Thirty-Fourth Canadian Regional
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
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
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
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
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.