else to take into context, all of the other parties really want to be doing work for their constituents and for all Canadians, so we do travel to other parts of the country. We meet to try to get a sense of what's happening in Atlantic Canada, to understand farming issues in Quebec, or to understand gun issues in Toronto or on the west coast. I know many of us, outside the Bloc, travel right across the country, because we do want to serve all Canadians. I also think that with travel there's probably more risk involved in terms of security issues or a privilege breach.
However, my biggest concern, and the question that has not been answered, as a number of us have now said, is just how the Speaker would be making those exemptions. How would that be publicized, and how would we go forward with that?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I don't think that's ideal.
I'm not sure if we're being told by the law clerk. If we have an option, I would say no, that your initial decision was the right decision. If the law clerk is saying we don't have an option, then we don't have an option.
That would be my position. I support your initial decision, unless we don't have an option, and then we're basically just being asked if we approve of the templates, which we do, but I don't think that you did get a consensus on this moving forward.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
On the numbers.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I think the one thing we want to make sure of, and I think we would probably all be in agreement, is that this committee doesn't get too overly bureaucratic where they are calling witnesses and satisfying curiosities. I'd like to make sure that we have some of those parameters. Maybe right now isn't the time to do it. Maybe we want to establish that we will have this subcommittee made up of the composition that you outlined. Or do we want to lay down a few more parameters now?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
The other question I had is this. How are we going to let the working group know, or the officials, or whoever needs to know, the list of “thou shalt not touch” rooms that we want to make sure are preserved?
What's the thought around that?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I have a couple of things. First of all, I agree with much of what Mr. Holland said in terms of suggestions.
I'd like you to clarify your suggestion, Mr. Patrice. You mentioned that the group you were referring to needed to spend a minimum of two hours a week on this. Are you suggesting that there be a subgroup, away from this group? Perhaps you could repeat and clarify what you think would be a good solution to consultation.
Then I have another comment.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
This is just a suggestion, but would it be helpful, after we maybe have another meeting and have some more discussions, if BOIE set out some guiding principles? For example, I think we've heard continuously that we want the House of Commons and Centre Block to be preserved as close to what they were when we left them, or as close to the same point. If that is the guiding principle, that answers many, many questions.
Is that something that would be helpful? If we set out...and maybe you come back with some of those guiding principles. Within those parameters, the working group, however it is established, would in a sense have fewer decisions to make.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Hypothetically, if that would be the guiding principle, then more floors probably wouldn't even be part of the equation.
I'm just throwing it out there as a suggestion. If we maybe establish some overall guiding principles and say, “Don't go out of these parameters”, then that would reduce some of the decision-making at the decision points.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, I agree. Maybe “guiding principles” is the wrong term. I think some specific parameters would.... When I look at some of the decisions that have to be made, they go all the way from keeping the House of Commons structure exactly as is to changing it drastically.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
If we say we don't want it to be changed drastically, for example, then many of those decision points will be taken off the table—
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Under which budget item does the busing service for the precinct come under? The reason I ask is that I've been hearing from a lot of members that there's been a change and a cutback in the buses. I don't imagine this is really reflected that much in the numbers, but I've been hearing about it, so I thought this probably was a good opportunity to bring the issue forward.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I would say even from December until now. Either way, has there been a reduction in services since the opening of West Block?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Is there only one bus with a green sticker coming straight up to the West Block?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
I'm asking if there been a reduction in the number of buses that come straight up here to West Block with the green—
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
So there isn't an overall reduction, but there has been a reduction to.... There's been a change, and I would say that change—
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, and we probably need to have some discussion about that, because members who are either coming to Centre Block for votes or for House duty or for various reasons have to do the whole tour, and when traffic is busy on Wellington, you have three or four buses going all around Wellington and only one that's coming straight up to West Block. That has been a reduction however you described it.
We probably need to have some discussion on how that's affecting MPs.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you very much.
Results: 1 - 30 of 30

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