THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON INTERNAL ECONOMY,
BUDGETS AND ADMINISTRATION

EVIDENCE

OTTAWA, Thursday, November 18, 1999

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration met this day at 9:00 a.m. to organize the activities of the committee.

[English]

Mr. Paul Bélisle, Clerk of the Committee: Honourable senators, I see a quorum. Pursuant to the notice that you have received, and in conformity with rule 88, your first item of business today is to elect a chair of this committee.

Are there any motions to that effect?

Senator Milne: I move that Senator Rompkey be the chair of the committee.

Mr. Bélisle: It is moved by Senator Milne that Senator Rompkey be chair of this committee.

Are there any other motions?

There being none, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Mr. Bélisle: I declare the motion carried.

I invite Senator Rompkey to take the chair.

Senator Bill Rompkey (Chairman) in the Chair.

The Chairman: I love watching democracy in progress. It is a stimulating exercise this early in the morning. To quote another great Canadian, "Welcome to 2000."

Honourable senators, thank you very much for your confidence. My first duty is to preside over the election of the deputy chair.

The chair will accept nominations for the post of deputy chair.

Senator DeWare: Mr. Chairman, after much deliberation by the PC caucus, it was agreed that we would nominate Senator Nolin to be the deputy chair of Internal Economy.

The Chairman: Honourable senators, it has been moved that Senator Nolin be deputy chair of the committee.

Are there any other nominations?

There being none, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

Our next responsibility concerns the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure. In the last session, we had a steering committee of three. I believe that worked very well. We had gender balance and party balance. The committee was small enough that it could meet as required on an ad hoc basis, which we needed to do from time to time.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: Since joining this committee, I find that we have tackled a number of difficult problems and have managed to resolve some of them. This is because the committee works efficiently and it should continue to operate in the same manner. Accordingly, I move that the steering committee be composed of three persons, namely the Chair, the Deputy Chair and the Honourable Senator Poulin.

[English]

The Chairman: It has been moved by Senator Robichaud that the steering committee be composed of the chair, the deputy chair, and Senator Poulin. That is the steering committee we had previously. It worked well and I commend it to you.

Is there any discussion on the motion?

There being none, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

The next item of business relates to a motion to print the committee’s proceedings, for distribution to senators, MPs, officials, and others.

We require a motion:

That the Committee print 200 copies of its Proceedings.

Senator Poulin: I so move, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

Next, we require a motion:

That, if the full committee is unable to meet, the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure (Steering Committee) be authorized to deal with and resolve immediate administrative problems; and that it report its decisions at the first meeting thereafter.

Honourable senators, this procedure is standard. As you know, the subcommittee meets from time to time but in doing so takes only minor decisions. We take our decisions back to this committee for confirmation.

Senator Forrestall: I so move.

The Chairman: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

Next, we require a motion:

That the Subcommittee be authorized, subject to the approval of the full Committee, to strike other subcommittees.

Senator Comeau: I so move.

The Chairman: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

The next item of business relates to the Joint Interparliamentary Council. In the last session, the steering committee represented us on the Joint Interparliamentary Council, which is made up members of the Senate and of the House of Commons. That council oversees parliamentary associations. The issue of parliamentary associations is in the process of reform. The Strahl-Prud'homme report recommended some changes in the administration of parliamentary organizations.

As I said, the steering committee has represented us on that body up to now. I have been the co-chair, with Peter Milliken from the house. We need a motion for three senators, probably the steering committee, to continue to do that, as we have done in the past.

Senator Stollery: I should like to speak to this motion. This Joint Interparliamentary Council has become a little more mysterious to me of late. It would be interesting to hear a report occasionally, from whomever represents us on the interparliamentary council, in order for us to know what is going on. No one seems to know what is going on.

The Chairman: We can certainly undertake to do that. It is a point well taken. As I said earlier, there is a significant amount of dissatisfaction in the way in which parliamentary associations have been run, particularly with budgets, over the last few years. There have been some recommendations for reform. Those recommendations have really not come to a head, although they will do so shortly. We will undertake to report to this committee on the operations of the Joint Interparliamentary Council.

Do I have a motion?

Senator Milne: Honourable senators, I move:

That the Honourable Senators Rompkey, Nolin, and Poulin be named to represent the Senate on the Joint Interparliamentary Council.

The Chairman: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

I need a motion to the effect that the chair be authorized to report expenses incurred by the committee during the last session.

Senator Maheu: Honourable senators, I move:

That, pursuant to Rule 104, the chair be authorized to report expenses incurred by the committee during the last session.

The Chairman: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: I see that we have adopted the last item on our agenda. What exactly does this item entail?

[English]

Mr. Bélisle: Honourable senator, every committee must adopt that at the commencement of a new session. Your expenses must be reported to the chamber, according to the rules. These were minor expenses incurred by this committee in the last session. If you want, I could give you the breakdown.

Senator Robichaud: No, that is fine.

The Chairman: Before we move in camera, I welcome those of you who have served previously and those of you who have just joined us. You are in for an interesting experience. Your mettle will be tested; your intelligence will be tested; and your ability to count will be tested. Fasten your seat belts. I look forward to working together for the next little while.

The staff who assist this committee are sitting behind us. I think most honourable senators have been around long enough to know who they are. They serve us extremely well. We are fortunate to have the calibre of people we have working for us and supporting us. I thank them for their past work and, in advance, for the work they will do for us in the future. Thank you very much.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Chairman: We will continue in camera.

The committee continued in camera.


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