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CPA Activities:  The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Small Countries Conference

The 24th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference for Members from Small Countries took place in Quebec City from August 31st to September 1st.

The Official Opening took place in the Legislative Council Room of the Quebec National Assembly. Mario Galea, Government Whip and Head of the Malta Delegation, chaired the Session.  Delegates were welcomed by Speaker Ted Staffen of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, on behalf of the Canadian jurisdictions hosting the conference.  Several members of the CPA Executive Committee which was meeting  simultaneously in Ottawa participated in the opening via videoconference.

The first plenary session was chaired by Arabella Smith of the Turks and Caicos.  The topic was the Role of Parliament in Regional Economic Integration of Small Countries and it featured a presentation by Elma Gene Isaac of the CARICOM Secretariat.  

The second plenary session, chaired by Reginald Farley of Barbados dealt with the role of parliamentarians in implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.  There were presentations by Professor Lino Briguglio of the University of Malta and Dr. Eliawony Kisanga of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The third plenary session chaired by Jennifer Smith MP of Bermuda featured a presentation by William McCloskey, Chair of the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs, who looked at the dialogue between the OECD and offshore financial centres over the issue of tax and fiscal sovereignty. Other presentations were made by Linford Pierson MLA of the Cayman Islands and Professor Andreas Antoniou of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The final plenary session chaired by Elizabeth Zabaneh of Belize dealt with holding the Executive to Account and featured a presentation by Connétable Frederick Gray of Jersey.

In addition to the plenary sessions there were also three workshops on:  Economic Vulnerablilty and Resilence of Small States chaired by Denis Burke MLA of Northern Territory of Australia, The Trade Agenda on Small States, chaired by Leota-Suatele Mausegi MLA of Samoa and Sustainable Tourism chaired by John Birmingham MLC of the Falkland Islands.

Since its establishment in 1981 for Commonwealth jurisdictions with populations less than 400,000 the Small Countries Conference has provided a unique forum for the discussion of global issues of particular important to small states.  The Speakers of the four  participating Canadian jurisdictions Greg Deighan of Prince Edward Island, Jobie Nutaraq of Nunavut, Ted Staffen of Yukon and Paul Delorey of the Northwest Territories, hosted a reception and dinner for the approximately 100 delegates and observers.

New Speaker in the NWT

On June 1, 2004 Paul Delorey was elected as Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly  He was first elected to the 14th Legislative Assembly as the Member for Hay River North on December 6th, 1999. Mr. Delorey was then acclaimed to the 15th Legislative Assembly for a second term of office in the fall of 2003.

During his tenure in the 14th Legislative Assembly, Mr. Delorey was a Member of the following Standing Committees: Governance and Economic Development, Rules and Procedures, Accountability and Oversight and served as the Deputy Chair of the Committee of the Whole. In addition, he was a member of the Special Committee on the Implementation of Self-Government and the Sunset Clause. During his current term, Mr. Delorey was the Chair of the Standing Committee on Governance and Economic Development, and a member of the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight and the Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures.

Prior to his first term of office, Mr. Delorey worked as a locomotive engineer for Raillink Canada. Born in Guysborough, N.S., as the second youngest child in a family of 13, he moved to Hay River in 1968. Two years later, he began work for the Canadian National Railway as a trainperson before advancing to a locomotive engineer.  Mr. Delorey has an extensive history of volunteering and community service. He currently serves as the District Deputy for the Knights of Columbus for the Northwest Territories. He has a total of 22 years of service to the Knights of Columbus organization in the North.

50th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

The Opening Ceremony took place on September 3, 2004 in the Ballroom of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City. The President of the Association, Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons, read a message from Her Majesty the Queen and offered words of welcome.  He then called upon the Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, to address the delegates.

This was followed by remarks from the Chair of the Canadian Region of the CPA,  Claude Richmond, Speaker of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly.  The closing remarks were by Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Fiji Islands and Vice-President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.  Other members of the official party included: Alvin Curling, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Michel Bissonnet, President  of the Quebec National Assembly, and Sarmite Bulte, Parliamentary Secretary  to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and President of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

The Master of Ceremonies was the Executive Secretary of  the Canadian Region, Paul Bélisle. During the opening ceremony a musical interlude was provided by  the choir Maîtrise des petits chanteurs and the band of the Royal 22nd Regiment.

The first business session took place in Quebec City on September 4, 2004 with addresses by the Secretary General of the CPA, Denis Marshall and the Commonwealth Secretary General, Donald Mckinnon. The first plenary session dealt with the Commonwealth Action Plan for Gender Equality.  There were presentations by Senator John Hogg of Australia, Senator David Smith of Canada, Adi Teimuma Tuisawau Vuikab Kepa MP of Fiji and Thandi Modise MPL of North-West Province of South Africa.  The following day all members travelled to Toronto where the Conference resumed on September 6.

The plenary session in Toronto was Chaired by Speaker Milliken. The topic was Responsibilities and Rights of People and Parliaments in a Global Community.  In the morning the speakers were Scott Hubli of the National Democratic Institute, Serguei Lazarev of UNESCO and Rick Staphenhurst of the World Bank Institute.  In the afternoon the speakers were Senator Marcus Bethal of The Bahamas, Somnath Chatterjee MP of India and Yatiman Yusof of Singapore.

Each speaker then acted as moderator for a smaller workshop on a related topics.  Discussion leaders for these workshops were:

  • A) Robert Miller of the Parliamentary Centre and  Betty Mould-Iddrisu of the Commonwealth Secretariat
  • B) Sarmite Bulte MP of Canada, Shri K. Rahman Khan MP of India
  • C) Colin Ball of the Commonwealth Foundation and Thomas Dorsey of the International Monetary Fund.
  • D) Alaso Alice Asianut MP of Uganda and Nigel Evans MP of the United Kingdom
  • E) Rick Stapenhurst of the World Bank Institute and Charmaine Rodrigues of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • F) Senator Raynell Andreychuk of Canada and Dianne Yates of New Zealand

The final plenary session dealt with the Trend Towards Supra-national Parliaments.  The lead speakers were Mary M. Nagu MP of Tanzania, S. Enioch Motanyane of Lesotho, Mario Galea MP of Malta and Andrew Welsh MSP of Scotland.

The 50th Conference was one of the largest every held with more than 600 delegates, observers and accompanying persons from more than 170 jurisdictions.  In keeping with tradition delegates were afforded ample opportunities before, during and after the conference to acquaint themselves with various aspects of the host country. While in Quebec they were given a pre-conference tour of the Charlevoix area.  After the Official Opening the Governor General hosted a luncheon at the Citadelle.  Following the conference there was a tour of the Niagara Region.

The organisation of such an ambitious conference required a co-ordinated effort of the Secretariat in London and more than one hundred support staff drawn mainly from the legislatures of Quebec, Ontario and Ottawa, including help from every provincial and territorial jurisdiction.  The years of planning and co-ordinated efforts resulted in a successful and memorable conference for all who took part.

Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Association

A meeting of the Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Steering Committee was held on September 1, 2004.  As a result of several years work by the Association the constitution of the CPA was amended to provide for representation on the Executive Committee of a representative elected by the CWP.  The first person to hold this position is Lindiwe Maseko, MPL, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the South African province of Gauteng.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 27 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-03-03