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Results: 1 - 30 of 1028
View Patrick Weiler Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you.
I'm going to switch gears quickly here.
Construction on Parliament Hill has been able to continue throughout the period of social isolation. Can you tell us how you worked with the construction industry to ensure that extra health and safety measures were put in place for government projects and how that has translated into private projects?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
PSPC temporarily demobilized 85 projects in the precinct. This included projects taking place in occupied space, including fit-up and building improvement. However, construction activities continued on the Centre Block and the East Block, though to mitigate the transfer of COVID-19, they were limited to activities undertaken in unoccupied spaces. Both projects are able to facilitate social distancing and compartmentalization.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Great. Thank you.
Since we're speaking of heritage buildings, we're trying to renovate one just neighbouring this building here. As somebody who has renovated his bathroom knows, you have a plan, you want to do something and you start opening walls, and then the surprises come along.
As we are moving forward with the renovations of the parliamentary precinct, have we learned some lessons from renovating West Block? Are we continuing to be on line? How do we make sure that we continue to be on budget and on time?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the question.
I appeared two weeks ago in front of PROC to talk exactly about the point. I was so pleased to be able to say that we have completed 24 key projects on time and on budget. We're talking about the Wellington Building, West Block and the renovations to the Senate of Canada Building. We are on top of it, and I'm so pleased to be able to speak so positively about the professionals who work in my department every single day.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I know it hires a lot of construction workers in the national capital region. I'm the member of Parliament representing that.
Minister, you may not have time to fully answer that question.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
We implemented pay pods a few years back. I'm just wondering if you could provide an update to this committee. If you don't have time to answer verbally, perhaps you can give a written statement.
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
We have a full slate of work at PSPC. Much of it relates to projects that start and then stop again.
For example, in the parliamentary precinct over the past number of years we have employed 25,000 people. It is the fluctuating nature of the work we do that gives rise to some of the differences you're seeing.
Bill Matthews
View Bill Matthews Profile
Bill Matthews
2020-03-12 10:42
Mr. Chair, I want to make one clarification. Thank you.
Page 58 of the departmental results report actually answers the member's last question, so I would just leave it at that.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome to meeting number six of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
We're continuing the study of the Centre Block rehabilitation project and block two redevelopment as part of the long-term vision and plan, the LTVP, as it's referred to.
Welcome to our meeting, Minister Anand, and welcome back, Mr. Wright and Mr. Matthews, deputy minister and assistant deputy minister.
We will start with the 10-minute presentation by Minister Anand.
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Good morning, Madam Chair.
I would like to acknowledge our presence on the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples.
Let me begin by thanking all of you for being here and for giving me this wonderful opportunity to speak with you today.
Thank you for inviting me to discuss the long-term vision and plan for Canada's parliamentary precinct in my role as Minister of Public Services and Procurement.
Joining me today is Bill Matthews, my deputy minister, who leads an outstanding team of professionals and whom I am proud to work with every day. Also joining me is Rob Wright, assistant deputy minister for the science and parliamentary infrastructure branch, whom I believe you have had the pleasure of getting to know over the last week or two. Thank you both for being with me today, and thank you for the excellent work you do at PSPC.
Madam Chair, the buildings and grounds on and near Parliament Hill are symbols of our democracy and part of our history. We need to ensure they meet the needs of a 21st century Parliament. At the same time, these buildings should reflect the values of Canadians and be places where all Canadians are welcome. That is why our focus is not only on functionality, restoration and preservation, but also on making these spaces more accessible, sustainable and secure. You will hear me speak today about these values.
As you well know, our work in the precinct extends beyond the Hill and includes revitalizing the city block facing Parliament Hill, specifically the buildings between Metcalfe and O'Connor and Wellington and Sparks, also known as “Block 2”.
Officials from my department have already told you about the works we've completed so far in these areas and our plans going forward.
To date, the department has delivered 24 key projects in the precinct on time and on budget.
Our biggest milestone was the historic transition of Parliament from Centre Block to the newly restored West Block and the Senate of Canada Building, but there are also other milestones, such as the successful renovation and addition to the Sir John A. Macdonald Building and the extensive renovations on the Wellington Building.
As my officials mentioned at this committee, this milestone was the culmination of well over a decade of work restoring and modernizing facilities in the precinct to now moving to undertake our most significant project, the rehabilitation of Centre Block.
All Canadians can take pride in the fact that our achievements thus far are earning acclaim and recognition around the world. It is worth noting that Canada's work to restore and modernize the parliamentary precinct has received over 57 awards in the areas of architectural excellence, sustainability and heritage conservation.
This work is complex, balancing restoration with modernization. As my officials outlined for you, that complexity will only increase now that we are turning our collective attention to Centre Block, the largest project of its kind ever undertaken in Canada.
Madam Chair, I know that you and this committee have had the pleasure of touring the exterior and interior of Centre Block to see first-hand the important work being done. I had the pleasure of doing the same with Rob Wright in one of my first activities as minister. I think we can all agree that the magnitude of the place and the work ahead of us are extraordinary, to say the least.
Beyond the difference in scope and scale, Centre Block has another major difference when compared with projects to date.
With Centre Block, we are now shifting from projects serving a single partner—the House of Commons or the Senate, for example—to those serving multiple partners.
lnstead of meeting our needs as members of Parliament, Centre Block must work in a way that meets the needs of all parliamentarians as well as those who support us, namely, the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Protective Service.
Several key decisions are required in the months ahead, including some that have the potential to impact the way Parliament has traditionally operated.
The particular challenge is this: Governance and decision-making within the long-term vision and plan is unique, complex and very important to the success of this plan. With two chambers and two branches of government, decisions affecting the home of our democracy cannot be made unilaterally or by one single person.
My responsibility as minister, with the support of my department, is the day-to-day operation of the buildings and the planning and delivery of major restoration and modernization projects, as well as managing the associated budgets and seeking approval from cabinet and Treasury Board.
Each chamber is responsible for the identification of long-term goals, objectives and outcomes. They are also responsible for ensuring and coordinating engagement with their respective arms of Parliament, as well as securing the endorsement of MPs and Senators. The parliamentary administration, for both House and Senate, is the lead for engagement with parliamentarians.
PSPC is responsible for delivering the built environment that meets the needs of both chambers, as defined by their respective administrations in consultation with MPs and senators.
Integrated, stable decision-making is critical to ensuring the success of projects that will shape our country's most important national symbol of more than 100 years. I am so honoured to be here today to speak with you about this shared national symbol.
The reality facing us is that a number of key decisions will need to be made in order for current and future projects to progress. Most of these decisions, particularly around Centre Block, are arguably now more important than ever. Now is the time to take collective and collaborative leadership and ownership and explore new avenues for effective decision-making.
As you know from your discussions with the professionals in my ministry, the department has developed options for consideration by MPs and senators to support key decision points relating to the parliamentary precinct, in particular, Centre Block.
During this committee study, officials from my department and the House administration, accompanied by partners from the Library of Parliament, all working closely together over many months, outlined these decision points. They are now asking us to consider the path forward. They are asking parliamentarians what they require of a rehabilitated Centre Block. These are the critical decision points that have to be addressed before we can move forward, before our officials can finalize design, costing and timelines.
For example, decisions are needed on whether to increase the size of the chamber, or to modernize the chamber within its existing footprint and to make other adjustments to the way in which the chamber functions. We need to make decisions regarding the core functions of the visitor welcome centre, which is a facility that plays a number of roles, but most critically it provides the connection that transforms the parliamentary triad, which consists of the West, Centre and East blocks, from three buildings into one seamlessly linked complex.
We need clarity on the needs of the House and Senate for the block two redevelopment as well. We need decisions on parliamentary participation in the jury for the international design competition. This project will reshape the city block directly across from the Peace Tower, blending heritage and function for the future and further advancing the creation of our parliamentary canvas.
In conclusion, in the time that I have been minister, it has become clear to me that the dedicated employees of Public Services and Procurement Canada take great pride in their work.
From the work of this committee in the last session of Parliament, to the prescient work by parliaments dating back nearly half a century calling for the creation of a visitor welcome centre and securing the blocks opposite Parliament Hill for future requirements, both of which will now be realized, I am so proud of the role my department plays in the long-term vision and plan for the precinct. I am grateful for the talented public servants, architects, engineers, project managers and construction workers who are seeing it through every single day, as well as the parliamentary administration, which is working with the very same degree of professionalism, commitment and expertise.
I am most heartened by how very well all of our teams are coming together on this massive collaborative undertaking. I can tell you that they are all ready to move forward on the next phase of our plan.
We are at a critical juncture in our plan. It is important, imperative, that we get this right. Our challenge now is how we can best come together as one Parliament to make sound, enduring decisions.
I hope this committee will work with my officials on the decision-making process by exploring ways to fill the gaps in the current governance structure and resolve the outstanding items we have raised so that we can continue our success.
As always, I welcome your views, your ideas and your discussion on any and all of these matters. After all, the work we are doing today will serve Canadians, regardless of political party, for generations to come. I look forward to working with you and with the rest of our fellow parliamentarians to revitalize the heart of our democracy by making these historic buildings more functional in a modern world, greener and accessible to all Canadians.
Thank you so much.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thanks, Madam Chair.
Last week we had a presentation from your officials. You mentioned that. That presentation gave us an array of different options for a variety of different things, for example, the size of the visitor welcome centre and what to do about that, and the chamber.
It was fairly clear that one critical thing was lacking, and that's the mention of costs. Would you consider it good decision-making or governance practice to make those kinds of decisions without knowing the cost implications?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
As the minister overseeing the day-to-day activities of the project, and indeed the parliamentary precinct restoration, I can assure you that the issue of costs and budgeting is front and centre in my mind.
Let me assure you that decisions have not been taken about the way in which the restoration is going to proceed. I believe, that is the very purpose for which the parliamentary administration and the governance structure are set up.
What I will say is that once these decisions are taken, my team will be in a better position to provide costing and timelines to this body and to the BOIE.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
As parliamentarians, we're being asked for input, but we're not being provided with any estimates of cost. I understand you're saying that once decisions are made, we can come up with costs.
From my understanding of your career pre-politics, governance had a fairly heavy role. I understand you were professionally honoured for your contributions in governance. Based on that deep professional background, are you satisfied with these governance arrangements for this long-term vision and plan, especially for the Centre Block?
You're saying to me, “Well, let's make some decisions and then we'll make the costs up after that.” That doesn't sound to me like a really strong governance plan, but I want to hear your thoughts.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Are you satisfied with that, or do you think there are some areas where that could be improved?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you for the question and for highlighting my relevant background in this area, which I did not do myself.
I will say that I have asked my team to ensure that there is a back and forth relationship with the parliamentary partners, to ensure that we can collaboratively work together to provide you with the information you need to make the decisions that are on the table. We would be prepared to provide a preliminary costing analysis, along with the key decision-making points, so that you can be informed in making the decisions that are before you.
I'll ask my deputy minister to step in on preliminary costing availability as well.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Sure, and it would be appreciated if you could make that quick as I don't have a lot of time. Will you be able to give us some sense as to when we would be able to receive that kind of information?
Bill Matthews
View Bill Matthews Profile
Bill Matthews
2020-02-27 12:21
I'll be very quick on this.
It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation, Madam Chair.
What we're looking for is to make sure that we have a sense of the vision. These are some big decisions. Two are very important: the chamber and the welcome centre. Those are two that I would suggest we focus in on. We can come back and do some preliminary costing and put those on the table, but it would be very helpful for us if we found out from the stakeholders and decision-makers which of the three options, if any, are not on the table. If there are some that aren't of interest, we don't want to waste our time costing those.
We'd like to get a sense, Madam Chair, of whether we're on the right track, and whether there are some that are of more interest than others. Then, we'll focus on those two, if that's acceptable, and we'll come back with timelines.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
If the committee can provide some feedback there, then we would be able to receive some costing fairly quickly.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Minister, are there any requirements or requests within this project that you've heard about or been briefed on since you took over the file that gave you any pause? Is there anything that you heard that made you say that we had better go back to the drawing board on this one? Is there anything that you have concerns about?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
As you highlighted in your first question to me, budget is always of concern to me, not just with regard to Centre Block, but with regard to everything I do as a minister of the Crown. I'm very conscious of budgetary asks, needs and requirements. I will maintain a very close eye on costing as well as what—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Sure, but at this point is there anything that you've seen...?
I'll give you an example. I know there were some eyebrows raised about the idea that the Senate is requesting 10 new televised committee rooms. Is that something you would have challenged or questioned? Are there other things, at this point, that you've seen that you've challenged or questioned?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
I take the question.
Again, I am not overly engrossed in making suggestions about what we should be considering.
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm very clear about the fact that these decisions need to be made by you, as parliamentarians.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Being conscious of time, I'm sorry to interrupt.
Obviously, there are a number of different people involved in determining allocation of space in the Centre Block, and I want to get a sense of who's responsible for that allocation. Who would make a final decision if there's disagreement?
If the Prime Minister were to say to you that he wants x amount of space in Centre Block's south side for the PMO, for example, and if that were to clash with something requested by parliamentarians in the House of Commons, how would those decisions be resolved? Who has the final decision-making power? How would disagreements be resolved in those areas?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would be more than happy to continue the conversation if we have another time to do so in this session or—
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
She's offered you the opportunity to provide a short answer.
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
I believe that the current framework could be improved to streamline decision-making. I don't view myself as the final arbiter of decisions where there is a disagreement.
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2020-02-27 12:25
Minister, thank you so much for being here. It's really great. I really appreciated the opportunity to tour the Centre Block and see the incredible work being done. I was really impressed by your team, the amount of information they provided, and the attention to detail. It's really clear to me that you have highly competent people working with you.
I have three questions.
My first one is about sustainability. I'm a sustainability expert who came into politics just this term, so it's always been an area that's important to me. As we know, in this Parliament, energy efficiency, clean growth and sustainability are becoming imperatives for all of us. It's something that Harvard Business Review called the new mega-trend about seven or eight years ago, which they had sort of paralleled with information technology.
If you think about sustainability, in the next 100 years it's going to be something so commonplace that I'm interested in knowing how Centre Block might be an opportunity to showcase how innovative we can be and how committed we are to sustainability as a country. Can you tell me about what opportunities you see?
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