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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Making the Case in Washington

In 1983 the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association established a program enrichment fund to sponsor special projects which foster the aims and objectives of the association. The following year the Executive approved a federal proposal for a seminar entitled "Making the Case in Washington." The seminar was held from September 17-19, 1985. Seventeen MLAs representing Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories attended.

The first guest speaker was Walter Kravitz author of many books and articles on the American Congress. He gave an overview of the differences between the parliamentary and congressional systems pointing out different assumptions upon which each is based and the way similar words such as "political party" or "government" have different meaning in each system. He emphasized the degree to which power is shared in the United States and the difficulties this poses for anyone trying to influence policy in that country.

The next speaker, Matthew Abrams, president of CANAMCO described what lobbying means, what forms it takes and who are some of the most influential persons in the American political process.

A former Canadian Desk Officer with the Department of State, Ed Nef, spoke about different forms of lobbying and the importance of the private sector in lobbying for Canadian interests. He noted how difficult it was to measure the effectiveness of lobbying.

The next morning was spent at the Canadian Embassy where delegates heard from counsellors James Judd, John Fieldhouse, Pierre Gosselin, and Bruce Jutzi about a variety of Canadian-American issues including how the Embassy approaches Congress, the Public Relations program of the Embassy, and various bilateral issues including trade an acid rain. An overview of the current state of Canadian-American relations was provided by Jacques Roy, Deputy Head of Mission.

In the afternoon delegates visited Congress where they heard three Representatives, Les Aucoin (Democrat-Oregon), George O'Brien (Republican-Illinois) and John McKernan Jr. (Republican-Maine) and one former Representative James O'Hara. They described the high protectionist sentiments in Congress and pointed out some of the underlying political and electoral reasons. Another former Representative, Edward J. Derwinski, who is presently a counsellor in the Department of State described the relationship between the State Department and Congress as far as Canadian issues are concerned.

The final day of the seminar began with a meeting with Robert Herzstein an attorney who argued the Canadian side in the softwood lumber case. The case illustrated many points made by previous speakers about the complexity of the decision-making process in the United States.

The last item on the program was a briefing from the Canadian Ambassador in Washington, Allan Gotlieb. His presentation left members with a clearer appreciation of the difficult task faced by those charged with representing Canadian interests be they federal, provincial or private.

Perhaps the major lesson to be drawn from the seminar is that Canadians are unlikely to win an argument with the United States unless we can convince them that our policies are in their own best interests.

Arrangements for the seminar were made by the Centre for Legislative Exchange in Ottawa. Both the Director of the Centre Barbara Reynolds and the Washington Representative Jo Oberstar did everything in their power to make it a most enlightening experience for all who attended.

The new Secretary-General of CPA

The Hon. David Tonkin, former Premier of South Australia, has been chosen to succeed Sir Robin Vanderfelt, as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Sir Robin retires next year after serving as Secretary-General since 1961.

Dr. Tonkin was the unanimous choice of a Selection Board which interviewed candidates from throughout the Commonwealth. The nomination of Dr. Tonkin has been endorsed by the full Executive Committee and by the General Assembly at its meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in October 1985.

Dr. Tonkin served as Premier of South Australia from 1979 to 1982, and was a member of the South Australia House of Assembly from 1970 to 1983. He is a practising Ophthalmologist and Consultant in Health Management.

New Lieutenant Governor in Ontario

On September 20 Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, Q.C., P.C., was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, succeeding John Black Aird. Mr. Alexander was a Progressive Conservative M.P. for twelve years from 1968, and served as federal Minister of Labour in 1979. Since then, he had served as Chairman of Ontario's Workers' Compensation Board. Known for his friendly, informal ("call me Linc") bearing of the mantel of office, Mr. Alexander was a popular choice to represent the Queen in Ontario.

A native of Toronto, Mr. Lincoln is 63 years old. He served for three years with the RCAF during the war before attending law school and entering practice in Hamilton.

New Clerk Assistant, NWT

Henry Zoe was appointed Clerk Assistant of the Legislative Assembly of the NWT, effective September 30. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Zoe had been Secretary Manager of the hamlet of Rae-Edzo, NWT since 1980 and, before that, was the hamlet's Assistant Secretary Manager and Clerk for four years. He recently received the award of the NWT Association of Municipal Administrators as the outstanding municipal administrator in the NWT for 1985. Mr. Zoe, 26, was educated in Rae-Edzo, NWT and La Loche, Prince Albert and Saskatoon, Sask. In his new position, he replaces the previous Clerk Assistant Albert Canadien who resigned earlier this summer.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 8 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-03-03