Evidence of meeting #21 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was may.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

It's white. And all the independents have that?

11:50 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

So members formerly known as the Bloc, and Ms. May, are they all white?

11:50 a.m.

An hon. member

The artists formerly known as the Bloc.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Yes. It's just a symbol now.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

I just want to go back to one other thing.

Madam O'Brien, you were talking about the wide-angle shots. I know that it's supposed to be just for question period and you're not supposed to have reaction shots and the like. Is that being religiously adhered to? Maybe I'm getting comments from some of our members that are incorrect, but it seemed that the wide-angle shots were being employed a little bit more frequently than just in question period and votes, where if a single member is standing up to debate and there are a bunch of empty chairs around him there's a wide-angle shot that illustrates this. I think it concerns a lot of members that if this is what's happening it doesn't look good, frankly, for Parliament.

Can you confirm that during debates, during government orders, when individuals are standing up it's still single torso and up shots, or are they using wide-angle shots for that as well?

11:50 a.m.

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

I can confirm that's what they should be doing. I think from time to time, if there's been a switch in who's speaking at the last minute, there may be a certain time when the camera is trying to find whoever is getting up. That might happen, and there might be errors that slip in from time to time. But we have to say sometimes to the frustration of our broadcasting team—which is an excellent team—we discourage any artistic impulses that would have them deviate from the torso close-up shot that's the usual.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Does the broadcaster get a list in advance, showing who is going to be speaking on a particular bill or SO-31, that type of thing, so they can prepare?

11:50 a.m.

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

We try to share the information we have. For example, in question period, we know who is going to question, but we don't know who is going to answer. That's always a bit of a challenge. Then, depending on the body language of the person answering, they face the Speaker, or they face the questioner.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

I think it would be a good idea if you could put a red light on the camera. I'll give you an example.

As you know, we have a number of members on the opposition side of the House in the far corner. During SO-31s, a member came to me yesterday. I always advise them to face one direction when they get up to speak, so that the camera will find them and then they can just keep looking in that direction. Unfortunately, this member is right in the corner and he faces the Speaker when he delivers his SO-31s. I guess his wife, or whoever might be watching these things, mentioned that all she could see was his profile. Nobody could see his face full on. I said it was probably because the camera doesn't swing around far enough to get into that far corner.

But if there had been a red light on a camera, the member would have known which direction to face so his wife could see him better. I think it's probably a good suggestion. If you could let us know if that's possible, I think it would be helpful for all members.

11:55 a.m.

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

I'll certainly do that, because it's a concern, and I can see where it would be practical to know about the cameras.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Thank you.

That's all I have.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Thank you.

Madame Latendresse.

February 14th, 2012 / 11:55 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have a question regarding one of the guidelines that apply to deliberations. It says that "if an exchange between members occurs too quickly and does not permit normal camera switching, a wider shot may be permitted which incorporates those involved in the exchange, including the chair." I would like further explanations on this guideline. In fact, I wonder under what circumstances there may be quick exchanges between two members. Perhaps you could explain the use of wider shots.

11:55 a.m.

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

This can occur, for instance, during the 30-minute period following a time allocation motion. A very quick question may be asked, followed by a brief answer, and then back. So, there is no time, really, to simply cover the member who is speaking. That is where you would use a wider shot.

The same applies in evening debates, for instance when the leader of the opposition asks for a special debate to be held in the evening on budgetary matters. There can, from time to time, be rapid exchanges between members.

That is done to ensure that, at the very least, the member speaking is seen on camera. We would not want to miss that opportunity.