Two CPA activities took place
recently in Canada. From October 3-14, 1994, Canadian parliamentarians hosted the
International CPA Conference in Banff, Alberta and from October 30-November 2,
the 18th Seminar of the Canadian Region of CPA took place in Ottawa.
40th CPA Conference
More that 500 participants
representing over 120 Branches of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
assembled for the 40th CPA Conference which was held in Banff from October
8-14, 1994. The conference was opened by the Governor General Ramon
Hnatyshyn. Other speakers at the opening included: the Speaker of the House
of Commons, Gilbert Parent, President of the CPA; K.B. Ratnayake,
Vice-President of the Association; Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly,
Stan Schumacher; and Chief Ernest Wesley of the Wesley
First Nation. The highlight of the opening was a traditional First Nation
blessing ceremony by Nakoda Elder Eddy Holloway. The conference also
heard an address from the Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka
At its General Assembly the
Association approved application for re-admission from several branches including
South Africa which returned after an absence of more than thiry years. The
Assembly also elected its new executive including Senator William Petten
as the Canadian Regional Representative.
In addition to the plenary session
which dealt with how parliamentary insitututions can be made more
representative and responsible, there were also six panel sessions on a variety
One of the most lively sessions
focussed on practical and innovative processes to achieve full equality for
women. There was also a separate meeting the Commonwealth Women Parliamentary
Group which has become a regular feature of CPA conferences.
Delegates also had an opportunity
to visit Lake Louise, a rodeo in Calgary, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of
Palaeontology in Drummheller.
Eighteenth CPA Regional Seminar
This year the theme of the Seminar
was Parliamentary Government in an Age of Restraint. The first session
dealt with Internal Economy Committees: A Comparative Perspective. Speakers
included: Hon. Alfonso Gagliano, MP, Senator Colin Kenny and William
Cusano, MNA (Quebec) and Dame Peggy Fenner of the United Kingdom
The second session focused on The
Size of Legislatures. Speakers included Emery Barnes of British Columbia
and two Saskatchewan MLAs, Maynard Sonntag and Tom Keeping.
The third session considered the
issue of Salaries, Pensions and Benefits of Legislators. Panellists included Doug
Martindale of Manitoba and Greg O`Donnell of New Brunswick.
The fourth session looked at the
possibilities for An Information Highway for Parliamentarians. It featured Reg
Alcock, MP and Michael Binder, Assistant Deputy Minister at Industry
The final session brought together
panellists from Alberta, Richard Magnus, MLA, the Northwest Territories,
Henry Zoe, MLA and Colin Pickthall, MP of the United Kingdom.
They considered whether there is a role for parliamentarians in controlling the
The Chairman of the Seminar was Bob
Speller MP, Chair of the federal branch of CPA. The seminar was opened by
the Speaker of the Senate, Hon. Romeo LeBlanc and the Speaker of the
House of Commons, Hon. Gilbert Parent. Except for Ontario, where the
opening of the fall session coincided with the seminar, every province and
territory was represented.
Two new presiding officers were
chosen recently in Quebec and the Senate. In New Brunswick, a new Speaker was
also elected following adoption of changes to the Standing Orders.
On November 22, 1994, Speaker Roméo
LeBlanc resigned from the Senate in order to become the next Governor
General of Canada. He will be he first Acadian and the first representative
from Atlantic Canada to be elevated to that position.
The new Speaker of the Senate is Gildas
Molgat. He was born in Ste. Rose du Lac, Manitoba and was educated at the
University of Manitoba and St. Paul's College. A business consultant, he was
first elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly in 1953 and re-elected in
1958, 1959, 1962, 1966 and 1969. He was Leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba
and Leader of the Opposition from 1961-1968.
Mr. Molgat was summoned to the
Senate in 1970 and has held many positions in the Upper House. He was appointed
Chair of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada in 1971. He was
co-president of the Special Joint Committee on Senate Reform (Molgat-Cosgrove
Report) in 1983-1984. He was appointed Government Whip in 1983 and has served
as Deputy Speaker of the Senate from 1983 to 1984 and from 1988 to 1991. He has
been Chair of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the Meech Lake
Constitutional Accord and Senate Task Force on Meech Lake Accord and Yukon and
the Northwest Territories. In 1993, he was appointed Deputy Government Leader.
When the Legislature adjourned in
the Spring of 1994, Premier Frank McKenna announced a cabinet shuffle
and at the same time said he would ask the Legislative Assembly to consider Gérald
Clavette to preside over its deliberations when the House resumed in the
fall. In the interim, it was decided to follow the precedent established by
other jurisdictions and elect a Speaker by secret ballot.
Although designated Speaker
Clavette was elected November 29 to preside during the proceedings of the
House, following the adoption of rule changes December 2, he resigned to
accommodate the wishes of the Members and allow the historic secret ballot
election to take place.
On December 2, 1994, following a
secret ballot, the former Speaker Shirley Dysart was declared elected.
Speaker Dysart is a former teacher,
who was first elected to represent Saint John Park in 1974. She was re-elected
in 1978, 1982, 1987 and 1991. She served as Interim Leader of the Liberal Party
for two months in 1985. She was appointed Minister of Education on October 27,
1987 and served in that capacity until she was named Speaker on October 8,
The new Speaker is Roger
Bertrand. He was born July 26, 1947 in Donnacona and educated at Laval
University where he received a B.A. in Social Science and an M.A. in economics.
He subsequently did post-gaduate study in Applied Macroeconomics at the
University of Paris. From 1980-1984 he worked in the Social and Health
Programme Division of Treasury Board. From 1985-1987 he was Vice President of
the Commission of Inquiry on Health and Social Services. He later became the
Director General of the Health and Social Service Council of the Quebec Region.
He was elected to the Quebec
National Assembly in a by-election in July 1993 and was opposition spokesman
for matters pertaining to the public service. He was re-elected in 1994 and
became Speaker of the National Assembly on November 29, 1994.
New Clerk Assistant in
Margaret (Meta) Woods was raised and educated primarily in
Saskatoon. She obtained her B.A. in History and her law degree at the
University of Saskatchewan. She subsequently received a Rotary scholarship to
study at the University of Aberdeen where she earned a M.Litt (History).
Following completion of her class work in Scotland, she articled with the
Balfour Moss law firm in Saskatoon. After two years in law practice she
returned to an administrative position within the Naval Reserve which enabled
her to complete her thesis and defence with the University of Aberdeen.