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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Forty Sixth Canadian Regional Conference, Nova Scotia 

Fifty years ago the first meeting of Canadian members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association took place in Halifax.  From July 22-28, 2008 members again met in Nova Scotia which was marking its 250th anniversary of representative government. 

The host of the Conference was Speaker Alfie MacLeod of Nova Scotia and a number of other Speakers attended including: Ken Kowalski (Alberta), Kathleen Casey (Prince Edward Island), Steve Peters (Ontario), Roger Fitzgerald (Newfoundland and Labrador), George Hickes (Manitoba), Roy Boudreau (New Brunswick), Don Toth (Saskatchewan), Paul Delorey (Northwest Territories), Ted Staffen (Yukon), and Peter Kilabuk (Nunavut). 

The Conference was officially opened by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Mayann E. Francis. Speaker MacLeod welcomed delegates and gave them an overview of the many ways Nova Scotia has been a pioneer in the development of democratic institutions. Claire Curtis-Thomas, MP of the United Kingdom also spoke at the opening as did Pennelope Beckles, Deputy Speaker of the Trinidad and Tobago House of Representatives. Both referred to the special links between their country and Nova Scotia. 

The topics and presenters were as follows: 

  • From Billion Dollar Deficits to Billion Dollar Surpluses in Four Short Years
    Presenter: Steve Kent, MHA, Newfoundland & Labrador
    Chair: Speaker Kowalski 
  • Manitoba’s Special Envoy for Military Affairs: The Journey
    Presenter: Bonnie Korzeniowski, MLA, Manitoba
    Chair: Speaker MacLeod 
  • The Estimates Process: Issues and Reform
    Presenter: Harry Bloy, MLA, British Columbia
    Chair: Speaker Casey 
  • Parliaments and Sustainable Development
    Presenter: Geoffrey Kelley, MNA, Québec
    Chair: Speaker Peters 
  • Democracy 250: Commemorating 250 years of Representative Government in Canada
    Presenters: Russell MacLellan,  Premier of Nova Scotia (1997-1999) and John Hamm, Premier of Nova Scotia (1999-2006)
    Chair: Speaker Fitzgerald 
  • The Nova Scotia House of Assembly: On the Cusp of Change?
    Presenter: Lori Turnbull, Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University
    Chair: Speaker Hickes 
  • Democratic Reforms at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
    Presenter: Speaker Kowalski, Alberta
    Chair: Speaker Toth 
  • Supply Management – Benefits to Producers and Consumers
    Presenter: Alan McIsaac, MLA, Prince Edward Island
    Chair: Speaker Delorey 

During the course of the conference delegates were treated to numerous examples of traditional Nova Scotian hospitality including a trip to Peggy's Cove, a reception at Province House, a dinner at Pier 21, Canada's Immigration Museum, and a musical performance by Drum! Both first time and return visitors came away with a deep appreciation for the political, cultural, military and sea-faring traditions of the host province. They were also unanimous in their appreciation to Speaker MacLeod and his staff for an excellent conference. 

Meeting of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians — Canadian Region 

On July 21 the Annual Meeting of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians was held in Halifax immediately before the Annual Canadian Regional Conference of CPA. 

In the morning the Steering Committee, chaired by Charlotte L’Écuyer, MNA, Québec, met to discuss future projects.  This was followed by several business sessions.  The first dealt with Campaign School and was chaired by Maria Minna, MP.  It featured a presentation by Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, MLA, Nova Scotia and Minister, Advisory Council on the Status of Women. 

The second and third session both dealt with the topic of women in leadership.  The second session was Chaired by Myrna Driedger MLA Manitoba and consisted of a presentation by Alexa McDonough, MP and former Leader of the federal New Democratic Party. 

The third session was chaired by Katherine Whittred, MLA, British Columbia and featured a presentation by the Speaker of the Prince Edward Island Legislature, Kathleen Casey

The final session was chaired by Susan Sullivan, MHA of Newfoundland and Labrador.  It was entitled “Turning up the Volume” and featured a presentation by Fran Gagnon, Executive Director of Equal Voice. 

New Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians 

The new Chair of the the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians – Canadian Region is Maria Minna.  She replaces Mme L'Écuyer from Québec whose term expired.  Ms Minna represents Beaches–East York in the House of Commons and was Minister of International Co-operation from 1999 – 2002. She was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and has been re-elected four times. She is a former chair of the Finance Committee of the House of Commons, the Social Policy Committee of the National Liberal Caucus, the Canada-Sri Lanka Friendship Group and the Canadian Branch of the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament. She is presently critic for the Status of Women. 

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 31 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-09-14