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Since the opening of the First Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament in
April, the Senate attended to its own business while it waited for legislation
to arrive from the House of Commons. Seven Government bills came to the
Senate in May and June and of these, four were passed and received Royal
Assent. Still before the Senate is Bill C-2, the Federal Accountability
Act. The proposal to replace the Ethics Commissioner and the Senate Ethics
Officer with a new parliamentary officer is a point of concern to many
senators. How the Senate maintains its independence as an institution able
to govern its own affairs will continue to be an issue when debate on the
bill resumes in September.
Meanwhile, Senate committees produced a variety of reports on special studies.
The Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee chaired by Senator
Michael Kirby, tabled its fifth and final report on mental health, mental
illness and addiction in Canada on May 9. Out of the Shadows at Last
contains 118 recommendations, including an appeal for government funding
to provide affordable housing for people suffering from mental illness.
This report concludes the committees three year study on mental health,
the most comprehensive study on mental health in Canada ever completed.
Earlier volumes Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction: Overview
of Policies and Programs in Canada, Mental Health Policies and Programs
in Selected Countries and Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction:
Issues and Options for Canada were released in November 2004 and A Proposal
to Establish a Canadian Mental Health Commission in November 2005. The
mental health study was the first in a series of thematic reports on additional
health-related issues planned by the Committee at the conclusion of its
two-year study of the Canadian health care system in 2002. During that
time, the Committee produced six volumes that dealt with different issues
about health care in Canada.
Two reports were released by the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee,
chaired by Senator Gerry Grafstein. The committees Second Report, entitled
Consumer Protection in the Financial Services Sector: The Unfinished Agenda
was tabled on June 6. The report summarizes the responsibilities of federal
departments and agencies and examines the role played by institutions in
protecting consumers. It also provides 20 recommendations intended to improve
consumer protection. On June 13, the committee issued The Demographic
Time Bomb: Mitigating the effects of demographic change in Canada. In
this Third Report the committee calls on government to address the economic
impact of declining population growth in Canada. A proposal to create incentives
to keep baby boomers in the workplace is one of its recommendations.
On June 21, the Transport and Communications Committee chaired by Senator
Joan Fraser, tabled its Final Report on the Canadian News Media. A commercial-
free CBC-TV and limits on media ownership were among the 40 recommendations
and 10 suggestions contained in the two-volume report. This concludes the
committees study of the news media which began in March 2003.
The second of three reports on Canadas defence policy and the state of
the Canadian Forces was tabled in the Senate on June 21 by the National
Security and Defence Committee chaired by Senator Colin Kenny. Entitled
The Governments No.1 Job, Securing the Military Options It Needs to Protect
Canadians, it focuses on solutions to problems facing the Canadian Forces.
The first report in this series, WoundedCanadas Military and The Legacy
of Neglect, was released in September 2005. The final report is expected
to be released in the coming months.
Also on June 21, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee chaired by Senator
Joyce Fairbairn released interim findings on the farm income crisis. In
its report, Agriculture and Agri-food policy in Canada: Putting Farmers
First!, the committee recommends strategic action on a direct payment
program that will help the farming community while the grains and oilseeds
industry recovers from the current slump. In the fall, the committee will
be conducting an in-depth study of rural poverty in Canada.
On June 22 an interim report entitled The Atlantic Snow Crab Fishery
was tabled in the Senate by the Fisheries and Oceans Committee which is
chaired by Senator William Rompkey. It calls on the government to increase
funding for scientific research in the Atlantic crab fishery and also endorses
the creation of an Atlantic-wide Snow Crab Science Council to bring together
scientists and fishermen.
Since the passage of the User Fees Act in 2004, proposals for new user
fees are subject to parliamentary approval. Proposals must be tabled in
each House of Parliament and referred to a committee. The committee has
20 sitting days to report its decision, then the Senate and House of Commons
may pass a resolution approving, rejecting or amending the recommendations
made by the committee. The Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament
Committee chaired by Senator Consiglio Di Nino reviewed the issue of user
fees and recommended an amendment to Rule 28(3) of the Rules of the Senate
in its Second Report presented on June 13. The amendment will have the
effect of deeming a document proposing a user fee to a select committee,
without debate or a vote. This was necessary, given the tight timeframe,
because Senate committees generally require a specific order of reference
from the chamber to undertake any study. The report was adopted by the
Senate on June 27.
Senator Di Nino rose on a point of order on May 2 to argue that Bill S-212,
an amendment to the Income Tax Act, was not properly before the Senate.
Senator Di Nino maintained the bill imposed a tax and appropriated public
revenue and as such should have originated in the House of Commons, not
the Senate. In a ruling delivered on May 11, Speaker Noël Kinsella agreed
that a royal recommendation was necessary with respect to certain clauses
in the bill. He declared the point of order well founded and ordered the
bill removed from the Order Paper.
On May 3, the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Dan Hays, raised a point
of order with respect to the conduct of Question Period. He objected to
the time taken that day by the Leader of the Government to answer questions
which had been taken as notice by the Deputy Leader of the Government during
a previous Question Period. In his ruling on May 10, the Speaker reviewed
how Question Period and delayed answers should be followed. He explained
that the 30 minutes allotted in the Rules of the Senate for Question Period
are for posing questions to the Leader of the Government, any minister
or to committee chairs about the work of their committees. The time to
present answers to written questions on the Order Paper and to answer oral
questions at a previous sitting is during Delayed Answers, called at the
end of Question Period. The Speaker agreed that what happened on May 3
did not follow usual practice and detracted from the immediate purpose
of Question Period. He concluded the point of order was a valid one.
In a preliminary statement on April 27, Speaker Kinsella requested more
time to determine the nature of the interference with the sound system
caused by the use of certain BlackBerries in the Chamber. His ruling on
May 16, therefore, was a formal response to numerous complaints this session
about these electronic devices. The Speaker clarified the sources of the
interference and suggested possible remedies. Once more, he asked for the
collaboration of all senators to maintain order in the house.
Senator Pierrette Ringuette rose on a question of privilege on May 11 to
claim that the Leader of the Government had misled the Senate when she
stated the reason for her absence from Question Period on May 2 was because
of a Cabinet meeting. The Speaker ruled on May 30 that there was no prima
facie basis to support a question of privilege. This case, in his opinion,
was the result of an unintentional misunderstanding as to certain facts
between the senator and the Leader of the Government. The Speaker used
the ruling to remind senators that a question of privilege should not be
used for a simple complaint or grievance.
Since the passage of the Royal Assent Act in 2002, the traditional Royal
Assent ceremony in the Senate Chamber is mandatory at least twice each
calendar year and for the first appropriation bill in a session. In a televised
ceremony held in the Senate Chamber on May 11, Her Excellency the Right
Honourable Michaëlle Jean granted Royal Assent to Bill C-4, an amendment
to the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act and Bill C-8, the first
interim supply bill of the session. Later, on June 22, two other bills
received Royal Assent by written declaration.
The Senate adopted a new numbering system for Senate bills in June 2005
which took effect at the beginning of this Parliament. Bills introduced
by the Government are now numbered S-2 to S-200, Senate public bills introduced
by individual Senators are S-201 to S-1000 and private bills are S-1001
and up. This classification, which parallels that of the House of Commons,
will facilitate references to legislation by parliamentarians and the public.
To date, the Senate has introduced three Government bills, 19 public bills
and one private bill.
On May 17, the Senate adopted a motion congratulating Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II on the occasion of her eightieth birthday on April 21.
The Senate supported bestowing honorary Canadian citizenship to His Holiness
the Dalai Lama of Tibet with the adoption of a motion on June 29. The Dalai
Lama is only the third person to be given such an honour. Other honorary
citizens of Canada are Raoul Wallenberg and Nelson Mandela.
Tributes were paid to the late J. Michael Forrestall whose death occurred
on June 8. Appointed to the Senate in 1990, Senator Forrestall served as
a member of almost every standing committee but will be remembered especially
for his work on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Senator Marisa Ferretti Barth retired on April 28 upon reaching the mandatory
retirement age of 75 years. During her nine years in the Senate, Senator
Ferretti Barth was an active member of the Human Rights Committee and the
National Finance Committee.
The Spring Sitting of the Second Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislature
adjourned on May 18, 2006, after 42 sitting days for a total of just over
236 sitting hours. By the conclusion of the sitting, 41 Government Bills,
one Private Members' Public Bill and three Private Bills were passed by
the Assembly. Two Government Bills and one Private Bill were left on the
Order Paper in addition to other Private Members' Business items.
On May 16, 2006, the Legislative Assembly approved a motion to appoint
an 11-Member Select Special Committee to review the Personal Information
Protection Act. The all-party committee must submit its report, including
any proposed amendments to the Act, within 18 months of commencing its
review. Cindy Ady (PC, Calgary-Shaw) is chairing the committee.
Also on May 16, 2006, the Assembly approved a motion to concur in the report
of the Select Special Chief Electoral Officer Search Committee recommending
Lorne R. Gibson be appointed as Chief Electoral Officer for the Province
of Alberta effective June 12, 2006. Mr. Gibson has served the last 8 years
as Deputy Chief Electoral Officer with Elections Manitoba.
On May 18, 2006, the Report of the Select Special Conflicts of Interest
Act Review Committee was tabled in the Assembly. The Committee outlined
36 recommendations in its report including the creation of a lobbyist registry,
the creation of a cooling-off period for senior policy officials, and the
extension of the cooling-off period for former Ministers from 6 months
to 12 months.
On June 14, 2006, Raj Pannu [ND, Edmonton-Strathcona] announced that he
would not be seeking re-election in the constituency of Edmonton-Strathcona
prior to the next General Election. Dr. Pannu was first elected to the
Alberta Legislature in 1997 and was re-elected in 2001 and 2004. He served
as leader of the Alberta New Democrats from February 2, 2000, to July 13,
On May 10th, 2006, Speaker Ken Kowalski and Minister of Education Gene
Zwozdesky launched a new website, which allows visitors to take a virtual
tour of the Alberta Legislature online.
The Virtual Visit is an interactive online tour that provides a realistic,
three-dimensional environment replicating the layout, scale, and features
of the Alberta Legislature. It allows the user to look and move around
as if they were inside the building. The Virtual Visit also features a
fully guided tour option which includes multimedia activities that align
with Alberta curriculum programs. The site can be accessed at:
On June 6, 2006, the Speaker hosted the Earl and Countess of Wessex at
a luncheon at Government House, to celebrate the Assembly's centenary.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex were in Edmonton as part of a nine-day
working visit to Canada that began in Saskatchewan on June 1 and included
stops in Alberta and British Columbia.
Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Lyle Oberg, who was removed
from Cabinet and suspended from the Progressive Conservative caucus for
six months, has been invited to return to caucus two months early. Dr.
Oberg was suspended in March 2006 after reportedly telling members of his
constituency association that he would not be asking them to support Premier
Klein at the March 31, 2006 leadership review
Continuation of Session
The Second Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislature reconvened on August
24, 2006 and adjourned on August 31 for a total of 5 sitting days. The
Assembly approved supplementary estimates totaling $1,530,610,000 for 15
departments. The last time the Assembly sat outside of its usual Spring
and Fall sittings was for 8 days in August 1996.
Clerk of Journals/Table Research
The Fourth Session of the Thirty-Eighth Manitoba Legislature recessed for
the summer on June 13, 2006. A number of notable Bills received Royal Assent
on the last day of session, including:
Bill 11 The Winter Heating Cost Control Act, which provides greater access
to Manitobans across the province to home-retrofit programs to boost energy
efficiency and reduce heating costs;
Bill 22 The Elections Reform Act, designed to enhance voter participation,
ban floor-crossing and strengthen the democratic process through increased
Bill 21 The Public Health Act, replacing previous legislation enacted
in 1965 the updated act protects and promotes the health of Manitobans,
as well as modernizing pandemic planning;
Bill 27 The Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, which
allows the government to take action against manufacturers of tobacco products
to recover the costs of health-care benefits for tobacco-related illnesses;
Bill 36 The Youth Drug Stabilization (Support for Parents) Act, designed
to assist parents in helping children suffering from severe and persistent
Through a combination of the provisions of a sessional order passed in
2005 and agreements reached by the House in the final days of session,
eleven Bills from this session will be reinstated next session at the same
stage of the legislative process. These bills include:
Bill 25 The Consumer Protection Amendment (Payday Loans) Act, which would
require payday lenders to be licensed while imposing certain restrictions
and obligations on them for the protection of borrowers;
Bill 34 The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act,
which would establish protection for whistleblowers in government departments
and government bodies such as the Workers Compensation Board, Manitoba
Hydro and Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation as well as regional health
authorities and child and family services authorities and agencies; and
Bill 212 The Historic Trans-Canada Highway Act, an opposition Private
Member's Bill which would designate a Provincial Highway as the Historic
Trans-Canada Highway to commemorate its historical significance to Manitobans.
New Opposition Leader
After winning his Party's Leadership contest on the first ballot on April
29, 2006, Hugh McFadyen (PC - Fort Whyte) debuted in the Legislature as
leader of the opposition on May 1, 2006. Later that week Mr. McFadyen
announced a major reorganization of his shadow cabinet, shuffling a number
of prominent critic portfolios while shifting Kelvin Goertzen (PC - Steinbach)
and Heather Stefanson (PC - Tuxedo) to the Opposition House Leader and
Opposition Whip roles respectively.
New Auditor General
On July 5, 2006 Speaker George Hickes (NDP - Point Douglas) announced the
appointment of Carol Bellringer as the new auditor general for the Province
of Manitoba effective July 17, 2006. Ms. Bellringer, a chartered accountant
with an MBA jointly issued by the Warsaw School of Economics and the University
of Quebec, was the provincial auditor of Manitoba from 1993 to 1996. From
1996 to 2002, Ms. Bellringer lived in Warsaw, Poland, where she became
a founding member of the Canadian Circle of Warsaw and treasurer of the
International Women's Group. Since her return to Winnipeg, Ms. Bellringer
has served on boards and committees of Manitoba Hydro, the Winnipeg Symphony
Orchestra and CancerCare Manitoba and has been the director of private
funding for the University of Manitoba. Ms. Bellringer was unanimously
recommended by an all-party selection committee and replaces outgoing Auditor
General Jon Singleton who was appointed in 1996.
The Manitoba Legislature is currently adjourned to the call of the Speaker.
According to our rules, the House may next meet from the first Monday
after Labour Day barring an emergency or extraordinary circumstances.
Clerk Assistant / Clerk of Committees
The Second Session of the 25th Legislature drew to a close on May 19th
with Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock arriving to preside over her
final Royal Assent ceremony. In total 71 bills were enacted over the course
of the 64 day session.
Elwin Hermanson accomplished the uncommon task of seeing his Private Member's
Bill enacted by the Assembly. Bill No. 204 The Recognition of Telemiracle
Week Act was considered and passed through all stages on May 19th. The
Bill recognizes the thirty year history of the Kinsmen Foundation's fundraising
event that has raised over 68 million dollars. The foundation provides
funding for medical travel, special needs equipment, handi-vans, group
homes, community organizations and institutions that provide services to
a wide range of Saskatchewan residents.
Saskatchewan Party candidate Dustin Duncan was victorious in the June 19th
by-election in the constituency of Weyburn Big Muddy. Mr. Duncan is
familiar with the Saskatchewan Assembly, having worked in the Official
Opposition caucus prior to winning. He defeated Liberal Party leader David
Karwacki and Graham Mickleborough of the New Democratic Party.
As the Legislature moves past the two and a half year mark, Members are
reviewing their future plans in public office. Several have indicated that
they do not intend to contest their seats at the next general election.
Among those are twenty year veteran Speaker Myron Kowalsky and Mr. Hermanson,
chair of the Public Accounts Commitete. Other Members who have announced
their intention to retire include Jason Dearborn (Kindersley), Milt Wakefield
(Lloydminster), and Joanne Crofford (Regina Rosemont).
Earlier this spring, an Independent Review Committee on MLA Indemnity was
appointed to review the basic annual indemnity paid to MLAs and to determine
the manner in which the MLA indemnity should be adjusted. The committee
was composed of Art Wakabayashi, Chancellor of the University of Regina
and a former senior civil servant, as chair and Dr. Terence McKague, who
was the research assistant to the 1995 Independent Committee on MLA Compensation.
The committee examined the compensation systems in place in other jurisdictions
and received submissions from the general public. In preparing its report,
the committee was guided by the principle that the salary paid to MLAs
should be transparent, taxable and comparable to the compensation paid
to other provincial legislators and occupational groups in the private
and public sectors.
The review committee recommended the elimination of the current tax-free
annual expense allowance ($5,425) and its replacement with a 10% increase
to the annual MLA indemnity, from $73,173 to $80,500. The committee's
report was received by the Board of Internal Economy on July 7th. The
Board subsequently agreed to adopted the report's recommendations.
The House Services Committee appointed a sub-committee to study and make
recommendations on the adoption of a legislative calendar and on revisions
to the current sessional sitting times. The Saskatchewan Assembly has
been experimenting with an ad hoc calendar consisting of a short fall sitting
opened by a Throne Speech, followed by a longer spring sitting focusing
on the Budget and legislation. The sub-committee is composed of the Speaker,
who serves a chair of the House Services Committee, and the two House Leaders,
Glenn Hagel of the Government and Rod Gantefoer of the Opposition Saskatchewan
Party. The sub-committee anticipates consulting with colleagues in the
Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbian Assemblies in August and completing
a report for the fall sitting.
New Legislative Librarian
The Board of Internal Economy announced the appointment of Melissa Bennett
as the eleventh person to lead the Legislative Library on July 7th. Ms.
Bennett began her career at the Legislative Library in 1991 before assuming
a leadership position with the Provincial Library within the Department
of Learning. The Legislative Library was founded in the 19th century and
is the oldest library in the province. It has a research collection approaching
a half million volumes and is the depository library for Saskatchewan government
Governor General Visit
Governor General Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond were officially
welcomed to Saskatchewan at an outdoor ceremony in front of the Legislative
Building on May 8th. Their Excellencies visited with the general public
before delivering a speech to invited guests in the Chamber. They then
attended other events in Regina, Qu'Appelle and Fort Qu'Appelle over the
following two days.
Free State Study Mission
A delegation of officials from the legislature of the South Africa's Free
State was hosted by the Legislative Assembly from June 17th to 23rd. The
purpose of the study mission was to provide technical assistance to improve
the Free State's government's accountability for service delivery, enhance
its ability to proactively initiate legislation and perform oversight,
and to encourage public participation in the parliamentary process. The
four South Africans were able to combined detailed briefings from Saskatchewan
officials with a presentation of their own on the Free State Legislature.
While opportunities to partake in the sites and activities of Regina were
limited, they were able to sample traditional prairie hospitality and to
compare agricultural practices at the Farm Progress Show. The study mission
was primarily funded by the Canadian International Development Agency,
with assistance from the two legislatures.
Legislative Internship Program
The Saskatchewan Legislative Internship Program (SLIP) was expanded on
June 10th when it was announced that a Saskatchewan business, Rawlco Radio,
has agreed to sponsor an additional internship for Aboriginal students.
The sponsorship will ensure that at least one intern in 2006 and 2007
will be Aboriginal. In announcing its contribution, Rawlco Radio indicated
that the SLIP program reflected its corporate philosophy to build bridges
and open doors to enable Aboriginal people to participate fully in society
at all levels.
Margaret (Meta) Woods
The Ontario Legislative Assembly sat for the spring session from March
23, 2006 to June 22, 2006. By the end of the spring sitting, the Assembly
had debated and passed 15 bills that then received Royal Assent.
The only Private Members' Bill to receive Royal Assent was Bill 209, An
Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act with respect to the suspension of
drivers' licences. Introduced by David Zimmer, MPP (Willowdale) the Bill
amends the Highway Traffic Act to include the suspension of drivers' licences
for boaters who drink while operating a vessel equipped with a motor.
Question Period was dominated by the native land dispute (the First Nations'
occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia), electricity prices
and supply, and a new regulation that, in the view of the Opposition, would
exempt the government's yet-to-be-built nuclear plants from the provincial
environmental assessment process.
In the Summer 2006 issue of the Canadian Parliamentary Review we reported
that the Speaker had received a letter of resignation from Jim McCarter,
Auditor General of Ontario. On June 14, 2006, the Chair of the Standing
Committee on Public Accounts, Norm Sterling, MPP (PC), introduced Bill
129, An Act to amend the Auditor General Act. The Bill amends the Auditor
General Act to allow an Auditor General who resigns before the expiry of
his or her original term of office to be reappointed for a period that
expires no later than at the expiry of the original term. It also permits
the Auditor General to choose whether or not to be a member of the Public
Service Pension Plan.
When introducing the Bill, Mr. Sterling stated:
By passing this bill, it is our hope that the Assembly will be able to
convince the most recent Auditor to serve as Auditor General past October
4, 2007, the expected date of the next election. This would mean that he
would be responsible for the pre-election audit of the 2007-08 provincial
budget. The new Parliament elected on October 4, 2007, would choose his
successor. I want to assure all members of the Legislature that the members
of the Public Accounts Committee, including those from all three parties
continue to have the utmost respect and confidence in Mr. McCarter.
The Bill received Second and Third Reading and Royal Assent on June 20,
2006. On June 21, 2006, the House resolved to re-appoint Jim McCarter as
On May 11, 2006, the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly met
to conduct public hearings and clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 41,
An Act to create a comprehensive system of rules for the transfer of securities
that is consistent with such rules across North America and to make consequential
amendments to various Acts.
Bill 41 amends various Acts which are set out in separate parts. The Bill
outlines rules for the transfer of investment securities that reflects
current international commercial practices. These rules apply to securities
that are directly held, and those that are indirectly held.
The Bill was reported back to the House as amended by the Committee on
May 15, 2006. Subsequently, it was ordered for third reading, and received
Royal Assent on May 18, 2006.
The Standing Committee on Government Agencies is currently preparing to
conduct a review and report to the House its observations, opinions and
recommendations on the operation of three agencies, boards and commissions.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
and Hydro One have been scheduled for review the first week in September,
On Thursday, June 1, 2006, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic
Affairs held public hearings on Bill 104, An Act to establish the Greater
Toronto Transportation Authority and to repeal the GO Transit Act, 2001.
Clause by clause consideration of Bill 104 followed on Thursday, June 8,
and the Chair, Pat Hoy, MPP, reported the Bill as amended to the House
on Monday, June 12. The Bill subsequently received Third Reading and Royal
Assent on Thursday, June 22.
The Finance and Economic Affairs Committee proceeded directly to clause
by clause consideration of Bill 117, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act
to provide for an Ontario home electricity payment, on Monday, June 12,
2006. The Bill passed Third Reading on Wednesday, June 21 and received
Royal Assent on Thursday, June 22.
The Standing Committee on General Government continued its consideration
of Bill 53, An Act to Revise the City of Toronto Acts (Nos. 1 and 2), to
amend certain public Acts in relation to municipal powers and to repeal
certain Acts relating to the City of Toronto. The purpose of the Bill is
to give the City of Toronto more autonomy in the decisions that affect
the City. Clause-by-clause consideration was held May 15, 17, and 29, 2006,
and the Bill was reported back to the House, as amended, on May 30, 2006.
It received Third Reading and Royal Assent on June 12, 2006.
The Committee also considered Bill 109, An Act to revise the law governing
residential tenancies. The Bill provides for the protection of residential
tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions. As set out
in Section 1 of the Act, the Bill establishes a framework for the regulation
of residential rents and balances the rights and responsibilities of residential
landlords and tenants to provide for the adjudication of disputes and for
other processes to informally resolve disputes.
The Bill was time-allocated. The time-allocation motion provided for public
hearings on May 29, 31 and June 5, 2006, at the call of the Chair, and
for clause-by-clause consideration on June 7, 2006. The Committee met during
its regular meeting times with the addition of an evening sitting to allow
tenants who work during the day to attend and make presentations.
The Bill was reported back to the House, as amended, on June 8, 2006 and
received Third Reading on June 20 and Royal Assent on June 22, 2006.
During the summer recess, the Committee plans to travel to London, Napanee
and Sudbury to hear from the public regarding Bill 51, An Act to amend
the Planning Act and the Conservation Land Act and to make related amendments
to other Acts.
The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills will meet over
the summer recess to consider two Private Members' Public Bills - Bill
89, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act and the Coroners
Act to better protect the children of Ontario (Mr. Jackson), and Bill 120,
An Act to require the Building Code and the Fire Code to provide for fire
detectors, interconnected fire alarms and non-combustible fire escapes
The Standing Committee on Social Policy considered Bill 102, An Act to
amend the Drug Interchange- ability and Dispensing Fee Act and the Ontario
Drug Benefit Act. The Bill creates the new position of the executive officer
of the Ontario public drug programs and transfers to this newly created
position the power of the Minister and Lieutenant Governor to designate
products as interchangeable and to remove designations of interchangeable
products by way of regulation. The Act also prohibits drug manufacturers
from providing rebates to wholesalers and pharmacies with respect to interchangeable
products. Over three days of public hearings in late May and early June,
the Committee heard close to one hundred oral submissions, and received
numerous written briefs as well.
The Committee's next Bill for consideration is Bill 43, An Act to protect
existing and future sources of drinking water and to make complementary
and other amendments to other Acts. The Committee has been authorized to
meet during the summer recess and intends to travel to Walkerton, Cornwall,
Bath and Peterborough, as well as hold meetings at Queen's Park.
Bill 107, An Act to amend the Human Rights Code, was referred to the Standing
Committee on Justice Policy for consideration. The bill is intended to
revise the administration and function of the Human Rights Commission.
The current human rights system, consisting of the Ontario Human Rights
Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, was created in 1962
to enforce the Ontario Human Rights Code, the first of its kind in Canada.
The Committee is scheduled to travel to London, Ottawa and Thunder Bay
for public hearings in August. Public hearings will also be held in Toronto
after the House returns in September.
On May 18, 2006, Gerard Kennedy, MPP (Lib) for Parkdale-High Park, and
the former Minister of Education, resigned his seat in order to run for
the leadership of the federal Liberals. Mr. Kennedy had been a Member of
Provincial Parliament since first being elected in a by-election in 1996.
The Liberal leadership convention will be held in December in Montreal.
Mr. Kennedy is one of 11 candidates vying for the position.
House of Commons
The first session of the new Parliament has thus far seen the Conservative
Government, notwithstanding its slim plurality in the House, effectively
expediting the introduction, debate and passage of legislation aimed at
fulfilling its main election promises.
The re-election of Peter Milliken as Speaker of the House of Commons on
April 3, 2006 marked the début of the 39th Parliament. Speaker Milliken
was one of three candidates, all of them Liberals. Twenty years have now
passed since Members first elected Speaker John Fraser by secret ballot
on September 30, 1986.
The Speech from the Throne (April 4, 2006), roughly half the usual length,
signaled the commitment of the Government to a focused approach to the
fulfillment of five primary election promises: cutting the GST, child-care
money for parents, tougher sentences for violent crimes, new rules on government
accountability and an apology for those who paid the Chinese head tax.
In the debate on the motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from
the Throne, criticisms from opposition Members focused on the speech's
paucity of detail. The amendment and subamendment to the motion did not,
however, directly challenge the Government's declared agenda. On the sixth
and final day appointed for debate on the motion, the latter was adopted,
as amended, without the need for a recorded division.
On May 1, 2006, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of retired
Supreme Court Justice John Major to preside over a Commission of Inquiry
into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182. Established
under Part I of the Inquiries Act, the Commission will investigate certain
aspects of the 1985 Air India bombing, including key issues raised in the
November 2005 report by Bob Rae.
On May 2, 2006, the Minister of Finance, Joe Flaherty, presented the Conservative
Government's first Budget in the House. The Budget highlighted various
tax cuts, in particular a one-point reduction in the GST, effective July
1, 2006. It also included funding for a Universal Child Care Program,
a key election promise.
The Budget was strongly opposed by both the Liberal and New Democratic
parties, and supported by the Bloc Québecois, which effectively guaranteed
passage of the necessary motion. The Government acted swiftly to introduce
the usual enabling legislation (Bill C-13), which was read the third time
and passed summarily on June 6, 2006, because of procedural uncertainty
on all sides. To compensate for this, a motion That, notwithstanding the
adoption at third reading of Bill C-13, the House take note of the bill
was moved, debated and deemed withdrawn at the end of Government Orders.
The Bill received Royal Assent on June 22, 2006.
On May 17, 2006, following a six-hour debate on a Government motion to
extend the deployment of Canadian troops in Afghanistan for two years beyond
the current term, which ends in February of 2007, the motion carried narrowly
(149 to 145), largely thanks to a decision by the Liberal Party to permit
its Members to vote according to their convictions.
The Prime Minister announced, in a statment to the House on Thursday, June
15, 2006, that Canada would provide $15 million to the Asian Development
Bank to assist Afghanistan in the rebuilding of its rural irrigation systems.
On June 22, 2006, the final sitting day before the summer adjournment,
the Prime Minister rose in the House to offer apologies and promises of
financial redress in respect of the Chinese Head Tax imposed upon immigrants
to Canada from that country between 1885 and 1923. Statements in support
of the apology followed from the Liberal, Bloc Québecois and NDP leaders.
The first session of the 39th Parliament saw a number of significant legislative
Bill C-2 (An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions
on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency,
oversight and accountability), the Accountability Act, was introduced
in the House on April 11, 2006. A special Legislative Committee was struck.
Under the Chairmanship of David Tilsen (Dufferin-Caledon, CPC), the committee
commenced its study of the bill on May 17th and reported it to the House
with amendments on June 16th. It was read the third time and passed on
June 21, 2006.
Bill C-9 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conditional sentence of imprisonment))
would put an end to the use of conditional sentences including house
arrest for serious and violent offences. The Bill was read the second
time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
on June 6, 2006. At the beginning of the summer adjournment, the Committee
had not yet reported back to the House.
Bill C-10 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences
involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act)
proposing longer mandatory minimum prison sentences for crimes involving
firearms, was introduced in the House on May 4, 2006. It was read the second
time on June 13th and is currently under consideration by the Standing
Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Bill C-16 (An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act), introduced in the
House on May 30, 2006, provides for fixed dates for federal elections starting
on October 19 2009. Thereafter, elections would be set for the third Monday
in October, at intervals of four calendar years. The Bill has not yet been
debated at second reading.
Bill C-19 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make
a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act),
introduced and read the first time on June 15th, would make street racing
an offense under the Criminal Code. The Bill has not yet been debated at
Bill C-21 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (non-registration
of firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted), if passed, will
abolish the controversial long-gun registry. Introduced on June 19th, just
a few days prior to the summer adjournment, and awaiting debate at second
reading, it represents the fulfillment of an important election promise.
Bill C-22 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code (age of protection) and to
make consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act) is intended
to protect children from sexual exploitation by raising the age of sexual
consent from fourteen to sixteen. Introduced on June 22, 2006, this Bill
is also awaiting debate in the House.
Attempts were made on five separate occasions to move amendments to opposition
motions on allotted days. In each case, the Member proposing the amendment
was reminded by the Chair that such a motions may be amended only with
the consent of the motion's sponsor. On May 4, 2006, the first allotted
day for the supply period ending December 8, 2006, Carolyn Bennett (St.
Paul's), sponsor of an opposition motion supporting a Canada-wide early
learning and child care system, declined to consent to the moving, pursuant
to S.O. 85, of amendments to the motion by Paule Brunelle (Trois-Rivières)
and Olivia Chow (Toronto-Spadina).
On May 16, 2006, the third allotted day, as the House debated a motion
of Jack Layton (Toronto- Danforth) on pesticides, Paul Szabo (Mississauga
South) sought consent to propose an amendment to the opposition motion.
Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie responded that S.O. 85 specifies that an amendment
to an opposition motion may be moved only with the consent of that motion's
sponsor. Since the sponsor (Mr. Layton) was not present in the Chamber,
the amendment could not be moved.
On May 30, the fourth allotted day, during debate on a motion of Mauril
Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier) on cultural diversity, an amendment was moved
by Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) with the consent of the sponsor.
On June 1, 2006, the fifth allotted day, during debate on a motion of Paul
Crête (Montmagny-L'Islet- Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup) on gasoline prices,
Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic) failed to obtain the consent of the sponsor
to move an amendment to the opposition motion.
On June 15, 2006, the seventh allotted day, the House debated the motion
of Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain) on seniors' programs. During the
debate, Helena Guergis (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International
Trade), with the consent of the sponsor, moved an amendment.
In accordance with S.O. 27(1), and further to the unanimous adoption of
a motion to this effect, the House continued to sit until midnight from
Monday, June 19, 2006, until and including Thursday, June 22, 2006.
On Thursday, April 6, 2006, Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest) raised a
question of privilege touching upon the status and privileges of incumbent
MPs after dissolution, and prior to a general election. He alleged that
his privileges had been breached by the refusal, during the course of the
election campaign, of bureaucrats from the Department of Justice, to discuss
with him a matter which concerned him in his role as an erstwhile Member
In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, May 3, 2006, the Speaker noted that
the Parliament of Canada Act implies that after dissolution, Members are
only Members for purposes of allowances payable (Sections 55.1 and 63),
although Bylaw 305 of the Board of Internal Economy does permit them to
continue to use their offices to serve their constituents. He made reference
to numerous occasions over the years on which Members had raised questions
of privilege alleging similar obstruction by government officials and he
referred to decisions made by Speaker John Bosley on May 15, 1985 and Speaker
Gilbert Parent on October 9, 1997 in which no prima facie case of privilege
had been found even when the House was in session. He concluded that he
could not, therefore, recognize a prima facie case of privilege.
On Thursday, April 27, 2006, Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) rose to claim
that the collective privileges of the House had been breached in that the
Government had assumed direction of and control over when parliamentary
precinct flags may be lowered to half-mast. He cited a number of authorities
in support of his view that such decisions are the prerogative of the Speaker
acting on behalf of Parliament. The Speaker returned to the House with
his ruling on Wednesday, May 10, 2006. He explained that title to the buildings
and land within the parliamentary precinct is in the name of Her Majesty
in Right of Canada, and that their administration is in the hands of the
Department of Public Works. Since the authority of the Speaker applies
to the internal affairs of the House and is exercised as necessary to enable
Members to perform their parliamentary work without obstruction or interference,
and since the position of the flag is an external matter under the jurisdiction
of the owner of the building, the Speaker concluded that he could not find
a prima facie case of privilege.
On April 5, 2006, the Standing Orders governing the establishment of new
committees (S.O. 104(2), 106(2) and 108(3)(d) and (e)) were amended by
unanimous consent. Changes to the number and designation of Standing Committees
were made as follows:
The Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology
was replaced with two new committees: a) The Standing Committee on Industry,
Science and Technology, and b) The Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
The Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency
Preparedness was also replaced. In its place, the Standing Orders now provide
for: a) The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and b) The
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
The Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans' Affairs was replaced
with: a) The Standing Committee on Natural Defence, and b) The Standing
Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
The Standing Committee on Transport was replaced with: The Standing Committee
on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
One entirely new committee (with an Opposition Chair) was created: The
Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
On May 19, 2006, a motion was adopted to the effect that, notwithstanding
the Order made on Tuesday, April 25, 2006, the Standing Committee on Public
Safety and National Security be the committee for the purposes of Section
145 of the Anti-terrorism Act (2001).
On 21 April 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the nomination
of Gwyn Morgan as the first Chair of the new Public Appointments Commission,
a major element of the Conservatives' accountability program, which is
supposed to make the process of appointing people to major Government jobs
more transparent. The proposed appointment was referred to the Standing
Committee of the House of Commons on Government Operations and Estimates
for review. On May 16, 2006, the Committee voted (6-5) to request that
the Prime Minister withdraw the nomination because of concerns about Mr.
Morgan's views on immigration. The Prime Minister declined to select another
nominee, hinting that he would prefer first to seek a strong mandate in
a general election.
Opposition challenges with regard to the judgment and leadership of Conservative
MP Maurice Vellacott, led to his resignation, on May 10, 2006, as Chair
of the House Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
Mr. Vellacott had sparked controversy with comments about native people
and about Supreme Court judges.
On May 30, 2006, the House adopted a motion for concurrence in the report
of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented on
Friday, May 19, 2006. In its report, the committee had recommended that,
in accordance with section 24(3)(l) of the Conflict of Interest Code for
Members of the House of Commons, the Ethics Commissioner be instructed
not to include in the public summary prepared for Members, any information
relating to the place or manner of employment of the dependent children
of any Member.
On June 22, 2006, the House adopted a motion authorizing the Standing Committee
on Public Safety and National Security to continue its deliberations in
connection with its review of the Anti-terrorism Act (2001) beyond June
23, 2006, and to present its final report no later than December 22, 2006.
Private Members' Business
By the time the House adjourned for the summer on June 23, 2006, 149 Private
Members' Bills had been introduced and 215 Private Members' Motions had
been placed on the Order Paper.
The first complete Order of Precedence for the consideration of Private
Members' Business for the 39th Parliament was published on May 31, 2006.
In a statement to the House in this regard, the Speaker reminded Members
that any bill authorizing or necessitating the expenditure of public funds
requires a royal recommendation prior to third reading. He made reference
to ten bills on the Order of Precedence, which he said were of particular
concern in this regard (C-292, C-257, C-293, C-286, C-284, C-278, C-269,
C-295, C-303 and C-279) although he declared that he was not yet prepared
to make a definitive ruling on them. He remarked that he would welcome
suggestions from the House, the House Leaders and especially the Standing
Committee on Procedure and House Affairs as to how to improve the current
process in relation to this aspect of the management of Private Members'
The weeks that followed saw repeated challenges, in particular from the
Government House Leader, of the admissibility of particular Private Members'
Bills on these grounds. On each occasion, the Chair assured all concerned
that a ruling on admissibility would precede third reading of any relevant
Private Member's Bill.
The motion for second reading of Bill C-292 (An Act to implement the Kelowna
Accord), Private Member's Bill sponsored by the Right Hon. Paul Martin
with a view to requiring the Government to fulfill its obligations under
the Kelowna Accord, was debated for the first time, in a series of heated
exchanges, on June 2, 2006.
On June 13, 2006, in the 10th Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure
and House Affairs, presented on June 7, 2006 (Journals, 244; Debates, 2071),
was deemed concurred in. Accordingly, Bill C-291 (An Act to amend the Criminal
Code (injuring or causing the death of a child before or during its birth
while committing an offence)), standing in the Order of Precedence in the
name of Leon Benoit (Vegreville-Wainwright), became the only item of Private
Members' Business to be designated non-votable since the début of the 39th
Take-note debates were held as follows: Agricultural Issues - April 5,
2006; Canada's Commitment in Afghanistan April 10, 2006; On-going crisis
in Darfur May 1, 2006.
Opposition motions were debated as follows: Child Care (Lib) - May 4,
2006; Kyoto Protocol (BQ) - May 11, 2006; Pesticides (NDP) - May 16, 2006;
Cultural Diversity (Lib) - May 30, 2006; Gas Prices (BQ) - June 1, 2006;
Canadian Economic Growth (NDP) - June 8, 2006; Seniors (Lib) - June 15,
2006; and, Canada's Aboriginals - June 19, 2006.
On April 27, 2006, Members observed a minute of silence in honour of four
Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
On May 18, 2006, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, delivered
an address before Members of both Houses in the Chamber of the House of
Commons. Earlier that day, Members had observed a minute of silence in
honour of Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female Canadian Soldier killed
That same day, the House unanimously adopted a motion conferring honourary
Canadian citizenship upon the Dalai Lama in anticipation of the latter's
planned visit to Canada in September of this Year.
On June 21, 2006, the House concurred unanimously in the third report of
the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, marking the 50th
anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
On the eve of St. Jean Baptiste Day, the House adjourned for the summer
and the Prime Minister convened a cabinet meeting in Quebec City.
Table Research Branch
House Proceedings Directorate
The second session of the 38th Parliament adjourned on May 18, 2006. The
forty-three day spring session which began on February 14 included the
Estimates debate, a flurry of committee activity and a relatively light
legislative agenda with 34 bills receiving Royal Assent.
The Provincial Symbols and Honours Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 22), which
received Royal Assent on May 18, establishes the Kermode bear or spirit
bear as the mammal emblem of British Columbia. This non-albino, white
colour phase of the black bear is unique to the central and north coasts
of British Columbia with the highest concentrations on Gribbell and Princess
The related Park (Conservancy Enabling) Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 28) amends
the Park Act to create a new conservancy designation to protect special
areas within the central and north coast land and resource management plan
areas. It also amends the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act to establish
the first 24 conservancies consisting of more than 540,000 hectares, including
the nearly 103,000 hectare Kitasoo spirit bear conservancy on Princess
Royal Island. Although the opposition raised concerns over how Bill 28
would be implemented, they expressed general support for the bill which
passed Third Reading unopposed on May 3, 2006.
The Safety Standards Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 34) unanimously passed Third
Reading on May 8, and was granted Royal Assent 10 days later. The Act
allows local governments to obtain electricity consumption information
from electricity distributors and to share that information with the police.
It aims to help local authorities target and shut down marijuana grow
operations more quickly and efficiently. After raising several concerns
including privacy concerns cited by B.C.'s Information and Privacy Commissioner,
the opposition endorsed the legislation expressing the importance of protecting
The Education (Learning Enhancement) Statutes Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill
33) introduces legislative changes that: set out new class-size limits
for grades four through seven and students with special needs; require
school boards to enter into an agreement with the ministry to offer distributed
learning courses; and outline the kind of statistical information that
public and independent school authorities will be required to provide to
the BC College of Teachers. The Act unanimously passed Third Reading on
May 11, 2006.
The Representative for Children and Youth Act (Bill 34) establishes a new
independent statutory officer, the Representative for Children and Youth.
It empowers the Representative to provide advocacy services to children
and their families receiving designated services from government; monitor,
review and audit the provision of designated services to children and their
families; and review and investigate the critical injuries and deaths of
children. Bill 34 is, in part, the government's response to the BC Children
and Youth Review, an independent review of BC's child protection system
authored by the Hon. Ted Hughes. Endorsed by both sides of the House,
Bill 34 received Royal Assent on May 18, 2006.
Parliamentary Committee Activities
BC's parliamentary committees have been very busy over the past few months,
with the Select Standing Committees on Education and Health, and the Special
Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture each involved in extensive public
consultations pursuant to their terms of reference.
Several other parliamentary committees mandated to recommend individuals
to statutory officer positions have also been active. On May 17, 2006,
the Special Committee to Appoint a Merit Commissioner recommended Joy Illington
for appointment as the first independent Merit Commissioner of BC On May
31, members of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts decided
by motion to appoint Arn van Iersel as acting Auditor General. The Special
Committee to Appoint a Representative for Children and Youth, which received
its terms of reference on May 18, 2006, has started accepting applications
for the new position and intends to issue its final report in October.
Speaker Bill Barisoff made a presentation on Services for Members at
the 18th Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar (Practice and Procedure) held
in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands from May 23 to June 3.
Newfoundland and Labrador
On February 23rd the House met for a day to debate Bill 73, An Act To Amend
The Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act hich implemented some of
the recommendations of the Cashin Report. Richard Cashin had been asked
by Government to enquire into and report on a crab sharing pilot project
which had caused some dissatisfaction among certain stake holders in the
industry in the spring and summer of 2005.
The Second Session of the Forty-Fifth General Assembly prorogued on March
21st and Lieutenant Governor Edward Roberts delivered the Speech from the
Throne opening the Third Session on March 22nd. The Budget Speech was
delivered on March 30th and the Government's spending proposals of $4,424,206,404
were approved on May 2nd.
The House adjourned on May 23rd to the 25th to allow representatives of
all political groups to participate in a meeting with stakeholders in the
fishery. The participants discussed the need for policy renewal and restructuring
of the industry, an adjustment program for fishery workers, marketing of
the Province's seafood products, out-migration and support for communities
affected by the difficulties being experienced in the fishing industry.
Thirty-one Bills were given Royal Assent before the House adjourned for
the summer on May 25th.
Elections, Appointments, Retirements
On February 6th when nominations closed in the leadership election of the
Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador Jim Bennett was the only candidate
remaining and was acclaimed leader succeeding Gerry Reid, (Twillingate
and Fogo) who had been Acting Leader since the resignation of Roger Grimes
in June of 2005. Mr. Bennett was not a Member of the House of Assembly.
Three months after his acclamation as leader Mr. Bennett stepped down.
On May 29th the Party Executive announced that Mr. Reid would succeed
Mr. Bennet as Liberal leader. This decision was ratified at the Annual
General Meeting of the Provincial Party on June 10th. Mr Reid has been
a Member of the House since 1996.
As the House adjourned for the summer on May 25th it was expected to be
the last day in the House of Jack Harris, Q.C. as Leader of the New Democratic
Party and possibly his last day in the House as the Member for Signal Hill
- Quidi Vidi. Representatives of both sides of the House expressed their
best wishes to Mr. Harris. Mr. Harris's successor as leader of the New
Democratic Party, Lorraine Michael, was elected at the Party's convention
on May 28th
On February 21st Felix Collins was elected in the bye-election in the district
of Placentia and St. Mary's succeeding Fabian Manning, MP who vacated the
seat to run in the Federal Election of January 23rd.
John Noel, Q.C., who has been Clerk of the House since 1991, will retire
on August 31st. On May 17th the Premier made a statement paying tribute
to Mr. Noel for his dedicated service as Clerk and previously as Chief
Legislative Counsel which statement was concurred in by the Leader of the
Official Opposition and by the Leader of the New Democratic Party.
On May 8th Marlene Lambe, C.A. was appointed Chief Financial Officer for
the House of Assembly. Ms. Lambe has worked in the private sector, in
the Office of the Auditor General and in several Departments of Government.
On May 15th Charles Furey was appointed Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner
of Members' Interests. Mr. Furey is a former Member of the House of Assembly
having served five terms as the Member for St. Barbe and as a Cabinet minister
in several portfolios.
Auditor General Reports and Sequelae
On June 21st Premier Danny Williams requested the resignation from Cabinet
of Edward Byrne (Kilbride) as the result of a report submitted by the Auditor
General relating to overpayments of the Member's constituency allowance.
The Auditor General also reported that two other M.H.A.s, Randy Collins
(Labrador West) and Wally Andersen (Torngat Mountains) and a former M.H.A.,
James Walsh, were in receipt of overpayments of constituency allowances.
The Auditor General reported in addition that he had identified payments
made to four suppliers which had led him to question the legitimacy of
some of the transactions. These matters have been referred to the Royal
Newfoundland Constabulary for investigation.
On June 26th Premier Williams announced that Government intended to amend
the Internal Economy Commission Act to provide that the Auditor General
has full access to the accounts of the House in conducting his audits.
At present access is permitted at the discretion of the Internal Economy
Further, Government has appointed Chief Justice Green of the Supreme Court
of Newfoundland and Labrador as a Commissioner under the Public Enquiries
Act to conduct a comprehensive review of compensation received by M.H.A.s.
The enquiry will deal with, inter alia, constituency allowances, salary
levels and pension benefits. The Chief Justice is also authorized to undertake
an independent review and evaluation of the policies and procedures for
control of the types of expenditures and payments made by the House of
Assembly to suppliers. The Chief Justice has been asked to submit his
findings by November of this year.
Speaker Harvey Hodder announced on July 19th that, in accordance with Section
16(1) of the Auditor General Act, the Auditor General has asked for and
received Cabinet direction to conduct comprehensive annual audits of the
accounts of the House of Assembly for fiscal years 1999/2000 to 2003/04.
Furthermore, the Auditor General will be asked to review constituency allowance
expenditures for the period 1989 to2004. Constituency allowances were
introduced in 1989 in accordance with the Morgan Report on M.H.A. compensation.
In 2000 Government assigned the auditing work to an outside auditor.
In 2004 the audit of the accounts of the House was again assigned to the
There was a minor Cabinet shuffle in July as a result of the resignation
of Mr. Byrne. Kathy Dunderdale (Virginia Waters) moved from Innovation,
Trade and Rural Development and the Rural Secretariat to Natural Resources;
Trevor Taylor (Straits White-Bay North) moved from Transportation and Works
with responsibility for Labrador Affairs to Innovation, Trade and Rural
Development with responsibility for the Rural Secretariat; John Hickey,
(Lake Melville) became Minister of Transportation and Works with responsibility
for Labrador Affairs while Kevin O'Brien, (Gander) took over the Business
portfolio which until now has been the responsibility of the Premier.
The Premier also appointed Shawn Skinner, (St. John's Centre) Parliamentary
Assistant to the Premier and Charlene Johnson (Trinity Bay de Verde) Parliamentary
Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. Loyola Sullivan, (Ferryland)
Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, was appointed Government
Application to Supreme Court by former Citizens' Representative
As reported in the last issue the House removed the Citizens' Representative
from office by way of a Resolution in December. The former Citizens' Representative
is now questioning that decision of the House by way of an application
to the Supreme Court Trial Division seeking Orders in the nature of the
prerogative writs claiming, inter alia, that the House failed to respect
the rules of natural justice in taking this action. The resolution of
this case promises to be another decision to add to the extensive list
of cases in the area of parliamentary law, in particular parliamentary
Visit of Governor General
On July 6th Premier Williams, Speaker Hodder and Mr. Reid, Leader of the
Official Opposition greeted Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean, Governor General
of Canada and Jean-Daniel Lafond, along with their daughter, Marie-Éden
at the Confederation Building at the beginning of their official visit
to the Province.
Bow Wow Parliament Cartoon
On April 5th a short ceremony took place in the Chamber during which the
Lieutenant Governor, Edward Roberts, presented to the House a copy of
the famous cartoon The Bow Wow Parliament which was published in March
of 1832. The cartoon was a satirical comment on the incident wherein Sir
George Robinson, the MP for Worcestershire, took advantage of the need
for unanimous consent in the House of Commons, Westminster to extract a
commitment from the Administration to institute representative government
in the Colony. Mr. Speaker invited those in favour of accepting the picture
to say 'Bow' while the contrary-minded were invited to say 'Wow'. There
being no 'Wows' the gift was accepted nemine contradicente.
The House is expected to resume sitting in November.
Prince Edward Island
The Legislative Assembly was recalled for the Spring Sitting of the Third
Session of the Sixty-second General Assembly on March 30, 2006. It adjourned
to the call of the Speaker on May 24, 2006, and returned for a two-day
sitting on June 27, 2006. The Session was prorogued on June 28, 2006,
after 50 sitting days.
On June 27 and 28, 2006, the Members of the Legislative Assembly debated
Bill No. 49 An Act to Amend the Electoral Boundaries Act.
The Electoral Boundaries Act specified that, after the September 2003 provincial
general election, an electoral boundaries commission would be asked to
make recommendations as to the area, boundaries and names of the 27 electoral
districts in Prince Edward Island. The Commission began its work in January
2004, holding public hearings across the province. Following the release
of its interim report on June 30, 2004, the Commission held four additional
public hearings, and released its final report on October 4, 2004.
In December 2005, the Special Committee on Prince Edward Island's Electoral
Boundaries was appointed, by motion of the Legislative Assembly, to meet
and receive opinion on this final report of the Commission. As previously
reported, the Committee met six times during March and April 2006 to conduct
its consultations. As a result of its deliberations, the Committee made
a number of recommendations to improve the process of adjusting electoral
boundaries, including proposals for legislative changes.
The main recommendation of the Committee was that the area and boundaries
of the existing 27 electoral districts of the Province of Prince Edward
Island be re-distributed so as to take into account, as far as practicable,
community concerns as expressed during the public consultations, and that
the deviation in absolute parity in the number of electors in each of the
27 electoral districts be limited to plus or minus 15% as compared to the
electoral quotient (that is, the total number of electors in the province
divided by 27), with the exception of the district of Evangeline Miscouche
where the deviation was permitted to be greater to accommodate the cultural
diversity of that area. Further, the Committee recommended that Elections
PEI be charged with completing descriptions and producing maps of the boundaries
of the electoral districts. The Committee's report was adopted by the
Legislative Assembly on May 4, 2006, thus rejecting the boundaries as put
forward by the Electoral Boundaries Commission some 18 months earlier.
Elections PEI complied with the directive of the Legislative Assembly,
attempting to balance considerations of a community of interest, or community
of identity in, or the historical pattern of an electoral district, with
the democratic rights of the individual elector, as guaranteed in the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms to produce a report containing legal descriptions,
names and maps for the province's 27 electoral districts. This report formed
the basis for Bill No. 49 An Act to Amend the Electoral Boundaries Act,
introduced in the House on June 27, 2006.
The Bill proposed to amend all 27 electoral district boundaries in accordance
with the descriptions and maps produced by Elections PEI. It contained
other measures, as well, including a change to the composition of future
electoral boundary commissions, and a requirement that the Legislative
Assembly approve, by resolution, reports of future commissions and that
government introduce legislation to establish new electoral districts in
accordance with those proposals.
The Bill was amended significantly during committee stage on June 27 and
June 28, 2006. All 27 electoral boundary descriptions, as outlined in
the Bill, were rejected and replaced with another set of 27 electoral district
legal descriptions proposed by Cletus Dunn, Government House Leader. All
Members of the Opposition, citing conflict of interest, absented themselves
during deliberations on Bill No. 49. Despite this, debate on the Bill
was intense. The Bill, as amended, passed on June 28, 2006, and received
Royal Assent that same day.
It would be fair to say that there has been a great deal of media and public
comment, both locally and nationally, in the process of establishing new
electoral boundaries for the province, including reflections on the independence
of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, the involvement of politicians
in the drawing of electoral boundaries, the role of Elections PEI, and
the supposed conflict between the concerns of rural and urban voters in
Prince Edward Island.
It appears that the courts will be involved in the resolution of disputes
that have arisen, as both a private citizen and the City of Charlottetown
have indicated their intention in recent weeks to seek a legal remedy.
Tobacco Laws Come into Effect
Effective June 1, 2006, amendments to the Tobacco Sales and Access Act
prohibit the display, advertisement and promotion of tobacco products in
any place where tobacco is offered for sale in the province. The use of
countertop or wall displays, or any display that would permit a consumer,
either inside or outside the retail store, to view any tobacco products
prior to purchasing is now illegal. Store owners are permitted to have
a maximum of one sign per cash register which lists prices and types of
tobacco available, provided the sign complies with regulations. No brands
can be referenced on this sign, and text size and style is also restricted.
The amendments are the result of work the Standing Committee on Social
Development undertook in early 2004. From January to March of that year,
the Committee held public hearings on the topic of retail sale of tobacco
products. The majority of submissions called for stronger legislation
in the areas of tobacco control, education, awareness and cessation. The
Committee's recommendations, adopted by the Legislative Assembly, reflected
the direction of the public to cut down on the accessibility and visibility
of tobacco products.
This is the second stage of implementation of the recommendations by the
Committee. On January 1, 2006, pharmacies and retail stores containing
pharmacies were added to the list of designated places in which the sale
of tobacco is prohibited. The Committee's report had noted that the sale
of tobacco products in pharmacies is incompatible with the position of
the pharmacist as a health-care professional and the image of a pharmacy
as a health centre.
Installation of New Lieutenant Governor
Barbara Hagerman was sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of Prince Edward Island as the province's fortieth Lieutenant Governor
on July 31, 2006, at Province House.
Mrs. Hagerman holds a degree from Mount Allison University, where she specialized
in voice and organ. She began her career as a music teacher and has had
a distinguished performance career, including serving as a vocal soloist
with the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra. For 17 years, she was the conductor
of the Summerside Community Choir, which, under her leadership, performed
throughout the Maritimes, as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In addition to her music career, Mrs. Hagerman has devoted her energies
to volunteer work. Over the years, she has volunteered with the P.E.I.
Music Festival Association, the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals,
and served as an adjudicator with music festivals in New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Mrs. Hagerman's volunteer efforts
have also extended to helping seniors and children with special needs.
Upcoming Conference Activity
Prince Edward Island was pleased to host delegates to the joint Canadian
Council of Public Accounts Committees/Canadian Council of Legislative Auditors
annual conference held in September 10-12, 2006, in Charlottetown. In January
2007, the Twenty-fourth Canadian Conference of Presiding Officers, Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association, Canadian Region, will take place in Charlottetown.
Clerk Assistant and
Clerk of Committees
On June 15, 2006, the Assembly adjourned its proceedings until Tuesday,
October 17. During the spring sessional period, the Assembly adopted the
Governments budgetary policy as well as 3 private bills and 34 public
bills, including Bill 197, An Act to facilitate organ donation, introduced
by the Member for Viau, William Cusano. The following are among the more
noteworthy bills that were passed:
Bill 1, An Act to reduce the debt and establish the Generations Fund;
Bill 22, An Act to amend the Election Act to encourage and facilitate voting;
Bill 37, An Act respecting the provision of health services by medical
Bill 118, Sustainable Development Act;
Bill 125, An Act to amend the Youth Protection Act and other legislative
Rulings and Directives from the Chair
Last June 1, the Official Opposition House Leader, Diane Lemieux, raised
a point of order in which she maintained that the Government House Leader
could not convene the Committee on Transportation and the Environment to
give clause-by- clause consideration to Bill 9, An Act to amend the Act
respecting off-highway vehicles, since the Committee had not yet tabled
its report on the order by the Assembly to hold consultations on this Bill.
The Chair had then rendered the following ruling:
When the Assembly orders a committee to hold consultations on a bill in
pursuance of Standing Order 235, i.e. immediately after its introduction,
Standing Order 236 provides that the committee report must be tabled before
continuing the consideration of the bill. The same logic must prevail when
consultations are held in pursuance of Standing Order 146.
Furthermore, under Standing Order 174, when a committee has concluded its
proceedings with respect to some matter, its report must be tabled in the
Assembly. Consequently, the Committee cannot proceed with the clause-by-clause
consideration of Bill 9 before its report on the special consultations
has been tabled.
The President of the National Assembly, Michel Bissonnet, carried out a
mission to Morocco in April at the invitation of his Moroccan counterpart
Abdelwahad Radi, President of the House of Representatives of Morocco.
This mission enabled President Bissonnet to discuss with Mr. Radi the perspectives
of inter- parliamentary cooperation that could bring both institutions
The President of the National Assembly and four Québec Members took part
in the deliberations of the 15th General Assembly of the Ontario-Québec
Parliamentary Association held in Toronto from April 27 to 29. The discussions
focussed more particularly on three topics, namely the current political
issues in Ontario and Québec, the latest developments with regard to relations
between the Natives of Northern Québec and the Government of Québec, and
the agricultural insurance programmes.
From May 2 to 6, the National Assembly hosted the meeting of the Political
Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie. During their
work sessions, the Committee members discussed several political crisis
situations that currently exist in the Francophonie.
Within the framework of the 3rd session of the Joint Committee of the National
Assembly/Walloon Parliament held from May 16 to 20, the National Assembly
welcomed a delegation of seven parliamentarians from the Walloon Parliament.
The proceedings conducted by the parliamentarians concentrated on three
themes, namely the current political issues in Québec and Wallonia, communications
at the National Assembly and the Walloon Parliament, and the preservation
and protection of religious heritage sites.
The 7th General Assembly of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas
was held in Quito, Ecuador, from May 29 to June 3. The delegation of six
Québec Members was led by the Member for Marguerite-DYouville, Pierre
Moreau. This general assembly was held under the theme Trade Agreements
and Economic Development in the Americas.
Furthermore, from June 28 to July 3, the Member for Charlesbourg and Chairman
of the Committee on Democracy and Peace, Éric R. Mercier, headed an observation
mission on the presidential and legislative elections that were held in
Mexico on 2 July. Five Venezuelan Members and two Peruvian Members were
also part of the parliamentary delegation. They were accompanied by the
Secretary General of the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec.
The 14th edition of the Young Democrats Tournament was held from April
21 to 23. This quiz game organized by the National Assembly is intended
for Secondary 4 and 5 students and those at the Cegep level. During this
activity, participants were able to measure their knowledge of the evolution
of democracy, from Ancient Greece to this day, and become more familiar
with parliamentarism and the political history of Québec.
On 12 May, 100 sixth grade elementary students took part in the 10th legislature
of the Pupils Parliament. They examined three bills: Bill 1, An Act obliging
elementary schools to develop management and consumer skills beginning
in the first cycle; Bill 2, An Act to establish food policies in elementary
schools; and Bill 3, An Act aiming to establish a code of living that respects
the rights of students.
Last April 13, Louise Harel, Member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Leader
of the Official Opposition, Mr. Bissonnet, Member for Jeanne-Mance-Viger
and President of the National Assembly, Mr. Cusano, Member for Viau and
First Vice-President of the National Assembly, and Pierre Paradis, Member
for Brome-Missisquoi, celebrated their 25 years of parliamentary life.
As she had announced in the spring, Nicole Léger resigned on 1 June 2006
as Member for Terrebonne. The Assembly is currently composed as follows:
Québec Liberal Party, 73 Members; Parti Québécois, 44 Members; Independent
Members, 6 Members, 5 of whom are from the Action Démocratique; 2 vacant
Secretariat of the Assembly
Racism and discrimination
Following a motion moved by the Government House Leader in the National
Assembly last June 15, at the last sitting of the spring period of extended
hours of meeting, the Committee on Culture received an order to hold a
general consultation and public hearings, beginning next 12 September,
with reference to the discussion paper entitled Towards a Government Policy
to Combat Racism and Discrimination prepared by the Ministère de lImmigration
et des Communautés culturelles. Furthermore, the Committee will hold an
on-line consultation regarding this issue on the Internet site of the Assembly.
Last June 6, the Committee on Culture tabled in the National Assembly its
report on Québecs religious heritage. Prepared within the framework of
an order of initiative, the paper entitled Believing in Québecs religious
heritage was adopted unanimously and contains 33 recommendations to the
Government. These recommendations stem from the 120 briefs and 69 answers
to the on-line questionnaire that were submitted, the opinions from experts
who were heard within the framework of special consultations, as well as
from the 102 groups and individuals who were heard during the public hearings
held in Québec City, Montréal, Gatineau, Trois- Rivières, Sherbrooke, Rimouski
Several aspects make this an unprecedented order of initiative in the history
of Québecs standing committees, such as the travelling public hearings
throughout Québec, the study mission carried out in France and in Belgium,
as well as the public launching at Saint-Roch Church in Québec City. For
more information see the article written by Bernard Brodeur, Chairman of
the Committee on Culture and Member for Shefford, in this issue of the
Canadian Parliamentary Review. The report from the Committee is available
on the Internet site of the Assembly.
Access to information
Last May 31, after holding 13 sittings totalling almost 46 hours of clause-by-clause
consideration, the Committee on Culture adopted Bill 86, An Act to amend
the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection
of personal information and other legislative provisions, with over 135
This is an important piece of legislation proposing various amendments
in matters of access to information and the protection of personal information.
Some of the modifications concern the release of certain Government information
by the ministries and public bodies, the reorganization of the Commission
daccès à linformation, the subjection of the professional orders to certain
access to information measures for the public, and the possibility for
victims of offences to obtain from the Commission des libérations conditionnelles
information concerning the decisions and dates relating to the release
of the person who committed the offence.
Accountability of senior members of the public service
In June 2006, the Committee on Public Administration tabled its 16th report
on the accountability of deputy ministers and chief executive officers
of public bodies to the National Assembly. In this document, the Committee,
which is responsible for carrying out the parliamentary control of Government
ministries and public bodies, provides information on its proceedings since
January 2006. Hence, in pursuance of the Public Administration Act, it
heard several deputy ministers and chief executive officers of public bodies
who came before the Committee to explain their administrative management.
The document particularly focusses on the 2004-2005 report on the application
of the Public Administration Act as well as on the report on the implementation
of this Act entitled Five years of management based on results in the
Québec Government, on the Régie du bâtiment and on the provision of on-line
Government services. Moreover, it examines the 2004-2005 annual reports
of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, of the Société de
développement des entreprises culturelles and of the Ministère des Relations
Last June 15, the Committee on Social Affairs adopted Bill 125, An Act
to amend the Youth Protection Act and other legislative provisions. This
new legislation, which reviews various aspects of the Youth Protection
Act, adds the following elements:
Ensures that the child benefits from a stable environment on a permanent
Expands the range of options for ensuring such stability by introducing
various provisions relating to tutorship to a child;
Allows children and parents to actively participate in making decisions
and choosing measures that concern them, thus reducing the need to refer
matters to the tribunal;
Specifies which cases call for the protective measures provided for in
the Act, particularly by giving a new description of the grounds on which
the security or development of a child is considered to be in danger and
by identifying the factors to be taken into consideration to determine,
for instance, whether a report should be accepted for further analysis;
Clarifies certain rules governing the respect of a childs privacy, the
accessibility and disclosure of information, and the length of time information
held by the director of youth protection may be kept;
Revises and simplifies procedural rules to allow the tribunal to handle
certain cases more quickly while respecting childrens rights;
- Introduces a number of other amendments, including legislative and regulatory
rules governing placement of a child in premises providing close supervision
of the childs behaviour and movements.
Last 15 June, the Committee on Public Finance adopted Bill 1,
An Act to
reduce the debt and establish the Generations Fund. This bill follows
up on a measure announced in the Budget Speech of 23 March 2006 and intended
to reduce the Governments debt burden to less than 25 % of Québecs gross
domestic product not later than 31 March 2026. To achieve this, the Generations
Fund was created and will be made up, in particular, of sums obtained from
charges on hydraulic power, profits made by Hydro-Québec on the sale of
electricity outside Québec, revenue from fees or charges for water withdrawal,
sums deriving from the sale of assets and revenue from the Funds investments
which are managed by the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec.
In spring 2006, the Select Committee on the
Election Act tabled its two
reports containing observations, conclusions and recommendations, most
of which were adopted unanimously, at the National Assembly.
The first volume, tabled on April 24, 2006, concerns the manner of voting,
while the second, tabled on May 31, 2006, concerns the voting procedure
and incentives to promote the representation of women and ethnocultural
This Select Committee was established by the National Assembly in June
2005 to examine the draft bill to replace the Election Act, tabled in December
2004, as well as various issues in relation to the voting procedure, voting
as well as political representativity.
For the first time within the framework of parliamentary proceedings, a
citizens committee composed of eight individuals representing current
Québec society provided non-partisan and consultative assistance to the
members of a committee in carrying out a mandate.
During the general consultation, the Select Committee received 374 briefs
from groups and individuals. Furthermore, 1500 citizens sent in their comments
by mail and the Internet. In total, the members and the citizens committee
heard 379 groups and individuals during the public hearings that took place
in 16 cities throughout Québec. The reports from the Select Committee are
available on the Internet site of the Assembly.
Last June 14, following the proceedings of the Select Committee on the
Election Act, the Committee on Institutions adopted Bill 22, An Act to
amend the Election Act to encourage and facilitate voting.
This new legislation introduces several innovative measures such as:
- setting up mobile boards of revisors and allowing revision requests to
be filed by mail, fax or electronic means;
- allowing electors to vote in any of the offices set up by the returning
officer in their electoral division from the eleventh to the ninth day
and from the sixth to the fourth day before polling day;
- allowing electors who are unable to vote in the electoral division of their
domicile to vote at the returning officers office in the electoral division
in which they are residing temporarily, but for the candidates running
in the electoral division of their domicile;
- allowing inmates to vote by mail in the same manner as electors outside
- extending advance polling hours and allowing advance polling in private
residences for the elderly;
- organizing mobile polling for electors who cannot leave home for health
Secretariat of Committees
Translation: Sylvia Ford
Secretariat of the Assembly
The Third Session of the Fifty-fifth Legislature continued sitting through-out
the spring. The session, which opened on December 6, 2005, adjourned for
the summer on June 22, 2006, for a total of 54 sitting days. The Lieutenant-Governor
Herménégilde Chiasson, gave Royal Assent to 35 Bills on the final sitting
day. Eleven Bills were passed and received Royal Assent earlier in the
Among the significant pieces of Legislation passed during the session were
Bill 81, Energy and Utilities Board Act and Bill 82, Petroleum Products
Pricing Act, both introduced by the Minister of Energy, Brenda Fowlie
Bill 81 replaces the previous Public Utilities Act, established in 1910.
The new Act provides a more contemporary framework for establishment of
the Board and designation of the Board's general powers. The Leader of
the Opposition, Shawn Graham, observed that although the Opposition agreed
with the need for change and modernization of the legislation, there was
some concern with respect to particular sections of the Bill, particularly
the section relating to the revocation of the current Chairman's appointment
and the right to sue for recompense.
Bill 82 was introduced on June 15 in response to the government's stated
effort to bring price stability into the motor fuel and home heating oil
markets for the consumers of New Brunswick. The Bill, which received significant
debate in the House, replaces the previous Gasoline, Diesel Oil and Home
Heating Oil Pricing Act and will regulate the maximum allowable price of
motor and heating fuels in the province. During debate at Second Reading,
Opposition House Leader Kelly Lamrock argued that the real question was
not whether one approves of price regulation but whether gas prices would
actually go down and that consumers would benefit from regulation. The
Act received Royal Assent on June 22 and price regulation went into effect
in the province on Saturday July 1.
On May 3, several supply resolutions with respect to the estimates of the
Department of Transportation were negatived in Committee of Supply. However,
the House as a whole did not concur in the report of the Committee and
the Department's estimates were ultimately referred back to the Committee
for consideration and subsequent approval.
On May 30, the House considered a motion of non-confidence in the Speaker,
Michael Malley which had been moved by the Opposition House Leader. The
motion came about in response to the Speaker's earlier announcement on
April 13 that he would no longer be sitting as an independent but would
be rejoining the Government caucus while continuing to serve as Speaker.
The motion was defeated following a relatively brief debate.
Due to the close standings in the House, progress in considering estimates
and legislation proceeded at a slow pace during most of the session. Consequently,
the Standing Committee on Procedure, chaired by the Government House Leader,
Bev Harrison, held several meetings during the course of the session to
consider ways in which the House might facilitate its work and better ensure
the orderly flow of business. The Committee presented a detailed report
to the House on May 30, 2006. The report recommended for consideration
numerous fundemental changes to the Standing Rules and practices of the
On May 31, however, the Government and Official Opposition entered into
an agreement to ensure the effective and efficient functioning of the remainder
of the 55th Legislative Assembly. Among the matters agreed to were: consideration
of all remaining budgetary estimates by June 16; a legislative calender
established for the balance of 2006 and 2007; passage of all appropriation
and budget implementation bills on the day they are introduced; the existing
pairing arrangement in Committees of the whole House to be respected; Bill
45, An Act to Amend the Education Act, to be referred to the Standing Committee
on Law Amendments for further study; and the Opposition is to Chair the
Standing committees on Education and Health Care.
Following the announcement of the agreement, the consideration of the business
of the House proceeded in a more orderly and efficient fashion. All of
the budgetary estimates and numerous pieces of legislation were adopted
prior to the summer adjournment.
On June 20, the Speaker delivered a detailed ruling with respect to two
allegations of breaches of privilege or contempt that had been raised on
June 7. The matters involved the threatening of a law suit against a Member
and the alleged service of a Notice of Action and Statement of Claim on
a Member within the legislative precincts. The Speaker ruled that although
the actions may have been improper, they did not amount to a prima facie
case of a breach of privilege in this instance.
Committees remained active during the session. On June 21, the Standing
Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Eric Allaby (Fundy Isles), tabled
a detailed report outlining the activities of the Committee over the previous
year. The Committee reviews the activities and spending of all offices
and departments of government on an annual basis. The Standing Committee
on Crown Corporations, chaired by Wally Stiles (Petitcodiac), also remained
active, reviewing the various Crown agencies as well as each of the Province's
eight Regional Hospital Authorities.
The Standing Committee on Private Bills, chaired by
Milt Sherwood (Grand
Bay - Westfield), held several meetings and tabled two reports recommending
several private Bills for the approval of the House.
The Standing Committee on Law Amendments began a review of Bill 6,
Act, which was introduced during the current session. The proposed Act
ensures fairness in the relationship between a franchisee and a franchisor.
The Bill is based on a model act that was adopted by the Uniform Law Conference
of Canada. The public was invited to submit briefs by July 31.
Recognizing that literacy is fundamental to the soci-economic development
of all people in New Brunswick, the House appointed a new Select Committee
on Literacy on June 21. The Committee will be charged with studying and
conducting consultations to develop recommendations for a long-term plan
to improve literacy rates in all regions of the province. It was agreed
that the Committee would be chaired by a Member of the Official Opposition.
Under the sessional calendar agreed to in the House, the Third Session
was scheduled to resume on Wednesday October 18, 2006. However, on August
10, Premier Bernard Lord, (Moncton East), announced that he would visit
the Lieutenant-Governor on August 19 and that the House would be dissolved
and a general election called for Monday September 18, 2006.
The next election will be held under new electoral boundaries, as prescribed
in the Final Report of the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission.
Although the number of electoral districts will remain the same at 55,
two ridings will disappear under the new electoral map and two new ridings
will be created, one in the Moncton- Dieppe area and one in greater Fredericton.
A number of long-serving Members have announced that they will not be running
in the next election, including former Conservative Ministers Elvy Robichaud
(Tracadie-Sheila), Peter Mesheau (Tantramar) and Milton Sherwood (Grand
Bay - Westfield), as well as Liberal Member Eric Allaby, whose riding of
Fundy Isles will cease to exist under the new electoral map. Liberal Member Scott Targett (York) has also announced that he will not be reoffering.
At the time of the announcement of the general election, the standings
in the House were 28 Conservatives, 26 Liberals and one independent.
Donald J. Forestell
Clerk Assistant and
Clerk of Committees
The Nova Scotia House of Assembly met on May 4, 2006, the first item of
business being the Speech from the Throne; and on May 9, 2006, the Minister
of Finance gave his budget speech and tabled the estimates for the next
fiscal year. However, before the estimates could be referred to the Committee
of the Whole House in Supply, the House dissolved on May 13, 2006 and a
general election called for June 12, 2006.
At dissolution the standings in the House were as follows: 25 Progressive
Conservatives, 15 New Democrats, 10 Liberals, 1 Independent, 1 vacancy.
As a result of the general election, the standings in the House are as
follows: 23 Progressive Conservatives, 20 New Democrats and 9 Liberals.
The new General Assembly met on June 29, 2006, opening with the election
of Cecil Clark as Speaker and the appointment of Kenneth Grantham as Sergeant-at-Arms
and the reading of the Speech from the Throne.
Francis MacKenzie, Leader of the Liberal Party failed to win a seat in
the House and resigned as Leader of the Liberal Party a few days after
At this sitting the budget was unanimously approved and ten public bills
(including the Appropriations Act) were passed. All of these bills were
introduced by the Government.
The House adjourned for the summer on July 14, 2006.