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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Eighth Canadian Regional Seminar

The 8th Canadian Regional Seminar on Parliamentary Procedure and Practice was held in Ottawa from October 31 November 4, 1982. The seminar brought together some fifty delegates and observers from the House of Commons and the provincial assemblies. The seminar was also attended by two members of the British House of Commons, Peter Fry and Douglas Hoyle, along with Clifford Boulton, Principal Clerk of the Table Office and by two members from Trinidad and Tobago, Basdeo Panday and Shamshuddin Mohammed.

The seminar was opened by Jean Marchand, Speaker of the Senate. Following the opening ceremony an Oxford Union type debate was held on a resolution that "Parliamentary and Legislative Institutions in Canada no longer perform the Functions for Which They were Created." Defending the resolution were Senator Duff Roblin and Gerald Baldwin former House Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. Opposed to it were Roy Romanow, former Attorney General of Saskatchewan and Dr. Victor Goldbloom, a former Minister in the Quebec National Assembly. Presiding over the debate was David Collenette, MP for York East and Chairman of the Seminar. Mr. Collenette said the format was an attempt to return some of the thrust and parry of parliamentary debate which many people claim has been lost over the years. After a spirited and entertaining debate the House divided on the question. The resolution was defeated.

The second sessions dealt with "The Role of the Opposition" with David Payne, MNA from Quebec acting as lead off speaker. Murry Eiston, MPP in Ontario led off the discussion on "Members Access to Information." "Financial Control Over The Executive" was led by James Walding, MLA, Manitoba. "The Positive Role For Backbenchers was opened by George Moody, MLA, Nova Scotia. Waiter Davidson, MLA, British Columbia led off a discussion of whether the voice of the provinces is adequately represented in Ottawa by present institutions.

As is usually the case much useful information was also exchanged during various dinners hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Jeanne Sauv6, the Speaker of the Senate, Jean Marchand, the Chairman of the federal branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Keith Penner and by Mr. Collenette. Many delegates, particularly those with little legislative experience found the meetings most useful. Virtually everyone thought the Oxford Union type debate was a fine way to launch the seminar. The Deputy Speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly Lloyd Muller announced that the 9th seminar will be held next year in Regina.

New Canadian Regional Representative

Canada has a new representative on the International Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The Committee, composed of eighteen members, is responsible for the management of the activities and business of the Association. The Canadian Region is entitled to two representatives, one representing the federal branch and one representing the ten provincial and two territorial branches.

At the 28th CPA Conference in the Bahamas, Keith Penner was elected to succeed Dr. Maurice Foster as federal member on the Executive Committee.

New Speaker in British Columbia

0n September 13 Walter Davidson was elected Speaker of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Mr. Davidson worked as Executive Assistant to the Member of Parliament for Burnaby-Richmond from 1972-1975. He was elected to the British Columbia legislature in 1975 and re-elected in 1979. Mr. Davidson had served as Deputy Speaker since February 1980. He replaces Harvey Schroeder who was named to the Cabinet.

Thomas Russell Montgomery

An honourary member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association passed away at age 90 on October 17, 1982. Thomas Russell Montgomery entered the Public Service at age 19 in 1912 and three years later joined the staff of the House of Commons. He worked his way up through the ranks becoming Clerk Assistant in 1952, a position he held until his retirement in 1965. He was for many years Secretary of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and helped to organize numerous conferences and exchanges. He was made an honorary life member of the Canadian Region in 1968.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 5 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-03-03