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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Thirty-Fourth Canadian Regional Conference

The 34th Conference of the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 23 to 28, 1995.

The Conference brought together about 100 delegates and observers from the Senate, the House of Commons as well as all the provinces and territories. Included among the delegates were special guests from the British House of Commons, and the legislatures of The Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Isle of Man. The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Arthur Donahoe, was also in attendance.

The Seminar was opened by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, John James Kinley. The Premier of Nova Scotia, John Savage, and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Paul MacEwan, welcomed the delegates to Nova Scotia.

The First Session, chaired by Bruce Holland (Nova Scotia) dealt with the Future of the CPA and the Commonwealth. The Secretary-General briefed delegates about some of the recent developments in the Commonwealth and relations between the CPA Secretariat and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Chairman of the CPA Executive Committee, Colin Shepard, discussed the role of CPA and mentioned the advantages of belonging to an organization that gives members a window on so many countries in the world. The Chairman of the Federal Branch of CPA, Bob Speller, also addressed the Conference and pointed out the many activities open to Canadian legislators.

The Second Session, chaired by Ross Young, (Prince Edward Island) dealt with Sexual Harassment: Process and Judgement in Cases of Alleged Harassment. The opening Speakers were Dale Lovick, (British Columbia) and Mary Clancy, MP. Both speakers made the point that power not sex was the issue and women were vulnerable to sexual harassment because they were usually not in positions of power in government, business, or labour unions. The topic stimulated vigorous discussion with some members pointing out the difficulties in developing fair process and objective standards. Others raised the issue of the backlash against women who made an issue out of sexual harassment.

The Third Session, chaired by Speaker Emery Barnes (British Columbia) dealt with the "Rules of Debate: Democracy or Dictatorship". Two of the presenters were from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, Speaker Paul MacEwan and Robert Chisholm. The other presenter was Nick Hawkins, MP from the British House of Commons. Much of the discussion dealt with recent developments including rule changes in the Nova Scotia Legislature. Different views were expressed as to how far a government should go in ensuring that its programme is adopted by the legislature. Others gave examples from their own jurisdictions on issues such as the powers and role of the Speaker, the role of party discipline and the influence of the media on legislative politics.

The Fourth Session was chaired by Richard Nerysoo of the Northwest Territories. It dealt with the topic of Health Care Reform and featured presentations by Eric Cline, MLA of Saskatchewan and Speaker Stan Schumacher of Alberta. There was general support for sustaining a public health system which had to be rationalized and reformed where necessary. There were differing views expressed over the direction of reform and the degree of private sector involvement that was desirable in the heath care industry. Other issues such as development of alternative services in non hospital surroundings were mentioned by several speakers.

The Fifth Session dealt with Government of the 90s: Privatization and Public/Private Sector Partnerships. It was chaired by Quebec MNA David Payne and featured opening Speakers Dr. Larry Kennedy, (New Brunswick), Denis Rocan (Manitoba) and David Marshall, of the United Kingdom. Dr. Kennedy noted that some measure of downsizing and privatization was inevitable but he said it was important to remember that Canada was not the United States or New Zealand and the approach to these issues would necessarily be different than in other countries. Mr. Marshall suggested that privatization has as it principal effect the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. Mr. Rocan gave examples of how the Manitoba government was working with the private sector.

The Sixth Session dealt with the Future of the Fishery and the Evolving Law of the Sea. It was chaired by Trevor Harding, (Yukon) and featured presentations by Walter Carter, (Newfoundland) and Roger Soloman, (Prince Edward Island). Mr. Carter gave an account of how the loss of the cod fisheries has affected the Newfoundland economy. He called for more local involvement in decisions relating to the fisheries in the future. Mr. Solomon pointed out a number of international dimension to the problem on the Atlantic while several other delegates raised problems relating to the salmon fishery on the west coast.

In addition to the working sessions delegates enjoyed numerous examples of Nova Scotia hospitality including a reception by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, a harbor cruise and a traditional lobster dinner at Hubbards. Delegates also had a choice of a number of excursions, at their own expense, including a cruise on the Bluenose, a tour of Peggy's Cove, or a Salt Water Fishing Tour.

Regional Council Meeting

In conjuction with the Regional Conference the Executive of the Association held two meetings in Halifax. It marked the final Regional Council meeting for Speakers, Herman Rolfes of Saskatchewan and Denis Rocan of Manitoba. The Chair of the meeting Speaker Paul MacEwan of Nova Scotia introduced the newest Member Louise Dacquay of Manitoba. Speaker Dacquay confirmed that Manitoba will be the host of the 1996 Regional Conference.

Toronto was confirmed as the site of the next Regional Seminar which will be held on November 24-26, 1995.

The next meeting of the Council will take place in conjuction with the meeting of presiding officers in Whitehorse Yukon in January 1996. Stan Schumacher was selected as Regional Representative on the International CPA, a position he will take up following the next meeting of CPA in Sri Lanka this fall.

New Members of the Canadian Regional Council

As a result of recent elections in Manitoba and Ontario, there are new Speakers in both legislatures.

The new Speaker in Manitoba is Louise Dacquay. She held the office of Deputy Speaker and chairperson of Committees of the Whole House since 1990, the beginning of her provincial political career. Prior to provincial politics, Mrs. Dacquay served as a Winnipeg City Councillor from 1986 to 1989.

In Ontario the new Speaker is Allan K. McLean. Mr. McLean is a dairy farmer in Oro Township and served in municipal politics for 17 years, from 1963 to 1980. He was Deputy Reeve and Reeve of Oro Township and Warden of Simcoe County. He was elected to the Legislature in 1981 and re-elected in 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1995. He served as Deputy Whip and Chief Government Whip and as Minister without portfolio attached to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. He also served on the Standing Committee on General Government, Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies and General Government, critic for Tourism and Recreation, deputy critic for Agriculture and Food, critic for Natural Resources and Mines and critic for Municipal Affairs. He was elected Speaker of the House in a secret ballot on September 26, 1995.

New Commissioner of the Yukon

Judy Gingell is the new Commissioner of the Yukon. Born in the Yuon, Mrs. Gingell took on the position as manager of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation in 1969. Later she moved into the finance department of the Council for Yukon Indians. She also became a founding director of the Yukon Indian Brotherhood and the only woman on the Executive Council where she served as secretary-treasurer.

In 1973, Mrs. Gingell travelled to Ottawa with a team of leaders that included Elijah Smith, President of the Yukon Native Brotherhood, to hand to the then Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau a document entitled "Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow". This historic document contained a statement of grievances from all Yukon First Nations that launched comprehensive land claims negotiations in the Yukon.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Mrs. Gingell served on the Executive Council of the Yukon Indian Women's Association and then became a founding director of Northern Native Broadcasting, Yukon. She served as the President of the Yukon Indian Development Corporation from 1980 until she won a by-election in 1989 for the Chair of the Council for Yukon Indians, a position she occupied until May, 1995.

Under Mrs. Gingell's leadership, the Umbrella and four First Nations Final Land Claim and Self-Government Agreements passed into legislation in 1993 and became law on February 14, 1995. Judy Gingell was installed as Commissioner of the Yukon on June 12, 1995.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 18 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-03-03