Fourth Annual Canadian Presiding
Officers` Conference Winnipeg Manitoba
Speaker Myrna Phillips of
Manitoba was host to the fourth annual conference of presiding officers held in
Winnipeg from January 30 - February 1, 1987. Some nineteen Speakers, Deputy
Speakers and one Speaker designate attended the conference along with several
Clerks and other observers.
The topics on the agenda included
parliamentary privilege, points of order, oral question period, decorum,
language and speech content, and the ceremonial and procedural role of the
The first session featured a
special guest, Joe Maingot, former Law Clerk of the House of Commons and
presently with the Law Reform Commission of Canada. He spoke on the question of
parliamentary privileges and immunities, a subject of particular interest to
Unlike the adversarial nature of
many federal-provincial meetings, these conferences provide a valuable forum
for members of an unique profession to discuss common problems with their
During the course of the meeting a
number of thoughtful questions and comments were raised by various Speakers.
For example: Has question period evolved from its original purpose as an
accountability session into a training ground for ministers and now with
television, into something little more than a "killing ground" having
little resemblance to the original purpose for which it was introduced? The
Speakers also discussed possible approaches to the problem of a lack of
understanding of parliamentary procedure among parliamentarians and the population
There was an interesting discussion
on whether, in the long run, it is better to retain order by refusing to
recognise disorderly members rather than expelling them and giving more
publicity to their actions. The point was made several times that there are
significant differences in what a Speaker can do in a large Assembly like the
House of Commons and in smaller ones like many of the provincial ones.
Nevertheless there was general agreement that what goes on in the House of
Commons affects the behaviour of members in the provinces.
In keeping with the informal and
frank nature of the discussions no verbatim transcript of the conference was
kept. The serious nature of the discussions can be inferred from the
willingness of so many busy individuals to take a week-end out of 'their
schedule to come to Winnipeg in mid winter to consider the nature and problems
of the Speakership. Speaker Phillips and her staff did everything possible to
make it a most enjoyable two days.
On December 3, 1986, Arnold Tusa
was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Saskatchewan replacing Herb
Swan who was named to the cabinet Mr. Tusa, 46, was born at Cupar, Saskatchewan
and is now farming in the community. He holds a Bachelor of Education Degree
from the University of Saskatchewan and taught school in his constituency prior
to his election to the Assembly in 1982.
In British Columbia the new Speaker
is John Reynolds. A business man, Mr. Reynolds was first elected to the
House of Commons in 1972. He served actively on a number of committees
including Health and Welfare, Housing, Sport and Fitness, Transportation, and
justice and Legal Affairs. He was appointed to the shadow cabinet by both Robert
Stanfield in 1974 and Joe Clark in 1976.
After leaving federal politics he
was elected to the British Columbia Legislature in 1983. He was chairman of the
Agriculture Committee, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human
Resources and later Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.
Appointments and Retirements
A former provincial cabinet
minister, Dr. George Johnson, has been appointed Lieutenant-Governor in
Manitoba. Born in Winnipeg in 1920, Dr. Johnson attended the University of
Manitoba. He served in the Navy from 1941 to 1945 and for many years carried on
a general medical practice in Gimli, Manitoba. First elected to the Legislative
Assembly in 1958, he served as Minister of Health and later Minister of
Education before returning to private practice in 1969. In 1978 he became Chief
Medical Consultant to the Health Department with the rank of Associate Deputy
In Nova Scotia the Speaker of the
Legislative Assembly, Arthur Donahoe, announced the appointment of a new
Clerk, Roderick MacArthur, and Assistant Clerk Cherry Fergusson.
Mr. MacArthur is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the
Nova Scotia Bar in 1974. He has practised law in Armapolis Royal since that
time. He is Solicitor for the town of Annapolis Royal and the Annapolis Royal
Development Corporation. A member of the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission he
serves on the Board of Big Brothers of Annapolis County.
Ms. Ferguson is a native of Pictou,
Nova Scotia and a graduate of Mount Allison University and Dalhousie Law
School. She holds a Masters of Law Degree from Case Western Reserve University
in Cleveland and was the recipient of several academic awards and scholarships.
Admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1973 she was General Counsel and Corporate
Secretary of Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Limited. She is a member of the Board
of Directors of the Dalhousie Alumni Association and a lecturer in Law-Medicine
at Dalhousie University Medical School.
The British Columbia Legislature
also has a new Clerk Assistant. He is Craig James, formerly Clerk
Assistant with the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly. A native Saskatchewan, he
studied at the University of Regina and received a Master of Library Science
from the University of Wales. Mr. James served in the Saskatchewan Legislative
Library prior to joining the Table as Clerk Assistant. He has been Secretary to
the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committee.
The Nova Scotia House of Assembly
noted the retirement of its Clerk, Dr. Henry Muggah. He had served for many
years with the Attorney General's Office where he was a ... legislative
draftsman. He retired in 1972 but soon took up a part time position with the
Council of Maritime Premiers. He was hired as Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
and soon became well known and liked by Nova Scotia legislators and fellow
Clerks across Canada. Dr. Muggah was the first Chairman of the Editorial Board
of the Canadian Parliamentary Review.
In Alberta the Speaker of the
Legislative Assembly Dr. David Carter, announced a reorganisation of the
Legislative Assembly Office. He noted that he had received the resignations of Bohdan
Stefaniuk as Clerk and Robert Bubba as Clerk Assistant along with
that of the Director of Administration. Speaker Carter said "none of the
resignations reflect upon the conscientiousness or integrity of these
gentlemen. We thank them for their past service and wish them well in their