Evidence of meeting #39 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 million.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Thank you very much.

We'll go to a five-minute round to start.

Mr. Lukiwski.

May 29th, 2012 / 12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Thank you very much, Chair.

Thank you, Speaker, for being here.

I have a question that is not covered in your opening remarks. You may be somewhat reticent to comment on it, but it's certainly been a favourite subject of this committee, so I'll ask your indulgence. If you can give some feedback I would appreciate it. It deals with security services.

It's been long felt by this committee that we should combine security forces between the Senate and the House of Commons, but that is not really an issue, unfortunately, this committee can deal with. It's an issue that's dealt with by the Board of Internal Economy, which you chair. So I won't ask you to comment on what kind of a study you may be undertaking with regard to security services, but I will ask you that if there were combined security forces between the House of Commons and the Senate, what savings would you anticipate as a result of such a move? Have you got any kind of estimate of an approximate saving that you might be able to share with this committee on that hypothetical basis?

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Sir, you're asking a politician to answer a hypothetical.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

As the Speaker, I thought you were beyond the politics of it all.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

I would start by saying that, as I mentioned and as the clerk mentioned when I appeared before you for the supplementary estimates, there is an acknowledgement of the need to look at combining the security forces on the Hill. To that end, the Board of Internal Economy has struck a security subcommittee, which will be any day now meeting with our Senate counterparts to start to develop that initiative to proceed down that route.

In terms of proposed cost savings, I imagine that would be one of the first things the joint committee would look at, at exactly how much that dollar amount would be. I don't know if Mark can put a dollar amount at this point, but just knowing that there would be some reductions in redundancies and overlaps, we anticipate that there could be some cost savings, and of course not just the cost savings but a more efficient delivery of service.

When you're dealing with the Hill, if you count everybody, the three or four different policing entities from Wellington to inside, with the rationalizing of some of that, ultimately, the expectation would be more efficient delivery service as well.

It's early days yet, so I wouldn't want to put too many specifics down, but the two committees do plan on meeting to start to work on this.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

I can't remember, quite frankly, but do you have at your fingertips the cost for the services that we're currently paying? How much do we pay for security services on the House of Commons side, and how much are the security costs on the Senate side?

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Do we have that with us?

12:35 p.m.

Audrey O'Brien Clerk of the House of Commons

We don't have that, Mr. Chairman, but we can certainly make that available in a written response at a later date.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

I'd appreciate it, and I think this committee would also appreciate it if you have any updates after the Board of Internal Economy completes its study. I realize that information is confidential until you choose to release it, but I think the committee would certainly appreciate any information updates that you could give us on that.

With that, Chair, I know that my colleague Mr. Williamson has a number of questions. If I may, I'll cede the rest of my time to Mr. Williamson.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

He has a minute and a half of your time.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

I'd like to talk about the flight passes, Speaker and Clerk, if you could indulge me. As a new member, I was first of all quite surprised at some of the cost that I was initially incurring to get home from Ottawa. I spoke to several people and eventually was able to use the flight passes. It's a great initiative, and I'm curious to know how the uptake has been. Is this an issue you're trying to press onto other members as well? If so, what kinds of cost savings do you expect from that? I notice your costs are going up. I suspect if members were to move to flight passes, costs would decline greatly.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

I can ask Mark to talk about the specific uptake at this point, but I can tell you that the board did spend a considerable amount of time to identify savings in travel as part of the strategic operating review. Is that as of now? Ultimately, with full implementation of what the board has approved and for your edification, we are moving toward a system whereby flight passes will be the norm. Right now, it's possible, but we're moving to a situation where to go from the constituency to Ottawa, that will be the norm. It's anticipated that will result in $5 million in savings.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Am I done?

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

Yes. That was your minute and a half. We'll get you back, I hope.

Madame Groguhé.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé Saint-Lambert, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for your presentation. The researchers provided us with a document. On page 1 is a table on the main estimates and it lists a total appropriations amount of $445,935,000. There is a difference in the third part.

Could you provide more detail on the reason for the difference?