New Speaker in Saskatchewan
The Speaker of the 26th Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan is Don Toth,
MLA for Moosomin. The Speaker is a Member of the Legislative Assembly elected
in a secret ballot by all other MLAs to maintain order in the House in
an impartial manner. This election takes place after each general election,
or when the office of Speaker becomes vacant for any reason. Mr. Toth was
the only MLA to put forth his name for the office.
He was first elected in the 1986 general election and was re-elected in
1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. He has served as the Legislative Secretary
to the Minister of Health and Chairman of the Crown Corporations Committee.
He was the Oppositions Deputy House Leader, Deputy Whip and Deputy Chair
of Committees. His Opposition critic duties have included Health, Highways,
Labour, Public Service Commission, Social Services, Corrections and Public
Safety and Culture, Youth and Recreation.
Speaker Toth replaces Myron Kowalsky, former MLA for Prince Albert Carlton,
who retired before the general election in November.
Twenty Fifth Canadian Presiding Officers' Conference
Speakers and Presiding Officers from every Canadian legislature except
Nunavut met in Quebec City from January 24-27, 2008.
The Presiding Officers' Conference was hosted by the President of the Quebec
National Assembly, Michel Bissonnet. Other Speakers in attendance included:
Peter Milliken (House of Commons), Bill Barisoff (British Columbia); Don
Toth (Saskatchewan); Steve Peters (Ontario); Roy Boudreau (New Brunswick);
Alfie MacLeod (Nova Scotia); Kathleen Casey (Prince Edward Island); Roger
Fitzgerald (Newfoundland and Labrador); Ted Staffen (Yukon), and Paul
Delorey (Northwest Territories).
The first business session, chaired by Speaker Casey, dealt with the theme
of Parliamentary Management Boards and the Role of the Speaker in Effective
Decision Making. The lead presenter was Speaker Barisoff.
The second session was entitled The Secrets of an Effective Speakership
and it featured presentations by Speakers Milliken and Bissonnet. The
chair was Deputy Speaker Bonnie Korzeniowski of Manitoba. The third session
was chaired by Speaker Fitzgerald and featured a presentation by Speaker
Boudreau on Maintaining Order and Decorum.
The First Vice President of the National Assembly, Fatima Houda-Pepin,
chaired the fourth session which was devoted to the report by Chief Justice
Derek Green of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Clerk of the House of Assembly
of Newfoundland and Labrador, William Mackenzie made the presentation.
The fifth session was entitled The Canadian Parliamentary System; Pragmatic
Adaptations and featured a presentation by Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin
substituting for the Speaker of the Senate. The Chair of this session was
The final session, chaired by Speaker Peters, featured a presentation by
Louis Massicotte on the newly created Research Chair on Democracy and Parliamentary
Institutions at Laval University.
Following the conference delegates were taken to the Duchesnay Tourist
Station near Quebec City where they were given a tour of the facilities
including the Ice Hotel. Later they had an opportunity to observe the Red
Bull Crashed Ice competition whereby skaters from several countries hurtled
themselves, four at a time, at speeds up to 50 km/hr down a specially constructed
ice course in quest of a $5,000 prize for the fastest time.
All delegates and observers expressed their appreciation to Speaker Bissonnet
and his staff headed by Secretary General François Côté for making the
25th conference such a memorable event.
Québec City 1608-2008
During the Conference delegates were briefed on the numerous events being
planned to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec. Lucie
Latulippe of the organizing committee outlined some highlights including
a free open air concert by Céline Dion on the Plains of Abraham on August
22, 2008, a special performance of the Cirque du Soleil on October 19,
2008, a performance of two operas, le Château de Barbe-bleue by Béla Bartók
and Erwartung by Arnold Schönberg, in association with Robert Lapage from
October 18-25. For a complete list of all events see Myquebec2008.com.
On July 3, 2008, the precise anniversary of the founding of Québec by Samuel
de Champlain, all capital cities in Canada are invited to join Québec City
in ringing their bells or chimes at 11 am Eastern Daylight Saving Time.
John Porter, Managing Director of the Musée national des beaux-arts du
Québec briefed delegates on the special exhibits being organized by the
museum including an unprecedented exhibition of 271 paintings, sculptures,
jewellery and other works from the collection of the Louvre to be held
from June 5 to October 26, 2008.