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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Recent seminars in Washington and Yellowknife

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 Parsons, (Newfoundland).

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 Congress.

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 Industries.

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.

New Speakers

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 West Territories

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 office services.

When the Territorial Government moved north in 1967 he transferred over as personnel and administrative services officer.

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.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 12 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-03-03