Fifteenth Canadian Parliamentary
On behalf of the Manitoba
Legislative Assembly, Speaker Denis Rocan hosted a seminar on the role
of the private member attended by approximately thirty legislators from every
provincial and territorial assembly as well as from the House of Commons. Also
in attendance were a number of observers including Irv Anderson,
recently elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The keynote speaker was professor Paul
Thomas who delivered a thought-provoking address on various aspects of the
parliamentary profession. Among other things he discussed problems of
representation, relations with the media, the policy formation process, the
role of parties and the organization of caucus.
Subsequent sessions came back to
many of these issues. For example, opening speakers for the second session, John
Brockelbank (Saskatchewan), Marion Murphy (Prince Edward Island) and
Melvin Penny (Newfoundland) examined the competing roles of private members
and the arguments for and against more free votes.
Al Mosher (Nova Scotia) and Gerard Janssen
(British Columbia) were opening speakers for a session on the support services
available for private members. Ty Lund (Alberta) outlined the process of
Private Member's Business in Alberta and other members offered comments on the
process in their own legislatures. The last session was a debate on the
influence of the private member. Noble Villeneuve (Ontario), Don
Boudria (House of Commons) and Alan Nordling offered different
perspectives on the influence of private members.
In addition to the five business
sessions the staff of the Assembly led by the Clerk, Binx Remnant
organized an official opening, a tour of the Legislative Building, a reception with
the Lieutenant- Governor and a banquet featuring entertainment provided by
three local folk dance groups, all packed into about 30 hours covering Saturday
Next year the seminar will be held