Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
The 45th CPA Regional Conference was held in Winnipeg from July 23-29,
2007. Approximately 80 delegates from every Canadian legislature except
Ontario were in attendance. Among the special guests were Dr. William Shija,
Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Edna Moyle,
Speaker of the Cayman Islands, and two members of the British House of
Commons, Michael Connarty and Greg Knight. A number of provincial and territorial
Speakers were also in attendance including Ken Kowalski (Alberta), Bill
Barisoff, (British Columbia), Eugene McGinley (New Brunswick) Harvey Hodder
(Newfoundland and Labrador), Paul Delorey (Northwest Territories), Cecil
Clarke (Nova Scotia) Kathleen Casey (Prince Edward Island) Myron Kowalsky
(Saskatchewan) and Ted Staffen (Yukon). The Conference was hosted by the
Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, George Hickes.
Following the official opening Secretary General Shija gave a presentation
on the work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The first business
session, chaired by Speaker Delorey, featured a presentation by Erin Selby
MLA of Manitoba on Dealing with the Media. As a former journalist and a
newly elected MLA she was able to give delegates an in depth view of how
news rooms work and some valuable tips to facilitate dealing with the media.
The second session, chaired by Don Toth MLA (Saskatchewan), consisted of
a presentation by Hunter Tootoo MLA of Nunavut who described the Reporting
Relationship between the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut and its independent
officers. He also pointed out a number of unique features of the consensus
style government that is used in Canada's newest territory.
The third session, chaired by Myrna Driedger MLA (Manitoba) featured Professor
David Docherty of Sir Wilfrid Laurier University. He presented some findings
from an ongoing research project on Members of Parliament Who Cross the
The fourth session chaired by Mary Anne Jablonski MLA (Alberta) featured
a presentation by Grahman Steele MLA of Nova Scotia. He spoke about an
important but frequently misunderstood topic the sub judice convention
in a paper entitled Reconciling Free Speech and Fair Trials: What to do
when a matter is Before the Courts.
The fifth session chaired by Speaker Hodder, featured a presentation by
Geoffrey Kelley MNA. He outlined a recent initiative by the Quebec National
Assembly, Creation of a Special Research Chair on Parliamentary Government
The sixth session, chaired by Speaker Hickes, was presented by Jenny Kwan
MLA of British Columbia. She spoke on Seeing Beyond the Political Horizon:
Standards of Care in the Inner City.
The seventh session, chaired by Bonnie Korzeniowski (Manitoba) featured
a presentation on Women and Politics by Jennifer Howard MLA of Manitoba.
The final session on Youth Voter and Political Apathy was chaired by Speaker
Staffen. It consisted of a presentation by Dr. Kim Peers on the University
of Manitoba and a panel of university students.
The conference included a number of social events designed to give delegates
an opportunity to sample Manitoba society and hospitality. These included
a reception hosted by the Lieutenant Governor, John Harvard; a dinner and
Red River cruise on a paddlewheel boat, dinner at the Manitoba Museum with
entertainment provided by the Aboriginal Walking Woof Hoop Dancer, the
French Canadian folk singing group La Bardasse and the Rozmai Ukrainian
Dance Company. Among optional excursions offered to delegates were a Prairie
Grassland and Bison Herd tour, a visit to the Mennonite Heritage Village,
a round of golf at The Meadows or a morning of fishing on the Red River.
The Conference concluded with a traditional Manitoba Social and Dinner
including entertainment and a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction
will go to support research into fighting breast cancer.
Delegates were unanimous in their congratulations to Speaker Hickes and
the legislative staff led by Patricia Chaychuk, for hosting such a successful
conference. Next year the Regional Conference will be held in Nova Scotia.
Meeting of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians
Following a precedent established last year in Ottawa the Commonwealth
Women Parliamentarians held a one day Conference immediately preceding
the opening of the Canadian Regional Conference. About two dozen female
legislators from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the federal
Parliament attended as did Edna Moyle, Speaker of the Cayman Islands. The
Conference was chaired by Charlotte L'Écuyer, Chair of the CWP.
There were three presentations. The first was by Susan Thompson, former
Mayor on Winnipeg who spoke on Beyond the Glass Ceiling an Independents
Perspective. The session was chaired by Sandy Lee MLA of the Northwest
The next session was on First Nations Women in Leadership: Challenges
and Opportunities. The presenters were Chief Betsy Kennedy from the Assembly
of Manitoba Chiefs First Nations Womens Committee and Keely Ten Fingers,
a Policy Analyst specialising in Womens Issues. The session was chaired
by Myrna Dreidger, MLA of Manitoba.
The topic for the third session was Adjusting to Parliamentary Life and
featured a presentation by Myrna Phillips, former Speaker of the Manitoba
Legislature. This session was chaired by Carolyn Bolivar-Getson MHA of
At the closing session a number of suggestions were considered for inclusion
in the 2008 conference scheduled for Nova Scotia.
New Speaker in Prince Edward Island
The New Speaker of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly is Kathleen
Casey. She was elected on July 6, 2007.
Ms. Casey was born in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, where she received her
early education, graduating from Breton Education Center in 1980. In 1984,
she graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science
in Physical Education. She became an Islander by choice in 1986 when she
was hired by the Community of West Royalty to be their Recreation Director,
and in 1995 became the Superintendent of Parks for the City of Charlottetown.
In 1997, Ms. Casey was elected to Charlottetown City Council and then re
elected in 2000, where she served until 2003.
Active in her community, Ms. Casey is the Past-chair of the United Way
of P.E.I. Campaign. In 2004, she was appointed by Paul Martin to the Prime
Minister's External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities. Ms. Casey
has also served on the Board of Directors of the Confederation Centre of
the Arts, as well as the Four Neighborhoods Community Health Centre. She
is also a volunteer with the Charlottetown Minor Hockey Association and
Holy Redeemer Parish.
When not serving in an elected or volunteer role, Ms Casey laces on her
skates and takes to the ice as a member of the Charlottetown Hockey Mommas.
This is a group of moms who raise money for initiatives to fight breast
cancer on Prince Edward Island.