| British Columbia
| Northwest Territories
The Spring sitting of the Third
Session of the 21st Legislature ended on July 6, 1988. The end of the sitting,
which began on March 17, 1988, marked the longest uninterrupted sitting of the
Alberta Legislature. The 72-day sitting surpassed the previous record of 67
days set in last year's Spring sitting.
A total of 72 Bills were passed
including the government's new School Act that completely replaced Alberta's
previous school legislation; the Motor Vehicle Administration Amendment Act, 1988,
that increased penalties for impaired driving; and an updated Child Welfare Act
that placed new controls on private adoptions. The Legislature also passed a
new Police Act that addressed the issue of complaints against police conduct,
increased penalties on unpaid parking violations, and strengthened enforcement
measures for traffic offenses.
Four government Bills did not
proceed beyond First Reading: two Metis land settlements Bills, legislation
concerning implementation of the Canada--United States free trade agreement,
and a new Credit Union Act.
Much of the Legislature's attention
was focussed on controversial labour and language Bills. The Employment
Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code, two comprehensive Bills dealing
with all facets of employer-employee relations and unions, were passed by the
Assembly. The Legislature also passed a Languages Act which, in the wake of the
Supreme Court's Mecure decision, established that English would be the language
of legislation in Alberta. It also established that all future laws would be
written in English only. English or French may be used in criminal or civil
court proceedings as well as in the proceedings of the Alberta Legislature.
The Legislature also witnessed the
unprecedented decision by the House to use closure seven times. It was used
once on a Bill that allowed lottery profits to remain outside the General
Revenue Fund. Closure was also moved six times to limit debate at the various
readig stages of both the Labour Relations Code and the Employment Standards
Security at the Legislature became
an issue following an incident in the early morning of October 14. A man, armed
with a rifle, stalked the Legislature grounds for over an hour, firing several
shots. He eventually made his way through the underground pedway system to the
front foyer of the Legislature Building where he was shot and wounded after
exchanging gunfire with police. The situation prompted Solicitor General,
Marvin Moore, to launch a review by an independent council into legislature
security and to increase early morning security at the Legislature.
On October 26 Government House
Leader, Les Young, announced that there would be no Fall Sitting of the
legislature this year.
Huw Williams , Legislative Intern, Alberta Legislative
The Eleventh Legislative Assembly
set another record when its Third Session was prorogued November 8 after
sitting for 20 days, the longest Fall Session to date.
The focus of debate during the
early days of this session was an attempt by some Members to delay appointment
of a new Executive Council member until after the Yellowknife South by-election
October 31, 1988. The by-election became necessary following the resignation of
MLA Ted Richard on his appointment to the Supreme Court of the Northwest
A seat on the Executive Council
also became vacant when Nick Sibbeston, MLA for Nahendeh, resigned as Minister
of Government Services and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. Mr.
Sibbeston now sits as an ordinary member. Despite two motions requesting that
appointment of the new Minister be delayed, Inuvik MLA Tom Butters was
unanimously appointed to fill the vacant Executive Council position on October
During the session, representatives
of the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut, the Dene Nation, the Metis Association
and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation also appeared as witnesses before
Committee of the Whole to protest their lack of involvement in the negotiations
towards he Northern Energy Accord, agreed to in principle by the Territorial
and Federal governments in September.
Following the appearance of these
witnesses, Members approved a motion endorsing the invitation of the Minister
of Energy, Mines and Resources to the aboriginal organizations to participate
on the negotiations team. "This Legislative Assembly wishes to ensure that
the special interests and constitutional rights of the aboriginal peoples are
protected in such negotiations", the motion stated. The motion also asked
that the negotiations team seek consensus on the process for participation and
input in developing the Northwest Territories negotiating position.
A further motion recommended that
the negotiating team "pursue and protect the rights of Inuit residents in
the Hudson Strait regions and enhance the interest and jurisdiction of the
Government of the Northwest Territories in the lands and waters of Hudson Bay
and Hudson Strait during the course of Northern Energy Accord negotiations with
the Federal government".
Also appearing before the Committee
were representatives of Canada Post who discussed the Corporation's future
plans for postal services in the Northwest Territories.
Other motions passed during this
session included: a recommendation that a Public Service Commission be
established by the Government of the Northwest Territories; a recommendation
that the Government consider providing funding for the planning and
implementation of the Sir Alexander Mackenzie 200th anniversary commemorative
canoe pageant from Fort Providence to Inuvik in 1989; a commendation to the
Government of the United States and the people of Barrow, Alaska for their
efforts to save three whales trapped in the ice at Point Barrow; a motion
urging the Government of Canada to ratify the agreement made between the
Premier of Alberta and the Chief of the Lubicon Cree; support for the need for
air transportation services in the Northwest Territories which are reliable,
efficient and reflect prie structures, service frequency and aircraft type that
is acceptable to the public; an additional motion supporting the use of
aboriginal languages for all announcements made on aircraft operating in the
Northwest Territories; a request that the Executive Council investigate the
feasibility of moving the headquarters of Arctic College back to Fort Smith;
and a recommendation to the Executive Council that it consider making day care
services, education capital facilities and housing capital construction
priorities in the 1989/90 budget.
Among the 24 bills receiving assent
were: amendments to the All-Terrain Vehicles Act requiring operators of ATVs on
highways within municipalities to have liability insurance, a certificate of
registration and a licence plate. The bill also states that operators must be
at least 14 years of age, that there cannot be more than two riders and that
each person on the vehicle must wear a helmet; amendments to the Condominium
Act, allowing for condominiums with "bare land" units; the Disease
Registries Act, requiring health care professionals to provide the Registrar of
Disease Registries with information about people they examine, diagnose or
treat in regard to a reportable disease or who undergo a reportable medical
test. The Act establishes registers containing information provided by health
care professionals and provides that the information in the registers is
confidential and may be used only by certain people for specified purposes;
amendments to the Education Act giving the Minister of Education the power to
cancel, suspend or reinstate certificates of qualification; allowing a teacher
whose certificate of qualification is cancelled or suspended the right to
appeal; and, providing for the training of teacher interns; amendments to the
Evidence Act providing that witnesses in civil proceedings cannot be asked
questions about proceedings before medical peer review committees and cannot be
required to produce recrds of such proceedings; the International Sale of Goods
Act, implementing the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the
International Sale of Goods. The Convention provides uniform rules to resolve
disputes between buyers and sellers arising out of international sales
contracts; amendments to the Legal Services Act, providing that agreements with
the federal government may be signed by the Minister and eliminating legal aid
panels made up of only non-residents; amendments to the Legislative Assembly
and Executive Council Act changing the composition of the Management and
Services Board from the Speaker, two ministers and two members to the Speaker,
one minister and three members; and providing that a minister takes an oath of
allegiance and an oath of office before the Commissioner instead of a judge;
the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (Canada-U.K.) Act providing for
reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial
matters between Canada and the United Kingdom; an amendment to the Residential
Tenancies Act decreasing the penalty for late payment of rent; the Victims of Crime
Act establishing a Victims Assistance Committee to promote the needs and
concerns of victims and to promote the provision of services to victims; and,
to establish a Victims Assistance Fund, funded from a surcharge imposed on
persons convicted of an offence, to be used to provide services to victims;
amendments to the Territorial Court Act authorizing appointment of a person to
the Judicial Council who is not a judge of the Supreme Court or the Territorial
Court, a member of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories or a member of
the public services of the Northwest Territories or Canada; the Engineering,
Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, revising the Act to change the
composition of the council and manner of electing and appointing council
members and making other versions to the bylaws of the Association; and, the
Neptune Resourcs Corporation Loan Guarantee Act to assist in the development of
the Colomac Mine near Snare Lake, Northwest Territories.
The Fourth Session will begin
Wednesday, February 8, 1989, Commissioner John Parker announced in proroguing
this session November 8.
Ann Taylor, Public Affairs Officer, Northwest
Territories Legislative Assembly.
During the months of September and
October the following Select Standing Committees conducted public hearings into
matters referred to them during the early part of the Second Session: Labour,
Justice and Intergovernmental Relations (Builders Lien Act) and Finance, Crown
Corporations and Government Services (financial planning and advisory
The Special Committee on Electoral
Boundaries held various meetings from August to November (Preliminary Report of
the Proposed Boundaries for British Columbia Electoral Districts) and is
currently preparing a draft Report which may be tabled in the Legislature when
it next sits.
An analysis of all the data
received by the following Select Standing Committees is being performed for the
benefit of the Members: Forests and Lands (timber harvesting contracts);
Labour, Justice and Intergovernmental Relations; and Finance, Crown
Corporations and Government Services. Some additional research is being
undertaken where issues have surfaced that may not have been adequately
addressed in the submissions the respective Committees have received to date.
Draft committee reports are in the initial stages of preparation subject to
additional information received by each Committee.
E. George MacMinn, Q.C., Deputy
Clerk coordinated the production of the Legislative Assembly's Members'
Handbook. This 90 page looseleaf document provides Members with an explanation
and application of their various benefits; travel; services; indemnity and
allowances; Hansard; Legislative Library; Ombudsman; Auditor General;
Legislative Counsel; Parliamentary practice, including House documents and
Committees; Board of Internal Economy; Legislative Internship programme;
Sergeantat-Arms; and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The appendix
includes an index of telephone numbers of officers and staff of the Assembly
and, in the case for Members, the usual residence, constituency and
parliamentary office addresses.
John Reynolds, Speaker of the
Legislative Assembly commissioned a film entitled "The Assembly: a
demonstration video" earlier this year. The seventeen minute videotape was
produced for Members of the Legislative Assembly and intended as a
"non-partisan educational tool which shows some of the activities of the
House including the Throne Speech, the Question Period, the stages of a Bill
from Introduction to Royal Assent, the roles of the Cabinet, Members and
support staff, the physical facilities, as well as historical background."
The video is also designed to be shown to school groups and community
organizations. The Executive Producers of "The Assembly" were Ian
Izard, Law Clerk and Clerk Assistant and Elaine Dunbar, Administrative Officer
to the Speaker. Copies can be purchased from the Queen's Printer in Victoria.
Craig James, Second Clerk Assistant and Clerk of
Committees, British Columbia Legislative Assembly in Victoria.
The Ontario Legislative Assembly
resumed sitting on October 17, 1988, following a three and a half month
adjournment, in the midst of the federal election campaign.
With the resumption of the House,
the Liberal government of David Peterson proceeded with bills in the House
which are designed to act as passive challenges to the Canada-US Free Trade
Agreement through the legislative assertion of provincial jurisdiction in the
areas of health care, energy and natural resources.
Second reading debate on Bill 147,
An Act respecting Independent Health Facilities, began on November 7. In her
comments to the House, the Minister of Health, Elinor Caplan, pointed out that
"this legislation clearly specifies that in granting licences for
community-based facilities, the ministry will give preference to Canadian and
not-for-profit groups … we have built a national consensus in this county that
health care is not just another commodity to be traded in the
Official Opposition Health Critic
David Reville stated that "this is one of the alleged anti-free-trade
bills that the government of Ontario has tried to bamboozle the citizens of
Ontario into believing is a serious defence of Ontario's interests against the
Mulroney-Reagan free trade deal. I submit that if this is what we are counting
on for our defence, we are in a lot of trouble."
On November 10, the debate on
second reading of Bill 175, An Act respecting transfers of Water, was
commenced. The objective of the bill is to provide authority to the government
of Ontario to prohibit transfer of Ontario's water to other countries,
including the United States. The Minister of Natural Resources, Vince Kerrio,
repeated to the House part of the statement he made when the bill was introduced,
that "This government is concerned that the proposed free trade agreement
places control of Ontario's water at risk. We believe that the failure to
expressly exclude water exports from the agreement opens a door we think ought
to be closed."
Official Opposition Critic Bud
Wildman stated that his party was certainly in favour of that principle, but
that evaluation of the bill shows that "instead of closing the door on
exports of water from this drainage basin to the United States, what the minister's
legislation did was set up a toll-gate. The main purpose of the legislation was
to get revenue into the provincial Treasury for the transfer of water to the
Progressive Conservative Natural
Resources Critic Noble Villeneuve argued that the bill is simply political
posturing on the part of the Ontario government, and noted that many observers
are satisfied that the federal government's implementing legislation, Bill
C-130, addressed the issue of water by including the statement that "Nothing
in this act or agreement except article 401 applies to water". Mr.
Villeneuve noted that article 40 deals with the elimination of tariffs on
traded bottled water.
The third of the so-called
anti-free-trade bills, Bill 168, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act, has
not advanced beyond first reading.
The House debated the motion for
second reading of Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers' Compensation Act, for
seven days; workers' compensation is one of the most controversial public
issues in Ontario, and this was proven once again on October 19 when the bill
was first brought forward for second reading. Hundreds of injured workers
marched on Queen's Park to rally for fairness and equity in the workers'
compensation system. In a development that later garnered headlines in the
papers and leads in the evening news, many of the workers entered the
Legislative Building and approached the front entrance of the Legislative
Chamber while the House was meeting. Security forces attempted to control the
crowd, and New Democratic Party Leader Bob Rae left the Chamber and spoke to
the crowd, urging orderliness and respect for the precincts, and succeeded in
calming the injured workers and getting them to agree to leave the building
peacefully. The Standing Committee on Resources Development will be conducting
public hearings on the bill in early 1989.
On November 1, Speaker Hugh
Edighoffer tabled in the House the memorandum of understanding negotiated
between himself and the Minister of Government Services, Richard Patten,
transferring service responsibilities for the Legislature from the Ministry to
the Office of the Assembly. This development, the successful completion of a
recommendation from the Standing Committee on Procedural Affairs, now gives the
Speaker full jurisdiction over the Legislative Precincts and the task of
providing services to all legislative offices.
A new Deputy Chairman of Committees
of the Whole House was appointed to replace Marietta Roberts, who was elected
Chairman of the Government Caucus. Michael C. Ray was nominated by the
Government House Leader to replace Mss Roberts, in a development that produced
one of the most rancorous debated in the House in some time. Upon moving the
motion for the appointment of Mr. Ray to replace Miss Roberts for the duration
of the Session, the Government House Leader, Sean Conway, faced a storm of
protest from the opposition parties. The opposition emphasized that they had no
concern about the nominee, Mr. Ray, but rather with the manner in which the
House was being asked to make the appointment, and felt that, at the very
least, the should have been consulted on the nominee and given more notice of
the government's intention to proceed with a motion for the appointment, even
if they do not have the numbers to defeat an appointment.
The Opposition House Leader, David
S. Cooke, moved an amendment to the motion to provide for the referral of the
circumstances of this appointment, and future appointments of Officers of the
House, to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
After two days' debate in the House
Mr. Cooke's amendment was defeated, the motion passed, and Mr. Ray was
appointed Deputy Chairman of the Committees of the Whole House.
The three and a half month summer adjournment
provided ample opportunity for many of the committees to maintain full and busy
The Standing Committee on Resources
Development, chaired by Floyd Laughren, held three weeks of public hearings on
Bill 87, An Act to amend the Ontario Highway Transport Board Act, and Bill 88,
An Act to regulated Truck Transportation, and reported the bills back to the
House. The Bills now await third reading.
In September, the Standing
Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, chaired by David R. Cooke, travelled
to Paris to meet with officials of the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development, to Brussels to meet with officials of the European Economic
Community and to Geneva to meet with officials of the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade as part of its review of bilateral and multilateral trder
matters. The Committee subsequently released a two volume report on the
Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and its observations from its European trip.
The Standing Committee on the
Legislative Assembly, chaired by Herb Epp, met to consider amendments to the
Legislative Assembly Act with respect to service of civil process in the
legislative precincts. As a result of these meetings, the Chairman introduced a
bill for introduction and first reading when the House resumed in October which
would regulate the service of civil process in the legislative precincts. It is
expected that the Bill 181 will be debated for second reading early in
December. The Committee also considered a report from the Chief Election
Officer of Ontario concerning amendments to the Election Act and election
procedures. The Committee subsequently presented a report to the House
recommending that it be authorized to conduct a comprehensive review of the
Chief Election Officer's report and other areas related to the election
The Committee continued its review
of food and beverage services operations at the Legislature and travelled to
Quebec City and Ottawa to review the food services operations at the
legislatures in those two cities. In October, the Committee met in Fredericton
with members of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick and representatives
of the two opposition parties to discuss the operation of a legislature where
only one party is represented. The Sub-Committee on Agenda and Procedure met
with the Speaker and senior officials of the House on five occasions during
August, September and October to discuss the process for the restoration of the
Parliament Building. Once members of the Sub-Committee have met with the three
Party Leaders, it is expected that the Committee will make a report to the
House in the Fall.
Since the resumption of the
Legislature, the Committee has dealt principally with members' services issues
such as the expanded use of the ONT PARL satellite transponder by the Wawatay
NativeCommunications Society, the provision of mail service to the Legislative
Assembly, and security involving the Legislative Building.
The Standing Committee on the
Ombudsman, chaired by Cindy Nicholas, held hearings on proposals to expand the
jurisdiction of the Ombudsman to public hospitals, childrens' aid societies and
the Ontario New Home Warranty Program (HUDAC). As part of this review, the
Committee travelled to Fredericton and Winnipeg to meet with Ombudsmen and legislators
in those provinces. A Sub-Committee of the Committee travelled to Canberra,
Australia to attend the fourth International Ombudsman's Conference.
The Select Committee on Energy,
chaired by Doug Carrothers, met to consider Ontario Hydro's draft Demand/Supply
Planning Strategy. The Committee heard evidence from experts in the energy
field and from concerned groups and individuals. The Committee hopes to present
its report to the House sometime this Winter.
The Select Committee on Education,
chaired by Dianne Poole, held hearings on the philosophy and goals of the
education system in Ontario and on streaming, semestering, grade promotion and
Ontario Schools: Intermediate and Secondary. The Committee expects to present
its report sometime in December.
The Standing Committee on
Government Agencies, chaired by Allan McLean, met in August and September to
review the operation of three agencies: the Ontario Advisory Council on
Occupational Health and Occupational Safety; the Ontario Waste Management Corporation;
and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. The latter review included travel to Old
Fort Henry, Upper Canada Village, and other museums, parks and scenic highways
operated by the Parks Commission. The Committee will complete its Report in
Todd Decker, Committee Clerk, Legislative Assembly of
Ontario, CPA Activities: The Canadian Scene