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

11:45 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

No, we never really acknowledge or file formal requests.

A lot of this is sometimes informal discussion around the House to our broadcasting crew. Sometimes they go to visit the control room and bring comments. It's been at the request of the whip, but we never maintain a log of all the requests or all of the discussions. We look at this as private with each of the parties, and we respect this kind of dialogue with the parties. Sometimes it is a communication strategy, sometimes it's specific questions to the parties, and we don't log anything.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

What I am referring to more is the viewing audience. Do you get feedback at all from members of the public who are watching?

11:45 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

No. There is no formal mechanism. The feedback we're getting is more through CPAC and the association of broadcasters. It's more on the quality of productions. We don't really get feedback directly from the viewers.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

You made a comment in terms of the quality, and I agree: it's phenomenal quality. The quality in Ottawa is amazing, compared to a provincial legislature.

Are you taking any other action to further enhance the quality, or are you at where you want to be? Is there anything on the horizon you're looking at, everything from changing cameras...? Is there anything of that nature?

11:45 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

It's a very good question. There is no doubt, we have been very fortunate. Since its inception 35 years ago, the board has always been very receptive to supporting the enhancements of television.

From 2000 to 2004, if you recall, there was a major revamp of the complete broadcast environment in terms of a refit of the House. We changed the audio systems and all the cameras. There was a lot of investment to sustain a very good technological environment.

The next big wave for us will be a completely digital environment. The industry is bringing this to us, and we are close to it. It is a major change for Canada to align to that, and we want to be ready for that. We have been working very closely with CPAC to be a pioneer, and to work with them and align ourselves to that.

So far, we have been able to sustain a good environment, to make investments, and we have a very state-of-the-art and up-to-date environment.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

What about in terms of just overall? Over the years do you find there's been an increase in viewers, generally speaking? Are there some jurisdictions where it's not watched? Do you take any ratings in some provinces where maybe there's very little promotion?

11:45 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

Yes. We receive ratings from CPAC. They maintain excellent ratings in terms of who accesses what and when, and this and that. We have this kind of information. There is no doubt that the decision here many years ago to also stream on the Internet all the committees, whether it's audio or video, and the House, means that as a country we have a penetration in Canada at over 99%. Canadians who have a satellite connection, a radio connection, television or cable, or the Internet have access to our debates. We are the first country in the world that has this level of penetration. Above that, we are also accessible to the entire world, for universities, libraries, other governments. We are prime broadcasters for most departments. We have now officials who use all our services with video on demand, all of those services. I think in Canada we are enviable in what we can offer Canadians today.

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Do you actually have a sense of the numbers of viewers who are really watching CPAC, like for our question period or just regular debates?

11:50 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

No, I didn't prepare for that today, but I can gather information and get back to you on that if you wish.

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Or just provide it to the chair; that would be good.

11:50 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

Yes, I will do that.

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Mr. Lukiwski.

February 14th, 2012 / 11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Thanks, Chair.

I don't have a whole bunch. I think most of the questions I wanted to ask have already been asked. I appreciate the fact that if we do have some concerns or suggestions we can use our whips to channel that information to you.

I'm curious about one thing, and it's a very minor point. I notice when members are up to speak and when the graphics explaining the bill and all that go by, when they identify the member and the member's riding, underneath that there's a little coloured bar, which I guess indicates the colour of the party. When Conservative members stand up there's a blue bar, I think it's more gold than orange for NDP, and when a Liberal stands up it's red. With independents, how does that work? I say that because Mr. Goldring used to be in our caucus and now has stepped down because of some legal challenges he's facing. I don't think he's even spoken yet, but how are you going to identify him by colour? Is there a standard? I think in years past all independents used to have grey or something signifying independents.

11:50 a.m.

Chief Information Officer, House of Commons

Louis Bard

It's white today.