New Speaker of the Senate
Noël A. Kinsella
was named Speaker of the Senate on February 7, 2006. Senator
Kinsella was a senior public servant serving as Associate Under-Secretary
of State of Canada when he was summoned to the Senate of Canada on September
Since his appointment Dr. Kinsella has served as Opposition Whip, Deputy
Leader of the Opposition and most recently as the elected Leader of the
Opposition. He also has been a member of Senate Standing Committees, including
Human Rights; Social Affairs, Science and Technology; and National Finance.
Prior to his appointment as a Senator, Dr. Kinsella served as Chairperson
of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for 22 years, beginning in
1967 and is well-known nationally and internationally as a human rights
advocate and academic.
Dr. Kinsella earned several university degrees, including doctorates in
philosophy, theology and psychology. He has had a successful career as
an academic, psychologist and labour arbitrator, with three books, several
monographs and more than 50 articles published in the fields of psychology
and human rights.
In 1984, he was made a Knight of the Order of Malta.
23rd Canadian Presiding Officers Conference
The 23rd Canadian Presiding Officers Conference took place in Yellowknife,
Northwest Territories from January 19-22, 2006. The conference was attended
by Speakers, Deputy Speakers, Chairs of Committee of the Whole and Clerks-at-
the-Table from Legislatures across Canada. In all, 43 delegates and five
accompanying persons attended the meetings.
The conference began with an excursion to the Diavik Diamond Mine some
300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. Diavik is Canadas second diamond
mine and was constructed at a capital cost of $1.3 billion. Peak annual
production at the mine is approximately 8 million carats, the vast majority
of which are of gem quality. The two and soon to be four operating diamond
mines in the NWT will make Canada the second largest producer of diamonds
in the world. The ability of the Northwest Territories to retain a fair
proportion of the resource royalties generated by this non-renewable resource
extraction is a significant priority for the Government of the Northwest
The conference got underway in the Chamber of the NWT Assembly on January
20. Speaker Paul Delorey welcomed all delegates to the conference. A special
welcome was extended to Speaker Bill Barisoff of British Columbia and Speaker
Michael Brown of Ontario who were attending their first Presiding Officers
conference since being elected to the Speakers Chair.
Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories,
used the first business session to provided the delegates with an overview
of the unique style of consensus government that exists in the Northwest
Territories. Other business sessions included:
- Providing a Parliamentary Dimension to the Work of the United Nations:
The Declaration of the World Conference of Speakers
Presenter: Gary OBrien,
Deputy Clerk, Senate of Canada
- Contested Elections
Presenter: David McNeil, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly,
- Managing Parliament with Civility
Craig James, Clerk of Committees
and Clerk Assistant, British Columbia
- The Jean-Charles-Bonenfant Foundation
Presenter: Diane Leblanc, Deputy
- Challenging the Chair
Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly,
On the evening of January 20, 2006, the delegates attended a reception
at the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre hosted by former Speaker and
now Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, Anthony W.J. Whitford. Commissioner
Whitford chose this reunion with many of his former colleagues for the
official unveiling of his Speakers portrait which will be permanently
displayed in the Legislature. Later that evening, the delegates were addressed
by Joseph Handley, Premier of the Northwest Territories. Premier Handley
outlined many of the unique challenges and opportunities facing the Northwest
Territories in the face of unprecedented economic growth.
After a brief excursion to the outskirts of Yellowknife for some dog sledding,
hot tea and tube rides, the delegates assembled for one last time before
returning to their home jurisdictions. At dinner, the conference heard
a presentation from Major Kevin Tyler of Canadian Forces Northern Area
Headquarters on the increasing importance of northern sovereignty in Canadas
Arctic. Speaker Delorey later provided each of the delegates with as North
of 60 Explorers Certificate and thanked them for traveling so far to see
one of Canadas most unique and diverse regions up close.
Of special note, Speaker Harvey Hodder
of Newfoundland and Labrador took
advantage of the conference to announce the upcoming retirement of that
jurisdictions Clerk, A. John Noel. All delegates rose to give John a warm
round of applause in appreciation for his many years of service to the
House of Assembly and indeed to development and understanding of parliamentary
democracy in Canada.
All delegates are looking forward to next years conference to be held
in Prince Edward Island.