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| Alberta | British Columbia | Manitoba | New Brunswick | Newfoundland and Labrador | Nova Scotia | Ontario | Prince Edward Island | Quebec | Saskatchewan | Senate | House of Commons |

Senate 

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. 

Committees 

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 committee’s 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 committee’s 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 committee’s study of the news media which began in March 2003. 

The second of three reports on Canada’s 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 Government’s 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, “Wounded—Canada’s 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. 

Speaker's Rulings 

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. 

Legislation 

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. 

Motions 

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

Milestones 

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. 

Mary Mussell 

Journals Branch 

Alberta

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. 

Other News 

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, 2004. 

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:
www.virtualvisit.learnalberta.ca. 

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. 

Caucus Changes 

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. 

Micheline Orydzuk 
Clerk of Journals/Table Research 

 

Manitoba 

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 transparency; 
  • 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; and 
  • Bill 36 – The Youth Drug Stabilization (Support for Parents) Act, designed to assist parents in helping children suffering from severe and persistent substance abuse; 

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. 

Summer Recess 

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. 

Rick Yarish
Clerk Assistant / Clerk of Committees 

 

Saskatchewan 

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. 

Member News 

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. 

Committee Business 

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 publications. 

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
Clerk Assistant

 

Ontario

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 Auditor General. 

Committee Activity 

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, 2006. 

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 (Mr. Prue). 

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. 

Other Matters 

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. 

Susan Sourial
Committee Clerk 

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. 

Legislation 

The first session of the 39th Parliament saw a number of significant legislative initiatives: 

  • 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 second reading. 
  • 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. 

Procedure 

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. 

Privilege 

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 of Parliament. 

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. 

Committees 

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' Business. 

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 Parliament. 

Other Matters 

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 in Afghanistan. 

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. 

Gary Sokolyk 
Procedural Clerk
Table Research Branch
House Proceedings Directorate

British Columbia

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. 

Legislation 

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 Royal Islands. 

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 community safety. 

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. 

Other Matters 

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. 

Mary Storzer 
Committee Researcher 

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 Commission. 

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 Auditor General. 

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 House Leader. 

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 privilege. 

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. 

Elizabeth Murphy 
Clerk Assistant 

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.

Significant Legislation 

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. 

Marian Johnston 

Clerk Assistant and
Clerk of Committees 

Quebec

On June 15, 2006, the Assembly adjourned its proceedings until Tuesday, October 17. During the spring sessional period, the Assembly adopted the Government’s 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 specialists
  • Bill 118, Sustainable Development Act
  • Bill 125, An Act to amend the Youth Protection Act and other legislative provisions

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. 

Interparliamentary relations 

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 together. 

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-D’Youville, 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. 

Educational Activities 

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

Other Matters 

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 seats. 

Manon Voyer 

Secretariat of the Assembly 

Standing Committees 

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 l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles. Furthermore, the Committee will hold an on-line consultation regarding this issue on the Internet site of the Assembly. 

Religious heritage 

Last June 6, the Committee on Culture tabled in the National Assembly its report on Québec’s religious heritage. Prepared within the framework of an order of initiative, the paper entitled “Believing in Québec’s 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 and Saguenay. 

Several aspects make this an unprecedented order of initiative in the history of Québec’s 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 amendments. 

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 d’accès à l’information, 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 internationales. 

Youth Protection 

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 basis; 
  • 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 child’s 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 children’s rights; 
  • Introduces a number of other amendments, including legislative and regulatory rules governing placement of a child in premises providing close supervision of the child’s behaviour and movements. 

Generations Fund  

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 Government’s debt burden to less than 25 % of Québec’s 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 Fund’s investments which are managed by the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec. 

Select Committees 

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 minorities. 

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 officer’s 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 Québec; 
  • 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 reasons. 

Martin Cardinal 
Secretariat of Committees
Translation: Sylvia Ford
Secretariat of the Assembly 

New Brunswick

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 session. 

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 (Kennebecasis). 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 House. 

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. 

Committee Activities 

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, Franchises 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.  

Election Call 

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 

Nova Scotia 

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 the election. 

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. 

Art Fordham 

Assistant Clerk 


Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 29 no 3
2006






Last Updated: 2019-07-15