13th Canadian Regional
The Thirteenth Canadian Regional
Seminar was held in Vancouver, British Columbia from Thursday, November 17
through Saturday, November 19, 1988. The host was John Reynolds, Speaker
of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly.
David C. Lam, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
opened the Seminar by remarking upon the need for parliamentarians to gather
under the auspices of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Not only do
Members gain an insight into parliamentary practice and traditions in other
jurisdictions but a clearer understanding of issues confronting each
parliamentarian is developed. John Fraser, Speaker of the House of
Commons in Ottawa and Art Donahoe, Speaker of the Nova Scotia
Legislative Assembly, and Speaker Reynolds were the panellists for the First
Plenary Session: Issues Facing Mr. Speaker at Election Time.
The views expressed provoked a
lively debate among the delegates particularly in light of the Canadian General
Election to be held a few days later. It was generally agreed that the approach
taken by the Speaker of the House of Commons had immense merit given the nature
of the office.
The Second Plenary Session
consisted of a panel chaired by Arnold Tusa, Speaker of the Legislative
Assembly of Saskatchewan and David Smith, MPP (Ontario) and Jean Joly,
MNA (Quebec). They discussed the need for adequate compensation, especially in
recognising the role of the constituency office, for all parliamentarians.
There was no disagreement that disparities existed between each jurisdiction
and that a more concerted effort should be made to, at the very least, monitor
the Member's funding levels in a realistic manner.
The Third Plenary Session: The
Future of Bicameralism in Canada after the Meech Lake Accord chaired by Denis
Rocan, Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly had as its panellists
Senator Gerald Beaudoin (Ottawa) and David J. Carter, Speaker of the
Alberta Legislative Assembly. The discussion revolved around the need for
Senate reform. The participants suggested many different ways to modify the
Senate to reflect the interests of all regions of Canada.
The final Plenary Session dealt
with Time Allocation in Debate. The ensuing discussion concentrated primarily
upon Question Period as a consequence of time allocation. The panel consisted
of Red Peterson, Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative
Assembly, Pierre Lorrain, Speaker of the Quebec National Assembly, Keith
Penner,MP and Dianne Cunningham, MPP, (Ontario).
Seminar on Canada and US
During the first week of October,
eleven legislators from six provinces participated in a seminar "Special
Features of the US Political System". The seminar was organised for the
Canadian Region of CPA by the Centre for Legislative Exchange. In addition to
illustrating what the separation of powers means in terms of the policy-making
process, this seminar focussed on four important features of the US political
system quite different from Canadian practice: the organisation of elections,
party leadership and discipline, the role of caucuses and the role of political
action committees in election financing.
In the opening session, Catherine
Rudder, Executive Director of the American Political Science Association,
outlined the dynamics of the congressional system and contrasted them with the
parliamentary system. The group then travelled to Capitol Hill where
Congressman Beryl Anthony Jr. described the role of political parties
and the methods for selecting candidates. Robert Okun, Executive
Director of the Republican Policy Committee concluded the first day with a
discussion of the role of leadership for the minority party in Congress.
Day two began with a briefing by
Canadian Embassy officials on current Canada/US relations. Then, Robert
Barrie, Manager of Federal Legislation Relations Operation of the General
Electric Company, spoke about the development of political action committees in
the United States. Later, two members of the Northeast/Midwest Congressional
Coalition, Congressman Howard Wolpe and Congresswoman Claudine Schneider
described how their special caucus operated and contrasted it with some of the
other congressional caucuses. The federal election law was outlined by Carolyn
Oliphant, former Special Assistant General Counsel for the Federal
Elections Commission. House Majority Leader Thomas Foley took time from
a busy schedule on the floor to provide several humorous anecdotes about the
role of party leadership and party discipline in Congress. The day ended after
a meeting with Christopher Bowman, Director of Political Operations for
the Republic National Committee and his counterpart, Tom O'Donnell,
Deputy Director for Politics, Democratic Congressional Campaign.
New Table Officers in Manitoba
Janet Summers began sitting at the Table during
Manitoba's short first session in 1988 (February 11 to March 9). As well as
serving as Clerk of several Standing Committees of Manitoba's Legislative Assembly
(Law Amendments, Municipal Affairs, Public Accounts, Public Utilities &
Natural Resources, and Rules of the House), Janet oversees the administration
of MLA allowances for constituency, access, mailing and printing expenditures.
She joined the staff of the Clerk's Office in November of 1986.
Bonnie Greschuk joined the Table at the start of the
current session (July 21). She is the Clerk of the following Committees:
Agriculture, Economic Development, Industrial Relations, Private Bills,
Privileges & Elections, and Statutory Regulations & Orders. As well,
Bonnie is the financial administrative officer for all offices of the Assembly.
She joined the Clerk's Office staff in May of this year.
Eighth Annual Meeting Canadian
Association of Sergeants-at-Arms
Leo McNulty, Sergeant-at-Arms of
the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly was host to the Eighth Annual Meeting of
the Canadian Association of Sergeants-at-Arms held in Fredericton from August
16 through August 19, 1988.
Attending the three-day conference along
with Sergeants-at-Arms from the various provincial legislatures and the Senate
was Peter Jennings, Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms of the British Parliament in
During the three-day conference,
the delegates attended lectures on the history of the Legislative Assembly and
the Legislative Library and participated in four working sessions covering such
topics as employment of sessional staff, detection of drug abuse in the
workplace and New Brunswick's first legislature without an official opposition.
The last day of the conference saw
the election of Thomas Stelling, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Ontario Legislature,
as the new President of the Association.
The informal nature of the
discussions, the generous hospitality of Sergeant-at-Arms McNulty, and the excellent
presentations made for a most successful conference.