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July 23, 2019                      House of Assembly Management Commission                                No. 73


 

The Management Commission met at 3:40 p.m. in the Committee Room.

 

MR. SPEAKER: (Trimper): I’d like to convene this meeting of the Management Commission.

 

I’d especially like to welcome back the former Members and the new Members of the Management Commission. I’d also like to welcome everyone to this Committee Room. We finally have it outfitted. Thanks to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety and the support of the people that he deals with, we have some lovely tables and we’re outfitted now. So we are good to go now and it’s very convenient for us to set up.

 

I am Perry Trimper, I am the Speaker of the House of Assembly and I Chair the Management Commission.

 

I will now turn to my left and go around the room for introductions.

 

CLERK (Barnes): Sandra Barnes, Clerk.

 

MR. PETTEN: Barry Petten, MHA for Conception Bay South.

 

MR. BRAZIL: David Brazil, Opposition House Leader.

 

MR. REID: Scott Reid, Deputy Speaker.

 

MS. COFFIN: Alison Coffin, MHA, St. John’s East - Quidi Vidi.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: Andrew Parsons, Burgeo - La Poile.

 

MR. LOVELESS: Elvis Loveless, Fortune Bay - Cape La Hune.

 

MS. RUSSELL: Bobbi Russell, Policy & Communications Officer.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.

 

Our first item is under Tab 1, and it’s an approval of the minutes from February 20, 2019, and also for our minutes from March 13, 2019.

 

By the way, I should add – people may be wondering why we have two sets of minutes. The previous minutes for February 20 actually contain budget details that hadn’t been passed at that time. So we had to hold them back until that exercise had been completed.

 

So we have two sets of minutes. Do I need two separate motions?

 

CLERK: Yes, please.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

 

So the first motion, to approve the minutes held on February 20, 2019.

 

I have a mover and I have –

 

MS. COFFIN: No, I don’t feel I can second because I wasn’t here. I’m just wondering now, in terms of procedure, because I wasn’t on this Committee before, am I even able to vote on the minutes?

 

CLERK: Yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: Yes?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Sure.

 

CLERK: Yeah.

 

MS. COFFIN: How can I attest to their accuracy?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Do you like what you see before you?

 

MS. COFFIN: Oh, fair enough. Okay.

 

CLERK: In this case it happens to be the budget, and it’s all –

 

MS. COFFIN: Right.

 

CLERK: – reflected in the Estimates.

 

MS. COFFIN: Right. Okay, because quite often when I’m –

 

MR. SPEAKER: Good question.

 

MS. COFFIN: – approving minutes, are they reflective of what actually happened? If I wasn’t there I’m unable to attest to that.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yeah.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

MR. SPEAKER: So I have a mover and a seconder.

 

All those in favour of the minutes for February 20, 2019?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

 

That first motion is carried.

 

On motion, minutes adopted as circulated.

 

MR. SPEAKER: I need a mover and a seconder for the minutes for March 13, 2019.

 

MR. BRAZIL: So moved.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Moved by Mr. Brazil, seconded by Mr. Loveless.

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

 

The motion is also carried.

 

On motion, minutes adopted as circulated.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.

 

One item that we also need to – under the same Tab 1, is that we need to have, and I need to reveal a proposed schedule for Management Commission meetings to conclude this calendar year. Before you are three proposed dates of September 25, November 6 and December 4. These are on Wednesdays, and we try to establish these well in advance so Commission Members can work that into their calendar.

 

I’d also like to welcome to our Management Commission Minister Coady, the MHA for St. John’s West. Thank you to you; I know you’ve been busy with the media.

 

MS. COADY: I went back to my office, thinking this was 5:30.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Oh, okay, all right.

 

Welcome.

 

MS. COADY: It’s all good.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Anybody have any comments on the dates? Do these dates work for people? Do we have any concerns or questions?

 

MS. COFFIN: Is the House open for November and December?

 

CLERK: Yes.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: So we would met after that?

 

CLERK: Right after –

 

MS. COFFIN: No problem.

 

CLERK: – that Private Members’ Day so –

 

MS. COFFIN: Right. Okay.

 

MR. SPEAKER: So Wednesday at 5:00 we usually rise and immediately thereafter we convene and deal with –

 

MS. COFFIN: So that would be the 6th and the 4th, what about the September 25 one? Of course we’re not sitting then.

 

MR. SPEAKER: We’ll have to come back with that.

 

MS. COFFIN: So, I’m here, it’s good.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Parsons.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: I mean, I can say yes to it now, but that’s the only one that’s dicey in the sense that you never know what could come up before it. We all know where we’re going to be the other two dates.

 

MR. SPEAKER: I think as conflicts arise, bring them to my attention and we’ll try to accommodate as best we can. That’s how we function.

 

Thank you.

 

MS. COFFIN: Do you have any expectations of being in town sometime in October?

 

MR. A. PARSONS: Oh well, I’m going to be around in September and October but you can never plan the days –

 

MS. COFFIN: Right, yeah.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: – for sure. It’s never definitive. I’d say, just listen, go for it and we’ll figure it out.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

 

So I’m going to put a motion to the floor that the Commission approves the following meeting schedule for fall 2019. We’ve got Wednesday, September 25; Wednesday, November 6; and Wednesday, December 4 for this year. I need a mover.

 

Ms. Coffin, and a seconder: Mr. Loveless. I see a pattern.

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, ‘nay.’

 

The motion is carried.

 

Thank you.

 

Tab 2, for the new Members, you should know that we will regularly receive financial reports as to what’s happening. They are provided for your information. There is no decision required, but they’re there for your perusal and they are consistent with the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act that we provide regular updates as to how the Members are doing versus their budgets and allocated expenses. So you can check on everyone, including yourself, to see how they are going. So I provide them for your info only.

 

Any questions or discussion?

 

On to Tab 3, this is dealing with budget transfers report for the fiscal year 2018 to 2019 and we have a Transfer of Funds Policy that requires that certain budget transfers do need to be approved by this Commission. So, in accordance with policy, it makes it mandatory that they be reported at the end of fiscal year. Well, we concluded and then we haven’t had a Management Commission meeting since this fiscal year started, so that’s why you’re seeing them now.

 

Again, there are no decisions required; they’re provided for your information. I suggest again also to the new Members to have a look through them and, if you have any questions, you can raise them now or come and see us some time.

 

MS. COFFIN: What kind of training do you get for $30,000?

 

CLERK: That was the –

 

MR. SPEAKER: That was the harassment –

 

CLERK: – harassment-free –

 

MS. COFFIN: Oh, that’s good training. Yeah, okay. I’m just curious.

 

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible) there was somewhat, yeah.

 

MS. COFFIN: Yeah.

 

MR. SPEAKER: In profile.

 

MS. COFFIN: Right. Good, good.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yeah.

 

Let’s go to Tab 4. This is the Caucus Operational Funding Grant Reports. So, again, no motion is required but they’re provided for your information. So my office, any independent Members – that’s difficult to say – as well as the caucuses, all have funding grants that are reported and they’re presented for your information.

 

By the way the calendar worked in the Legislature this year, we had two sets of reports. So from the 1st of April of 2018 to the end of March this year, and then from the 1st of April to April 17.

 

CLERK: That’s because of dissolution.

 

MR. SPEAKER: We rose at that point and the writ was dropped that evening. Okay? Information purposes only.

 

Now, Tab 5, Budget Transfer Request, and we have two separate requests here. These are funds that are provided to caucuses, and because of the results of the election we have to move some budgeted items around.

 

There is some urgency to this, so I’m going to put forward the motion. I’ll read it to you, and then also going to include that we’d like to waive – typically when a Commission makes a decision we have a two-day waiting period, but I’ve been informed by our Finance team that it would be appreciated if that could be waived in this circumstance.

 

So I will –

 

MS. RUSSELL: Give the motion for the first one and then –

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yeah, okay.

 

Here goes motion 1.

 

Budget Transfer 1: The Commission approves the following transfer of funds and waives the two-day waiting period for Commission’s decisions.

 

So from subdivision 1.1.06.10, the Government Members Caucus – Grants and Subsidies in the amount of $9,100, and that’s to be transferred to subdivision 1.1.07.10, the Official Opposition Caucus – Grants and Subsidies Subdivision, the same amount of $9,100.

 

Mr. Petten is –

 

MR. PETTEN: No, I’m –

 

MR. SPEAKER: You’re quite content with that?

 

MR. PETTEN: Yeah.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. So you’re going to make a motion, and I need a seconder.

 

Seconder Mr. Parsons.

 

All those in favour of that transfer?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Anybody against that?

 

CLERK: I’m going to get him to sign that.

 

We need someone to sign –

 

MS. RUSSELL: Yeah, sure.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

 

MS. RUSSELL: Yeah.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Oh, yeah. We require a signature.

 

MS. RUSSELL: Yeah.

 

(Inaudible.) Do the second one now and (inaudible).

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yeah.

 

So we have a little – we provided you a briefing note on the second budget transfer, we found an error. It happens sometimes, but we do catch them, too. So we’re quite proud of that.

 

I’m just giving you an update now – Bobbi is. So it will just take a second for that to appear in front of you.

 

This item relates to the mandatory orientation and training that we offer to the newly elected Members. Those of us who were here for the last Assembly went through that training. We needed to transfer funding in to ensure that expenses associated with our new Members receive the same training. So that’s what this item is about.

 

Again, we would ask to waive the two-day waiting period for Commission decisions to become final. So here we go.

 

Budget Transfer 2: The Commission approves the following transfer of funds and waives the two-day waiting period for Commission decisions from subdivision 1.1.04.09, Members’ Resources – Allowances and Assistance, the amount of $7,500 to subdivision 1.1.04.02, Members’ Resources – Transportation and Communications, the same amount of $7,500.

 

I need a mover and a seconder.

 

Mover Mr. Petten; seconder Ms. Coffin.

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

 

The motion is carried.

 

Tab 6.

 

CLERK: (Inaudible.)

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, that was included in my motion. I said it both times, yeah.

 

Tab 6, this relates to the appointment of the Audit Committee Members and Chair. The way this works is that the government and the Opposition each appoint a Member, that will be the first task, and then we will entertain a motion as to who would chair those two.

 

So, the first one I will look to the government, I guess, or who on the floor to propose a Member for the government side.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: We would move that Elvis Loveless be appointed.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

 

Do I require a seconder (inaudible)?

 

MS. RUSSELL: Yeah.

 

So you have to have – yeah, you have another name and then we do both of them in the same one and then you’ll do the Chair.

 

CLERK: Yeah, yeah.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. All right.

 

I’ll need a proposal from the Opposition as to who you’d like to see represent.

 

MS. COFFIN: Am I considered Opposition?

 

CLERK: It’s usually one from either side and –

 

MS. COFFIN: Yeah. I mean, I sit on the other side.

 

MS. RUSSELL: It’s two Members of the Management Commission in the legislation –

 

CLERK: Yeah, and just typically –

 

MS. RUSSELL: – one of whom has to be (inaudible) –

 

MR. SPEAKER: Right now, as the Chair, I’m just looking for a motion.

 

MR. BRAZIL: I nominate Alison.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, if that’s your motion? Okay.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: I’ll second it.

 

MR. SPEAKER: All right.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, so the first motion is that the Commission appoints Elvis Loveless and Alison Coffin as Members of the Audit Committee effective immediately.

 

All those in favour of the motion?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

 

The motion is carried.

 

Now I need to entertain a motion as to who will be the Chair of this Committee.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: I move that Elvis Loveless be the Chair of the Audit Committee.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. I need a seconder.

 

Ms. Coady.

 

All those in favour of that motion?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

 

The motion is carried.

 

So the Commission appoints Elvis Loveless as Chair of the Audit Committee effective immediately.

 

You can add that to your résumé now.

 

CLERK: Minister Parsons served as Chair of the Audit Committee, so he can –

 

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.

 

Tab 7, this is the audited financial information from the Office of the Auditor General. There’s no motion required here, it’s just section 32(3) of the Auditor General Act states that the auditor, appointed under subsection 1 of that act, must submit his or her report to the Commission. So the report is filed there, financial in nature of course, and is provided for reporting purposes only. No decision.

 

Tab 8: This is an interesting request from the Member for Burin - Grand Bank. It actually dates back to the previous Assembly but we’ve carried on. Let me just give you a little bit of background.

 

Under the rules, each Member is provided with an intra- and extra-constituency – I&E, we call it – allocation. It is capped at the annual amount that varies for each district as outlined in Schedule A of the rules. The types of travel permitted on the allocation are also specified in the rules and they’re outlined in a particular note there, BN 2019-013.

 

The correspondence that we received back in March – former Member for Placentia West - Bellevue and the Member for Burin - Grand Bank – requested that the Management Commission consider an amendment to the provision of the rules respecting types of travel permitted on the I&E allocation.

 

Specifically, the correspondence outlined that the Burin Peninsula is the only area of the province that borders a foreign country, i.e., Saint Pierre et Miquelon and France. It further outlines that matters of mutual importance to both areas requiring occasional travel to Saint Pierre et Miquelon for the purposes of conducting constituency-related business, a very important line. Related travel costs are not currently eligible.

 

So, several of us, the Member for Burgeo - La Poile, Cartwright - L’Anse au Clair and for Labrador West do border adjacent provinces. They are able, through the wording that exists now, to venture across the border as long as it relates to a constituency type matter.

 

So, the request to us, this Commission, was to also change the wording so it would allow for this international hop over to France. Actually, we haven’t specified, you’ll note – very clever, I thought it was a very good move, by the way, to my communications person here – that we’ve just changed the wording so one would be eligible, but by saying and tying it to the constituency-related issues, the intent most of the time will be for the two Members on the Burin Peninsula; but the boundaries could change. For example, it could have a new name. So instead of locking us in that way we’ve just said international travel, as long as it relates to your constituency.

 

MS. RUSSELL: Well, it actually specifies Saint Pierre et Miquelon –

 

CLERK: Saint Pierre et Miquelon.

 

MS. RUSSELL: – in the amendment.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, thank you.

 

MS. RUSSELL: But instead of specifying the two Burin Peninsula districts, if the boundaries change we’d have to go back in and do an amendment.

 

So in order to use the I&E allocation for that purpose, a Member would have to establish that it’s directly related to constituency business. So those would be the two obvious districts that would be able to establish that connection.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Unless Cape Breton became its own nation.

 

MS. RUSSELL: Yes.

 

CLERK: (Inaudible.)

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yeah, okay. Right on.

 

Thank you.

 

Any discussion on this matter?

 

MS. COFFIN: I would have one question, which would be: Is there going to be an additional funds associated with this?

 

MR. SPEAKER: No.

 

MS. COFFIN: So it’s within your current allocation.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Yeah.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

MR. SPEAKER: They need to work with their current allocation. I had the same thought.

 

They’re accountable to that budgeted amount, so they need to work accordingly.

 

MS. RUSSELL: It’s just changing what you can spend that particular allocation on.

 

MS. COFFIN: Yeah, yeah, where you can put that money. Okay, so (inaudible).

 

MR. SPEAKER: So, any further discussion?

 

I’m looking for the motion. Oh, here it is.

 

MS. RUSSELL: No.

 

MR. SPEAKER: No?

 

MS. RUSSELL: It’s back on the previous page.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Oh, okay.

 

CLERK: The wording of the amendment is in your briefing. It appears right at the end. The Law Clerk drafted it.

 

MS. COFFIN: After the letter (inaudible).

 

CLERK: It’s right at the end, the very last page of what you have.

 

MR. SPEAKER: So let me read to the Commission – are you done? Yeah.

 

CLERK: Yeah.

 

MS. RUSSELL: Mm-hmm.

 

MR. SPEAKER: I’ll read to you all the proposed motion.

 

Pursuant to section 64 of the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act, the Commission approves the following proposed amendment to the Members Resources and Allowances Rules subject to final wording by the Office of the Legislative Council.

 

Section 30 of the Members Resources and Allowances Rules is amended by deleting the word “and” at the end of paragraph (f) and by adding immediately after that paragraph the following:

 

“(f.1) to and from Saint Pierre-et-Miquelon where the purpose of the trip is directly related to constituency business; and”

 

MS. RUSSELL: That’s the end of it.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Oh right, okay.

 

MS. RUSSELL: It’s just the “and” required at the end.

 

CLERK: It has to be fitted in.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

 

I need a mover and a seconder.

 

Moved by Mr. Parsons, seconded by Mr. Petten.

 

All those in favour of this motion?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

 

The decision is carried.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: I got a lot of constituents (inaudible) directly in Bermuda (inaudible).

 

MR. SPEAKER: You just need to convince us.

 

MR. A. PARSONS: It’s just (inaudible).

 

AN HON. MEMBER: You can do it but only by kayak, and within your I&E.

 

MR. SPEAKER: If it is the next piece of land, maybe Ireland also can count for St. John’s.

 

With that, that concludes our business on the agenda.

 

I thank all the Members. Again, I welcome the new Members.

 

I look for a motion to adjourn.

 

MR. BRAZIL: So moved.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Seconded by Ms. Coffin.

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

MR. SPEAKER: This Committee stands adjourned.

 

On motion, meeting adjourned.