First Canadian Conference of Presiding
The Alberta branch hosted the first
Conference of Presiding Officers held in Edmonton February 5-8, 1984. The
concept of an annual meeting of Canadian Speakers was recommended by the task
force on CPA and adopted by the Canadian Regional Council last spring. Speaker
Gerard Amerongen of Alberta offered to host the first conference. Alberta
invited the Speakers, Deputy Speakers and Clerks from the House of Commons.
Senate, the ten provinces and two territories. All Canadian parliaments were
represented except Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.
The conference was officially opened in the
Legislative Chamber on February 6, 1984 by Lieutenant Governor Frank
Lynch-Staunton. After brief welcoming remarks, the conference moved to
Government House for the panel discussions.
Keith Penner. M.P. and Newfoundland Speaker
Jim Russell, led the first discussion on the Oral Question Period. This
discussion centered on the role of the Speaker, the number of supplementary questions
that should be allowed and ways of curbing the practice of having mini-debates
instead 3t brief questions and answers.
Mr. Penner opened the second panel
discussion on the Rule of Relevance and Repetition. He noted that the purpose
of the rule on repetition is to help members come to a decision once all of the
arguments have been fully presented but without needless repetition. While
thorough debate with some emphasis on a theme is important, it is the role of
the Chair to eliminate needless repetition. The rules on relevance and
repetition are intermeshed both help members use their time effectively for an
orderly dispatch of business balanced with the rights of the minority to be
heard. The Chair has to judge the mood of the House and use the rules when he
Terry Jones, Deputy Speaker of the Ontario
Legislative Assembly, led the discussion on media relations. The Speaker is
often caught between the members who want publicity and the media who are
trying to catch the story. The presiding officers also compared notes on
legislatures which allow the television personnel into the Chamber and
legislatures with in-House systems.
Speaker Amerongen led the discussion on the
effect of the Charter of Rights; on the role of Parliament. The debate centered
on the reduction of the power and role of the Canadian provincial legislatures
due to the charter, The struggle seems to be on two fronts: between federal and
provincial parliaments over the power of taxation and between the courts and
the provincial legislatures on who determines the law the elected legislators
or the federally appointed judges. This topic was one of the most hotly debated
subjects but lead to a genera! consensus that Speakers and Clerks are entrusted
with the duty to restore and' preserve parliaments role and effectiveness.
Speaker Herb Swan opened the discussion, on
members services Each presiding officer outlined the services that are provided
to members in their respective jurisdiction. The increasing role for a Board of
Internal Economy or Members Services Committee was noted and encouraged by
Richard Guay, Speaker of the Quebec National
Assembly led the discussion on the role of Speakers in Parliamentary Reform. In
doing so, he outlined proposed reforms that: are now before the National
Assembly. Even though procedural reform depends upon support from the members,
initiatives should and can come from the Speaker.
Speaker Amerongen led the discussion on the
independence of the Speakership. He outlined the position of the British
Speaker and his re-election as an independent. In Canada Speakers still seek
re-election as members of political parties. The feeling was that in general
most members appreciate that a Speaker is still a political being and must, maintain
some political links in order tie be re-elected. Even with these political
links, he still can be fair and impartial while in the Chair.
C.B. Koester. Clerk of the House of Commons
opened the session on security. He outlined the role that the Speaker plays in
Ottawa in protecting the members and the building while trying to permit full
public access to their elected members. Speakers across Canada share a concern
about security. Speaker Marion Reid of Prince Edward Island explained that in
her House, "security in the galleries is not a problem: on the island, all
members recognize and know everyone." A stranger is easily recognized.
During the last afternoon, the Speakers met
to discuss their roles during elections; the Deputy Speakers met separately to
compare notes on chairing Committees of the Whole House, and the Clerks toured
the new word processor system which the Alberta Legislative Assembly Office is
Speaker Amerongen was a gracious host for
the seminar and for the evening dinners. He and the Alberta Branch are to be
complimented on their organization and warm western hospitality. Judging by the
reaction of all Speakers, Deputy Speakers and Clerks assembled, the conference
was a success and will indeed become an annual event.
Saskatchewan to Host the 31st General
The Saskatchewan Branch of the Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association will host the 31st General Conference in 1985. This
is the fourth time since 1948 the International Conference will take place in
Canada but the first time it will be hosted by a provincial branch. Some 300
delegates from all parts of the Commonwealth are expected to participate in the
sessions and tours which will last from October 2-13, 1985.
Accountability Session Federal Branch
Or February 14, 1984 some thirty-five
members of the federal branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
attended the annual luncheon and "accountability session". The
purpose of the session. chaired by Lloyd Crouse, Vice-President of the federal
branch. was to listen to reports from delegates who attended CPA functions
during the past year.
Canadian Regional Representatives, Keith
Penner reported on the Atlantic Parliamentary Seminar in St. John s, the
Canadian Regional Council meeting in Ottawa, the parliamentary delegation to
Malaysia, as well as the 29th General Conference in Kenya. Maurice Foster, who
replaced Mr, Penner at the CPA Executive meeting in Singapore reported on that
The two main Canadian regional activities,
the 23rd conference held in Winnipeg and the 9th seminar in Saskatchewan were
the subject of reports by Stan Darling and John MacDougall respectively. Bryce
Mackasey reported on his attendance at an ASEAN conference in Manila and
recommended that the Association continue to send representatives to these
Parliamentary relations with the United
Kingdom were the subject of some discussion at the meeting. John Evans and
Gordon Taylor reported on their extremely valuable experience attending the
annual CPA seminar on Parliamentary Procedure held in London. Maurice Harquail
and Tom McMillan informed members about the useful information acquired during
their parliamentary visit to Westminster. On the other hand James McGrath
reported that his subcommittee, mandated to explore the possibility of
establishing a Canada-United Kingdom Parliamentary Group (similar to those
existing between Canada and other countries) had been unsuccessful. While
British members were favourable to the idea, he said he had found considerably
less enthusiasm at the level of the secretariat who seemed to prefer that such
exchanges continue on an ad hoc basis.
The Canadian Region of CPA lost one of its
best friends with the passing of Allister Grosart on February 6. 1984 Best
known as the person who organized the Progressive Conservative electoral
victories of 1957 and 1958. Mr. Grosart was a member of the Senate from 1962
until his retirement in 1981. He was Speaker of the Upper House in 1979.
He was in the words of Senator Royce Frith,
"a staunch expert and sensitive parliamentarian: a supporter of the
parliamentary system, a supporter of the Commonwealth; and a supporter of free
governments and their institutions".
Senator Grosart was Vice-Chairman and
Chairman of the federal branch from 1966 to 1975 and later represented Canada
on CPA s International Executive Committee. His greatest contribution to the
Canadian Region was as chairman of a special committee which was instrumental
in establishing the basis for the present organization. Among other things it
recommended a written constitution, rules for annual conferences, establishment
of parliamentary seminars and a cost-sharing arrangement among the provinces
These and other recommendations of the committee were accepted in 1975.
New Speakers for the Senate and House of
Following the resignation of Jean Marchand
to become President of the Canadian Transportation Commission and Jeanne Sauvé
who was named Canada's next Governor General both the Senate and the House of
Commons find themselves with new Speakers for the remaining months of the 32nd
On December 16, 1983 Senator Maurice Riel
became the thirty-seventh person to occupy the Speaker's chair in the Upper
House. A lawyer, Senator Riel was summoned to the Senate in 1973. He was
co-chairman of the Special Joint Committee on immigration policy during the
30th Parliament and has served on various Senate committees including
Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Senator Riel
can claim descent from one of Canada's most celebrated rebels, Louis Riel.
Exactly one month later, the members of the
House of Commons elected Lloyd Francis Speaker of the House. First elected for
Ottawa West in 1963 he has an unusual record for being defeated in 1965,
re-elected in 1968, defeated in 1972, re-elected in 1974, defeated in 1979 and
re-elected in 1980. He has held various parliamentary offices including Chief
Government Whip, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veteran Affairs,
Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and since 1980
has served as Deputy Speaker of the House.
Speaker Francis holds a doctorate in
Economics from the University of Wisconsin. During the war he served with the R.C.A.F.
as a navigation instructor and air navigator. Before his election to the House
Mr. Francis was active in municipal politics.
Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia
On December 23 Prime Minister Trudeau
announced the appointment of Alan R. Abraham as 28th Lieutenant Governor of
Nova Scotia. Mr. Abraham, 53, is a graduate of Saint Mary's University in
Halifax. He was building inspector for the City of Halifax from 1957 to 1965,
later entering the business community and eventually buying Maritime Warehouse
and Transfer Co. Ltd. In 1974, he became president of the Canadian Association
Mr. Abraham is president of the Bill Lynch
Memorial Fund, a past president of the Better Business Bureau (Maritimes) Inc.,
former director of Izaak Nalton Killam Hospital for Children and Abbie Lane
Memorial Hospital. He has also been active in Liberal politics serving as Nova
Scotia chairman of the Paul Hellyer leadership campaign in 1968. Elected
president of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party in 1976,he chaired the party's 1980
provincial leadership convention, resigning the presidency in 1981.