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Renovation of the Blue Room | Roy rejects Paradis’ plans for a hemicycle



(Quebec) The President of the National Assembly, Nathalie Roy, rejects the idea of ​​her predecessor to rearrange the seats in the Blue Room in a semicircle.

“We are going to tell each other the real business. The Blue Room, it is rectangular; a hemicycle is a circle. Fit a circle in a rectangle, not sure, ”she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

The room of the National Assembly – commonly known as the Blue Room – where the deputies have sat since 1886, must be renovated in depth.

The former President of the Assembly, François Paradis, suggested taking advantage of the renovation work to rearrange the seats in a semi-circle, as in France.

The idea was taken up in 2020 by Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette in his parliamentary reform project. He spoke of a “new layout likely to improve the work climate”.

The current seating arrangement in the House is a feature inherited from British parliamentary tradition. It places the government and the “loyal opposition” face to face.

“Me, I think that if we want to keep all our places, the majority of places, it will remain face to face, then we will perhaps round the corners, but there will be no catastrophic change”, affirms Mme Roy.

However, it specifies that “there is no final decision taken”.

“Elected officials will have to choose different plans that will be submitted to them. There is nothing fixed. But a decision will still have to be made fairly quickly, ”she continued.

“We are going to submit sketches to us, what it could look like, and it will be submitted to elected officials. It should happen soon, over the next few months. »

The renovation work on the Blue Room should take place from August 2024 to January 2026, according to the preliminary schedule that had been planned.

During this period, the desks, armchairs and chair of the president will have to be moved to the Red Room, which will host the debates, including the famous question period.

“It’s going to amputate a room for quite a while,” predicted the president in an interview.

The one who was Minister of Culture from 2018 to 2022 claims to have asked that we “ensure that the heritage value, the history, is respected with regard to the repairs and the work that is coming”.

“I was told: ‘Yes, yes, it will be done,'” she said.

The National Assembly refuses to say for the moment what it will do with the current furniture. Some of the MPs’ desks are 135 years old.

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