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

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

So, there would be a wider angle used to cover several members.

11:55 a.m.

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

That is correct, precisely. We try to avoid that, as much as possible, outside of question period. However sometimes it may be more important for the person to be in the frame, at the very least.

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Very well. That is what I wanted to know.

Thank you.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

If no one else has any more, I have some through my mother, but I'll wait till after.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Prince George—Peace River, BC

Laurie and I are going to share.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Excellent.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Prince George—Peace River, BC

This is a dialogue. Do you have any recommendations on how the sessions could be done better? As the expert, what do you have to say?

11:55 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

Things are going very well. In general, the overall feedback is very good. We understand the element. It's always a challenge to have members understand the rules of broadcasting, to understand that they are on camera. At the debriefing of new members of Parliament, we say this a lot: you are on camera, and you need to be.... If I have to focus on the chair and the member behind is sleeping, there's not much I can do, unless we put an electric shock on the chair. Members are very visible.

We've tried to bring in a few flexibilities. We have to adjust the quality based on industry standards. I think we've maintained the standards. All of that is going very well. The public is looking for more information. But it's something that can evolve very slowly. As to making a better program, I think you people are good customers and you do quite a good job to give us a prime show.

11:55 a.m.

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

If I might just add, one of the things as well that would make for much better television, if I may say from my aged perspective, is if members—and I know how hard-pressed you are for time.... In interventions where members don't read a text, I think it's much livelier. People who are watching feel much more engaged. That, automatically, is something that I think makes for way better television. It's certainly a difficult thing to ask of members who are supposed to be covering so many different things, but I'll just slide that in.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Prince George—Peace River, BC

I have a question on budget and compensation. You talked about the broadcasters liking your coverage and footage. I would like to know what the budget was for the broadcast department and whether that was in any way compensated by the networks. Is it a cost recovery type of thing, or how does that work?

Noon

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

No, my first comment is that we have to realize that the CPAC agreement is the best one in the world. It costs Parliament zero dollars. It's a consortium of cable companies that pays for that. If tomorrow CPAC were to shut down its services and I had to put something else in place, we're talking about $10 million per year to offer the same service.

In terms of the broadcasters that have access to Parliament Hill, we have agreements because we provide all the connectivity to make sure we provide quality content. For that they've paid for the investment. But there's no cost recovery for Parliament. In terms of what we do here, it's salary for our team, maintenance of the equipment, and all of that stuff. It's a very basic budget.

Noon

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

Arguably we're kind of in the best of both worlds, because we basically control the members—that is to say, the House controls the guidelines under which the broadcasting is actually done. Then CPAC and the consortium look after the distribution, which is the really big and tricky thing.

Noon

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Prince George—Peace River, BC

I think Laurie had a....

February 14th, 2012 / noon

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

I have a quick one with respect to archives. How long is this stuff archived? If I wanted to go back and get somebody's speech ten years ago, is that possible?

Noon

Clerk of the House of Commons

Audrey O'Brien

We have an agreement with Library and Archives Canada, but the entire broadcast, gavel to gavel, is not retained automatically. There's selectivity, because you end up with too much. I think digitization is going to help that, but we have to see.