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CPA Activities:  The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

New Speaker in British Columbia 

On September 12, 2005, Bill Barisoff, Member for Penticton- Okanagan Valley, was elected as the 36th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. 

Mr. Barisoff served as Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection and Minister of Provincial Revenue in the previous BC Liberal government.  Earlier, Mr. Barisoff also held a variety of critic roles for the Official Opposition, including agriculture, transportation and highways and aboriginal affairs. He served on the province's Motor Carrier Commission and was a member of the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries. 

First elected in 1996 to represent the riding of Okanagan-Boundary, Mr. Barisoff was re-elected in 2001 for Penticton-Okanagan Valley. Mr. Barisoff, who was born and raised in Oliver, owned a trucking firm before his election to the Legislative Assembly. He served also as a school trustee for 18 years, including eight as chair of the Southern Okanagan school board; was a volunteer firefighter in Oliver for over 25 years; and sat on the Okanagan Labour Relations Council. He was also chair of the Oliver Recreation Commission for one year. 

New Speaker in Ontario 

The new Speaker of the Ontario Legislative Assembly is Michael A. Brown. He represents the riding of Algoma-Manitoulin. 

Born in Sarnia, he is a graduate from Humber College of Applied Arts and Technologies and the University of Western Ontario. Prior to entering provincial politics he was the deputy mayor of Gore Bay and President of the Manitoulin Municipal Association. He managed a small business and worked as a funeral director on Manitoulin Island from 1974-1987. First elected in 1987, he was re-elected in 1990, 1995, 1999 and 2003. 

Mike Brown has held numerous key posts both in government and opposition. He was Deputy Speaker of the Ontario Legislature in 1999. In opposition, he was the Liberal critic for Seniors Issues, Natural Resources, and Northern Development and Mines. In government he is a former Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources. He also chaired the Cabinet Committee on Education Policy, and is a former member of the Legislative Committee on Justice Policy. 

Twenty-Seventh Canadian Regional Parliamentary Seminar 

Prince Edward Island was host of the 27th Canadian Regional Parliamentary Seminar from October 20-23, 2005. Approximately forty five delegates and observers from all jurisdictions except the Northwest Territories were represented. Speaker Greg Deighan of Prince Edward Island was the host and several other Speakers attended including Harvey Hodder of Newfoundland and Labrador, George Hicks of Manitoba, Jobie Nutarak of Nunavut and Ted Staffer of Yukon. 

Sessions were held at the Loyalist Lodge in Summerside PEI. The following were the topics and the presenters. 

  • Water Stewardship in Manitoba
    Tom Nevakshonoff, MLA Manitoba 
  • Electoral Reform in Prince Edward Island
    Leonard Russell, Chair of the Commission of PEI’s Electoral Future 
  • Women in Politics
    Charlotte L’Écuyer, MNA, Quebec 
  • The Role of the Opposition during Question Period
    Len Derkach, MLA, Manitoba 
  • The Changing Role of the MLA
    Wally Stiles, MLA, New Brunswick 

Aside from the business session delegates were offered an opportunity to visit the Atlantic Wind Test Site at North Cape or visit one of PEI’s potato farms. 

Speaker Deighan and staff headed by Charles Mackay did everything to make this a memorable visit to one of Canada’s most picturesque and interesting provinces. 

Fourth Canadian Parliamentary Seminar 

From November 20-26, 2005 some twenty-one individuals from all parts of the Commonwealth attended a seminar hosted by the Canadian Branch of CPA. 

The first session dealt with the Commonwealth and the Role of the CPA.  The Speakers were Sarmite Bulte, Chair of the Canadian Branch and Andrew Imlach from CPA Headquarters in London.  The Clerk of the House of Commons, Audrey O'Brien and the Deputy Clerk of the Senate, Gary O'Brien, provided the delegates with an overview of the operation of the Canadian Parliament. 

The following sessions were also held: 

  • The Canadian Political Scene
    Senator David Smith and Gary Lunn MP 
  • Getting There: Political Recruiting and Women in the Political Process
    Anita Neville MP and Judy Wasylycia-Leis MP 
  • The Parliamentary Presence of Political Parties: The Role of Party Caucuses
    Senator Terry Stratton and Andy Savoy MP 
  • Parliament and Civil Society
    Paddy Torsney MP, Derek Lee MP, Alexa McDonough MP 
  • How an MP’s Office Works
    John Maloney MP and Gurmant Grewal MP 
  • Have the Media Taken Over the Representational Job of Parliamentarians?
    Senator Joan Fraser and Paul Wells, Maclean's Magazine 
  • Parliamentary Committees:  What Works and What Doesn't
    Bill Blaikie MP and John Williams MP 
  • Engaging Citizens:  Resources and Tools
    Don Boudria MP and Gurmant Grewal MP 
  • Connecting with Constituents: Representing Pluralistic Constituencies
    Derek Lee MP 
  • Influencing Governments and Regulating Influence
    Don Boudria, MP and Sean Moore, Policy Advisor, Gowling Lafleur Henderson 

A number of social events were arranged for the visiting parliamentarians including a lunch hosted by Senate Speaker Dan Hays, a dinner hosted by Speaker Peter Milliken and a dinner hosted by the Canadian Branch of CPA. 

The seminar took place during the very hectic final week of the 37th Parliament and delegates, many of who were from tropical climates, were also exposed to the first snowstorm of the winter. 

New Clerk of the House 

On October 7, 2005 Audrey O’Brien was appointed Clerk of the House of Commons replacing William Corbett who retired. She had been Acting Clerk since May 2005 and Interim Head of Parliamentary Precinct Services since March 2005. 

A native of Quebec, Ms O’Brien studied at Mount Saint Vincent University, Carleton University and Queens University before joining the House of Commons as a Committee Clerk in 1976. Over the years she has held a number of positions in the House including: Executive Assistant to the Clerk of the House and Principal Clerk of the Table Research Branch. She was named Clerk Assistant (Corporate Resources) in 1999 and Deputy Clerk in July 2000. 

She has served on attachments in the United Kingdom and Australia. Since 1996 she has been Secretary to the Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers. 

New Parliamentary Librarian 

William R. (Bill) Young was appointed Parliamentary Librarian in November 2005. He rejoins the Library of Parliament after a two-year secondment to the Department of Social Development as Departmental Assistant to the Deputy Minister. Previously, he held the position of Director, Political and Social Affairs Division, at the Library.  

As a professional historian, Dr. Young is the author of various books as well as academic and popular articles. He has also written many parliamentary reports. He has taught senior courses and seminars at McGill, Simon Fraser and York universities. Last year, he held an appointment as Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto. After receiving a B.A., Dr. Young went on to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia.  

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 28 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-03-03