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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Twenty-fourth Canadian Regional Conference

The twenty-fourth Canadian Regional Conference was held in Nova Scotia, site of the very first such meeting in 1958.

More than one hundred parliamentarians and observers from every province and territory attended the conference held in Halifax on July 30 and 31 and at Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton National Park, August 13.

Due to the federal general election campaign no members of the House of Commons attended but Parliament was represented by four Senators, Ann Bell, L. Norbert Thériault, Lorne Bonnell, and Richard Donahoe, father of Arthur Donahoe who is Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and host of the Conference. The Legislatures of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom also sent parliamentary observers while staff observers came from Wisconsin, Arizona and the United Kingdom. A noteworthy aspect of the Conference was the attendance of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Sir Robin Vanderfelt, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of CPA, Gerald Ottenheimer, and the Right Honourable Mark Carlisle, MP, Honourary Treasurer of the CPA.

Delegates were welcomed officially to Nova Scotia by the Lieutenant Governor, Alan Abraham who also hosted a reception for them later in the week. Topics on the agenda included: "Party Discipline: A Curse or a Blessing", "The Role of the Provinces in International Affairs", "The Protection of Rights of Visible Minorities", "Deregulation: How Far Should We Go?" and "Censorship versus Free Speech The Impact of the Charter?" Each topic was introduced by a parliamentarian who spoke for about twenty minutes after which there was a general discussion. The openers in the order listed above were: Michel Leduc, MNA, Quebec, James Russell, MHA, Newfoundland, Steve Porter, MLA, New Brunswick, Alan Hyland, MLA, Alberta, and Michael Breaugh, MPP, Ontario. The final session was opened by Sir Robin who brought the attention of delegates to proposals contained in a report entitled The CPA and the Future.

In addition to the business sessions the organizing committee arranged interesting social activities for delegates, spouses and even a children's programme. Among other things these included a traditional lobster supper, hosted by the Premier of Nova Scotia, John Buchanan; a cruise and luncheon on the Bluenose II, and a tour of Louisbourg National Historic Park. By dividing the business sessions in two parts delegates were able to enjoy a free day in Cape Breton where they could register for activities such as deep sea fishing, golf, tennis or hiking. The conference ended with a "Ceildh", an evening of traditional Celtic music, song and dance hosted by Speaker and Mrs. Donahoe.

As Speaker Marion Reid of PEI noted in her closing remarks nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm. The infectious enthusiasm of Speaker Donahoe and every member of the organizing committee, not only assured a great conference but made a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to attend.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 7 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-09-14