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Results: 1 - 15 of 22
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I do appreciate how rushed the December meeting was for reasons that the Conservatives certainly remember. I did ask a question that I wanted to get some clarification on, just because when I went back I couldn't make the numbers work. Again, I know we were very rushed.
I did ask a question about the reduction in the allotment in the estimates for the Office of the Deputy Clerk. There's a reduction of nearly $200,000 for the personal office of the Deputy Clerk-Procedure, André Gagnon. At the time, I was told that this was because of a reallocation of the Press Gallery Secretariat to the Office of the Deputy Clerk-Administration. However, looking at that, it happened in the previous year.
I would that either to be clarified now or for it to be flagged so that someone can give me information on what that difference is, because I believe we were talking about different years when the Press Gallery Secretariat was explained as the reason for that. I'll just flag that. I don't expect that the clerk was expecting that question today, so if I can just put it on the record that I would like to get some more information on that, I'd appreciate it.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I looked carefully at the entire document. I want to thank you for providing all this information. However, I don't see the budget figures. Is it because Public Works and Government Services Canada didn't provide approximate amounts for each option?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you for that.
There's no doubt that this is important to Canadians; it's the centre of Canadian democracy. At the same time, among those at this table, I represent the riding that's farthest away from Ottawa and most of my constituents will never come to Ottawa. They'll never see the House of Commons and Parliament Hill.
It's about making sure that we do justice to the Centre Block and to the importance of Parliament, but I would certainly disagree with any Cadillac approach where we're putting excessive funds into the building. I think, coming back to the comments that Ms. Bergen and Mr. Holland mentioned—I would agree with both of them—that we need to establish those principles as a starting point so that going into this, we know that we can provide direction. Perhaps, since we don't have the figures in front of us, it's very difficult to even imagine the scope of the project right now, but putting those principles into place can make a real difference.
As Mr. Holland mentioned, moving forward quickly is important because there's also a cost element to not making those decisions. I was part of the building committee that met prior to the election. We basically went with the stripped-down option, but that allowed for some flexibility about decisions post-election. The longer we delay the decisions, the more costs there are for the taxpayers. It's about finding that balance, moving forward immediately with the principles—I agree with Mr. Holland on that—and meeting in a couple of weeks.
I also agree with Mr. Holland on his real reservations about having a joint process with the Senate. We're the elected members. We're the ones who will have to justify decisions back to our voters, perhaps in a few months, perhaps in a few years, so I think, because of that, that there is a principle to our hearing from them but also providing the leadership on that. Moving forward quickly will be important. We'll move forward with principles so we can get this right and in a way that is reasonable to people across the country, including in New Westminster—Burnaby. People will say that we got it right on the House of Commons and Parliament Hill. It's a good building, and we didn't spend excessively to preserve the heritage and the symbolism that is the Parliament building.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much.
I appreciate the comments by my colleagues—none of whom have senators in their caucus—about how we should just simply tell the Senate how it's going to be.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Mark Strahl: I think that will be challenging, quite frankly.
On that note, who is in charge? Who has the final say on the common elements? For instance, though it is a shared building, we wouldn't have a situation in which we on the House side would say that whatever we need to do, we want six floors. I heard rumours about having to use one of the floors for services, as was indicated previously, and how difficult it would be to run the appropriate wiring and all the rest of it. We couldn't have a situation in which, at the Peace Tower, it went from six to five, or six to seven. Who is in charge of the common elements? I guess that would be the exterior. I don't assume that the interior fixtures will change in the Hall of Honour. Maybe I'm wrong there.
If we know there are common elements, who is making those decisions? I know that senators are very particular about what they want to see. For instance, we've heard that they would like 10 committee rooms on the Senate side. I just pull that out as an example.
I have two questions.
Who ensures the common elements? Will that be coming back to us, or is it going to be that we recommend and they look at it? Is that a whole circular discussion?
Then, is there a challenge function at either the department or somewhere else where, if it is deemed that one of the two occupants of the building is making requests that are simply outside of what is reality, Public Services and Procurement Canada would have a challenge function to say, “You might want that, but it's not going to happen”, or is it always deferring to parliamentarians to have to make those decisions?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I'm not done.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Patrice was going to speak, too.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I'm not sure if it's appropriate to ask, Mr. Chair, if you have met with the minister. Have you talked to the minister about this project, the long-term vision and plan? Perhaps at a future meeting it would be productive, while we're discussing this, to have.... As Mr. Patrice has said, this is a government decision. There's a minister responsible for this file. It might be something we discuss. I don't want to put someone on the spot here, but we work through all of these officials, who are doing great work, but the minister is accountable for her department as well. Perhaps she would come here either to give her perspective on this project, as one of her files, or to hear from us once we have developed this working group or the plan from this side, so that we are all on the same page as members of Parliament and the minister.
I think it would be productive. I just throw that out there, as Mr. Holland has, about the timing of a meeting. I think it would be good for us to hear from the minister and to include her and her office as much as possible in this process so that we're not running at cross purposes.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much. This is an important and interesting discussion.
Coming back to Mr. Holland's original comments about being concerned about a joint Senate process, I think it's fair to say that we would all agree that there needs to be consultation with the Senate, but ultimately, the issues around some of the proposals, including the additional Senate meeting rooms, is something that I think we do need to examine as we go through this process and set principles that Ms. Bergen suggested earlier.
Ultimately, if we come up with recommendations, it's up to the government to make that decision and make that call. If the Senate comes up with different recommendations, again it's up to the government to make that call. Hearing from you—and thank you very much for your feedback—consolidated in my mind the idea that we move forward not with a joint process, but in consultation with the Senate and putting forward what we think is best for preserving the Centre Block, ensuring that we can function in a modernized Centre Block but without going into additional luxuries, I would say, that taxpayers are not willing to pay for and that really aren't needed.
If we govern with those principles that way and move forward, consulting with the Senate but not necessarily integrating all of the requests, we may end up with two slightly different proposals. Ultimately, it would be up to the government to make that decision.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Paquette, thank you for your presentation.
Compared to last year, computers, office equipment, furniture and fixtures have almost doubled.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I want to know whether there's anything pending. I know that we're in the process of upgrading the computers. Will there be an increase next year as well?
My other question concerns a snap election. I don't want this to happen, but we never know. If it were to happen in the next few months, what would be the financial impact?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Paquette.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Amazingly convincing; we have nothing to say.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Yes. I want to be on the list.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I'm glad to hear that. I thought the email was not good, but the member's response was very quick in notifying the clerk, in withdrawing the email and also in submitting the cheque. Unless other members have comments, I have no further comments.
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