Recent seminars in Washington
Environmental issues are very much on
the mind of the average citizen and on September 26-28, 1989, thirteen
provincial and territorial legislators from seven jurisdictions attended a CPA
sponsored seminar on Environmental Issues held in Washington, D.C.
Those attending included John
Cashore and James Rabbitt, (British Columbia); Stan Schumacher
and Halvar Jonson, (Alberta); Dwain Lingenfelter and Jack
Wolfe, (Saskatchewan); Joan Fawcett and Margaret Marland,
(Ontario); Derrick Kimball and Vincent McLean, (Nova Scotia); Richard
Nerysoo, (Northwest Territories); and John Crane and Kevin
The seminar opened with a
comparison of the congressional and parliamentary systems by Catherine
Rudder, Executive Director of the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Rudder emphasized the multi-dimensional nature of the American political
process using examples relating to Clean Air Legislation currently before
The delegates were then briefed by
several policy specialists from the US Congressional Research Service led by John
Moore, Chief of the Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Division.
They then visited the State Department for a meeting with Andrew Sens,
Director of the Office of Environmental Protection in the Bureau of Oceans and
International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
The next day the legislators met
with several officials at the Canadian Embassy in Ottawa including Gail
Tyerman, Counsellor for Federal- Provincial Relations, Michael Kergin
and Ross Glasgow.
After attending a press conference by
the World Resources Institute to demonstrate a Mercedes-Benz hydrogen propelled
vehicle, they proceeded to the Capitol for a very informative meeting with Mike
Totten, Legislative Assistant to Representative Claudine Schneider,
sponsor of one of the many environmental bills currently under study. Mr.
Totten argued that relatively simple measures, such as moving to energy
efficient light bulbs, could produce tremendous savings for the entire economy.
At lunch the delegates had an
opportunity to exchange views with representatives of two environmental groups,
Doug Mulhall of Greenpeace; and Carol Werner and Patricia
Weymond of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.
The afternoon was spent at the
Environmental Protection Agency which has primary responsibility for the
environment in the US.
The final day was also spent on
Capitol Hill beginning with a briefing from Richard Pfohl, Legislative
Assistant to Representative Gerry Sikorski and Carol Andras of the
Northeast/Midwest Congressional Research Institute. They confirmed what other
speakers had said about increasing interest in environmental concerns on the
part of American legislators.
Perhaps the highlight of the
conference was the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Senate Environmental
Protection Subcommittee chaired by Senator Max Baucus. The committee was
looking at the question of auto emission standards and heard testimony from
representatives of the automobile manufacturers and environmentalists. Canadian
legislators had an opportunity to compare their own committee proceedings with
that of the Senate.
The seminar concluded with a lunch
featuring guest speaker Richard Goodstein, of Browning-Ferris
The seminar was organized for the Canadian
Region of CPA by Jo Oberstar and Barbara Reynolds of the Centre
for Legislative Exchange.
From November 16 to 19 the
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories hosted the 14th Canadian
Regional Seminar. The seminar brought together some forty delegates and
observers for two days of discussion of areas of mutual interest.
The first session consisted of an
"Update on Parliamentary Reform" in different jurisdictions. The lead
speakers were Sam Cureatz of the Ontario Legislative Assembly and Al
Mosher of Nova Scotia.
The Implications of an `Alberta
Style' Elected Senate was the subject of another session. The lead-off speakers
were Jerry Doyle of Alberta and Girve Fretz Chairman of the
Canadian section of CPA.
The session dealt on provincehood
for Canadas northern territories provoked a good deal of comment. The lead
speakers were Richard Nerysoo of the host branch and Don Boudria of
the House of Commons. A copy of the presentation by Speaker Nerysoo appears
elsewhere in this issue.
Ian Izard, law Clerk of the British Columbia
Legislative Assembly spoke about recent changes in British Columbia electoral
law resulting from recent court decisions. His presentation is also published
in this issue. Alan Nordling of the Yukon discussed residency requirements
and other issues arising from charter cases in that jurisdiction.
The session on the Environment and
the Private Member had three lead speakers Jerry Storie of Manitoba, Lloyd
Snow of Newfoundland, and Kim Trew of Saskatchewan. Following a very
interesting discussion where there was obvious concern on the part of delegates
about what they could do to increase public consciousness about environmental
problems Mr. Trew moved the following motion:
That the Yellowknife Territories
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar recommend an all party
environmental action committee be set up to disseminate environmental
information amongst all CPA members in Canada and beyond wherever useful.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Snow
and adopted unanimously.
Aside from the business session
delegates were treated to typical northern hospitality including an afternoon
of dog-sled races. Appropriately enough the first prize trophy went to the
Clerk Assistant of the Yukon, Missy Follwell, and co-sledder Smirle
Forsythe of Ontario while an all NWT entry finished a few seconds behind.
The Speaker of the Assembly and his
staff headed by David Hamilton spared no effort to make sure that
everyones visit to the north was as memorable one.
Richard Nerysoo was elected as Speaker of the Eleventh
Legislative Assembly in October, 1989. He is the first aboriginal person to
serve in this capacity having previously had the distinction of being the first
aboriginal person and the youngest member to serve as Government Leader.
Born at a camp on the Peel River
near Fort MacPherson in 1953, Mr. Nerysoo was educated in Fort MacPherson,
Inuvik and Whitehorse.
First elected in 1979, he was
re-elected in 1983 and again in 1987. He was chosen as Government Leader and
Minister of Justice and Public Services in 1983, at the start of his second
term. In his first term, Mr. Nerysoo gained experience as Minister of Renewable
Resources and of the Energy and Resource Development Secretariat, as well as
Chairman of the House Planning and Legislation Committee.
From 1985 to 1987, he chaired the
Standing Committee on Finance and was also a vice-president for the Mackenzie
Delta Regional and Tribal Council. During the following two years, he was a
negotiator for the Dene Métis land claim on the issue of self-government. From
1988-1989, he served as chairman of Ajautit, the ordinary Members' Committee.
At the time of his election to the Speakership, he was also a member of the
Standing Committee on Finance, the Management and Services Board, and an
alternate member of the Special Committee on the Northern Economy.
From 1975-1976, prior to his
election as an MLA, Mr. Nerysoo was vice-president of the NWT Indian
Brotherhood (now the Dene Nation), and then worked for the territorial
government for a year. He was later a vice-president of the Dene Nation
representing the Mackenzie Delta region.
The new President of the Quebec
National Assembly is Jean-Pierre Saintonge who was one of two
vice-presidents in the previous legislature.
Elected for the first time in 1981,
Mr. Saintonge is beginning his third term as a member of the National Assembly.
Initially he represented the electoral district of Laprairie following the
general elections of 1981 and 1985; then, on September 25, 1985 he became the first
Member for La Pinière, created following recent changes to the electoral map.
While in opposition, Mr. Saintonge was a member of the Committee on Planning
and Infrastructures. He also acted as spokesman for his party on cultural
affairs, recreation and sport and subsequently on municipal affairs.
Mr. Saintonge holds a Bachelor of
Arts degree, a teaching diploma, a bachelor's degree in pedagogy and a
bachelor's degree in law from the Université de Montréal. A member of the
Québec Bar since 1973, he was assistant protonotary with the Quebec justice
ministry for one year before becoming a partner in the law firm of Vermette,
Dunton, Ciaccia, Rusko, De Wever and Saintonge. He has taught at École
Saint-Léon in Westmount and at Collège Ahuntsic in Montréal.
New Commissioner of the North
Daniel L. Norris was sworn in as Commissioner of the
Northwest Territories on October 2, 1989. He was born 35 kilometers southwest
of Inuvik in the Mackenzie Delta at his parents' trading post. Raised in the Aklavik
Mackenzie Delta where his mother and father had established their home in 1932,
he grew up among the Loucheux, Slavey, Dogrib and Inuvlaluit of the region.
In 1956 he went to work for the
department of Northern Affairs and National Resources in Aklavik. Later that
year he joined Aklavik Flying Services as base and officer manager. After
obtaining his private pilot's license and discovering that he could not obtain
a commercial license because of vision restrictions, he decided to rejoin
Northern Affairs and National Resources, where he was promoted to head of
When the Territorial Government
moved north in 1967 he transferred over as personnel and administrative
In August 1967 Mr. Norris accepted
the position of administrative officer and special assistant to the Regional
Director in Inuvik. In 1972 he transferred to the department of Personnel as
Regional Superintendent. He was promoted to Assistant Regional Director in 1982
and became Regional Director in 1985.
In addition to his duties as
Regional Director, he was also given the responsibility of chairing the Inuvik
Regional Health Board as of April 1, 1988.