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Results: 211 - 240 of 1068
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2021-01-28 11:38
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Thank you. That's appreciated.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll go to Mr. Julian.
He will be followed by Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
There are some laudable suggestions in the document. My own experience, anecdotally, with the external suppliers, the local suppliers, was that what made the difference, and why we were able to get things out more quickly—during a pandemic, of course, it's vital to get information in the hands of my constituents—was the mailing delay that came from Ottawa.
We have very talented staff in Ottawa, they do a terrific job in the printing centre, but often, it's a two-week delay getting it from Ottawa to New Westminster—Burnaby. For the external suppliers, in our case, even though it's correct to point out that they may not be as efficient and may not understand the Canada Post preparation as well as staff in Ottawa, the reality is that, once it's actually dropped at the post office, it's a one- or two-day delay, as opposed to a one- or two-week delay.
That needs to be taken into consideration. We have a vast geography, and the mailing times add complexity to mailings that are particularly tied to specific events. It makes a difference to be able to use local suppliers for certain types of mailings.
I agree with enhancing the printing team in Ottawa. There's absolutely no doubt that would mean that things could be produced more quickly for our constituents, but I also believe local suppliers definitely have a place. In the case of a British Columbia MP, it means that the overall length of time is quicker, even if it takes twice as long to produce the printing, because it takes 10% of the time to actually do the mailing and get it into the riding.
I wanted to give you that feedback, because that needs to be taken into consideration as well when we're looking at the overall proposal that comes to the BOIE.
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Rebekah Kletke
View Rebekah Kletke Profile
Rebekah Kletke
2021-01-28 11:40
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Thank you, Mr. Julian.
We certainly appreciate your comments and will take that into consideration. We're also looking at adjusting our planning practices, as I mentioned following Mr. Richards' comments, so that instead of first in, first out, we would plan according to the location of the constituency, so that those that might be farther from Ottawa would get done sooner rather than later in our planning process, to hopefully shorten the time frame.
We'll certainly take that into account. Thank you for your comments.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will continue with Mrs. DeBellefeuille.
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View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Good morning, Ms. Kletke.
First, I would like to acknowledge the fact that, within your department, you directed two of your managers to consult the whips of all caucuses on what could be improved and therefore to gather information from all recognized parties in the House.
I want to thank you for that because it shows me that you are committed to improving your department and better serving members in the House of Commons. I also want to thank you for the fact that I felt I was heard. I know that the two managers I met with last week accepted and even appreciated some of the recommendations, the improvements, that I wanted to see. I am therefore very grateful to you for that good practice that other departments will hopefully choose to adopt.
I fully agree with your recommendation. I don't know if it is the fact that we are close to Ottawa, but we noticed that the 12-day service standard was often exceeded. The average was about nine days. We are quite satisfied with the timeframes. Of course, we would like to bring them down from 12 to nine or even between five and nine, as you suggest. In the age of social media, we often want to communicate quickly with our constituents about situations or activities, or even about information related to the pandemic. Everything moves so quickly these days. I feel that, while maintaining its quality, its thoroughness and its professionalism, our printing service must do the best it can to reduce its turnaround time throughout the process, from submission to mockups, production and mailing to the public.
I want to thank you because I'm sure we will be pleased with your proposals and those that you will make in the spring, since you have understood how important it is for members to send out quality information [Technical difficulty] and that meets the need for more urgent communications.
I also noticed that you paid special attention to publications of 5,000 copies or less, which are perhaps not being used optimally. Members may benefit from becoming more familiar with this type of publication since it is a much shorter process. If you opened it up to local businesses, we might be able to use this parliamentary tool more often for more urgent publications. It's a tool that may be underused, at least by my caucus.
So I thank you once again, and I agree with the recommendation you have submitted to us today.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other comments?
Are we okay to go ahead with the recommendation presented in the report?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Anthony Rota: We're going to suspend temporarily to go in camera. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes. I want everybody to stand by if you don't mind, as we make sure everything goes in camera.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
This is meeting number 12 of the Board of Internal Economy in this session. It will be televised and available by video conference.
Is there anything arising from the minutes of the previous meeting? Are we okay with those?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Is there any business arising from previous meetings?
Mr. Richards.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2020-12-03 10:36
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I wanted to touch base on one item where a follow-up was required. We had sent a letter and there was a deadline of December 18 for a response. Would we be looking at scheduling a meeting sometime shortly after that, or early in the new year, to discuss that item, based on any response we receive?
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
The letter has been sent. I don't believe we have received a response yet.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2020-12-03 10:37
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I understand, but we gave a deadline of December 18. Are we planning to schedule a meeting shortly after that to discuss our response?
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We'll have to wait until a response comes back. The letter has gone out, and we'll see what happens from there, if that's fair.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2020-12-03 10:38
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I was just trying to get a sense as to what we thought.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
The letter did go out within a couple of days of when we met last. It's all taken care of.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2020-12-03 10:38
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All I'm getting at is that it leaves a long time after the response would be received. I wouldn't want to leave that hanging over anyone for a long period of time. I know we ordinarily wouldn't meet for some time after that. I just wondered if we were giving some consideration to meeting sooner, so that it wouldn't be left hanging.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think that's fair. If it's okay with everyone, we'll wait until the response comes back, and then we'll deal with it when we have the facts in front of us. Is that fair?
There's consensus around the room. Perfect.
Our first presentation this morning concerns the LTVP working group recommendations. The presenter is Mr. Bruce Stanton, co-chair of the Joint Interparliamentary Council and Deputy Speaker par excellence.
Before Mr. Stanton, Ms. DeBellefeuille, please go ahead.
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View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
If I may, Mr. Chair, I'd like to thank Mr. Janse for having provided some details about the questions I had asked him.
I had asked how many witnesses gave evidence in French in parliamentary committees. What I'm trying to do is document the technical problems that sometimes come from failing to wear a headset. These problems mainly occur when unilingual francophone MPs are speaking.
At the last meeting, I said that I thought 90% of francophone witnesses gave their evidence in English. I was wrong by 4%. It would seem that 86% of francophone witnesses who appear before parliamentary committees do so in English. We've been saying from the outset that interpretation and technical problems have been having more of an impact on interventions by francophone MPs. And now we have facts and documentation to support our claim.
Mr. Chair, there have been many recommendations and suggestions. For example, it was suggested that the chair of the Liaison Committee should require an internal economy motion for the parliamentary committees asking each committee to adopt an internal economy motion to have witnesses do some technical tests before giving evidence in order to ensure that sound connectivity and quality are satisfactory.
Would House Administration and the clerk move this suggestion forward or should we take a position on it? I'd like some specifics on this point.
Is it up to us to do the follow-up or will it be delegated to the Liaison Committee? Are the clerks going to follow through on these suggestions made in the letter sent by the deputy clerk to the Committees and Legislative Services Branch?
Once again, I'd like to thank the team of clerks for having documented the problem and passed the information on to us. It'll be very useful to us in our future work.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I know that this is very important for us all. Could Mr. Janse answer the question. He could perhaps describe what's been done so far.
Mr. Janse, you have the floor.
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Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2020-12-03 10:42
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mrs. DeBellefeuille, for your question.
If the Bureau of Internal Economy were in agreement, I thought I might send the letter I gave you to Ms. Sgro, the chair of the Liaison Committee. She could then forward it to the chairs of the 24 committees, and each in turn could discuss the matter and decide whether they want to adopt an internal economy motion. Of course, the MPs on each committee could propose such a motion.
As I mentioned in the letter, witnesses are often called at the last minute, and it's sometimes not possible to send them a headset before they appear. We nevertheless make every effort to do so.
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View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
What I understood was that technical tests would be a good idea, wherever possible, right before witnesses appear. One example of an annoying technical problem was during an appearance by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. The problem was fixed afterwards.
Right before someone is to give evidence, it would be useful to do some tests and remind the witness to wear a headset. If the witness doesn't have a headset, possible options could be suggested, or another witness could go first. The goal is to emphasize the importance of how to set things up to make interpretation possible.
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Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2020-12-03 10:43
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That would definitely facilitate things in various ways.
Our current procedure is to contact witnesses by email to send them the information. We strongly suggest that they connect 15 to 30 minutes before their appearance so that we can conduct some tests.
My impression is that many people don't read all their emails and if the witnesses don't read ours and connect only a few minutes before their appearance, there could be problems.
In our discussions with the committees branch, it was suggested that we telephone some witnesses, particularly if this is their first appearance, to underscore the importance of connecting ahead of time so that we can do various tests.
We hope that this might improve the situation.
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View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
The next speakers are Mr. Julian and Mr. Deltell.
Over to you, Mr. Julian.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Janse.
This information is very useful and very important to us, given our current concerns about the decline of French in Canada. Over the past few weeks, we've initiated some parliamentary debates on this topic and have adopted several motions.
I was interested to learn that over one-third of witnesses can speak French. The problem is not so much the number of francophone and francophile witnesses, but rather the infrastructure shortcomings.
At meetings of the Standing Committee on Finance, I saw interpretation problems several times, as a result of which people who were speaking French felt obliged to switch to English.
I believe the figures would back me up on this. People don't feel comfortable speaking French if the equipment is unsatisfactory and the interpreters can't do their work. As a result, they tend to switch to English, which is something that really should be avoided. The recommendations being made here should be forwarded to all the committees. Furthermore, it's important to firmly support the idea that the technology needs to be perfect so that witnesses can speak French in the knowledge that they'll be able to count on the excellent House interpretation services.
These statistics are very important, and I'd like to thank you for passing this information on to us. I think everyone around this table would be in favour of immediately and forcefully implementing the recommendations that were made.
For me, it would be a dream come true.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Deltell, you now have the floor.
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View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I fully agree with what my two predecessors have said. I'd like to add something, though. Many of my caucus colleagues have mentioned this problem, and I'm sure that it applies to all the political parties. Every time a technical problem of this kind occurs, it results in lost time in terms of evidence and our parliamentary work. Every now and then, this might be considered acceptable, but unfortunately, a lot of time is being lost, with interruptions of up to 10 or 20 minutes, because of technical problems. I'll admit, however, that it's occurring less often than before.
I'm in favour of all the observations that have been made. I'm also in favour of the recommendations, and welcome the initiative suggesting that people be called before they give evidence. I think the House should adopt this approach systematically. Emails are all very well, but we get up to 50 of them per hour and it's easy to miss one. People may not be watching their inbox closely. A return to the good old days might be required, by which I mean calling people directly on the telephone and checking and double-checking the information.
I'd like to thank you, Mr. Chair, for having reminded people once more yesterday, and this week in the House on several occasions, that it was absolutely essential for us to wear the headset supplied by the House of Commons.
I have a final observation, which is that like all of us here in the House, many of our colleagues attend meetings from home, from their riding office or from their parliamentary office. We might consider providing parliamentarians with more than one headset.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will go now to Mr. Richards.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2020-12-03 10:48
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On this topic, it's one thing with external witnesses we're asking to appear. I think some of the suggestions that have been made are good ones. We've seen this occur with ministers who are being asked to come to committee to be held accountable before the committee. I really think that in these cases....
This is not something that is surprising or unexpected for ministers. They need to have headsets and they need to ensure that they have a proper connection. I know it isn't exactly directly related to the committees, but in committee of the whole we had a minister who hadn't prepared to have a proper Internet connection.
I really believe that in these kinds of cases, the expectation should be that the minister will make up the time with the committee. If they've wasted 20 minutes of committee time because they didn't have the proper headset or something of that nature, the expectation should be that they make up the time so that the committee has those opportunities. We're seeing that those opportunities are being lost, and ensuring that ministers are accountable is a very important part of our democracy.
I think it's different from the situation with a regular witness. Sometimes a witness has been asked, as you say, on short notice and maybe isn't aware of the requirements with respect to our committees, but ministers certainly are. I really think that, if we're going to put something out, we should include in it as well that ministers will be expected to make up time if they do not come prepared with the proper equipment and connection.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's very good. We'll take that under advisement.
Are there any more comments?
We're now going to study the recommendation made by the working group on the Long Term Vision and Plan, or the LTVP.
We have with us today Mr. Bruce Stanton, the chair of the working group on the LTVP and the Centre Block rehabilitation.
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