| New Brunswick
| Prince Edward Island
| House of Commons
The 2nd session of the 39th Legislature adjourned to the call of the Speaker
on October 9, 2008 following a busy fall sitting.
A number of Bills held over from the spring session proceeded this fall
through Report Stage and Concurrence and Third Reading. The House spent
a great deal of this time on Report Stage, with close to 100 Report Stage
Amendments being considered in September and October.
Several Government Bills received Royal Assent before the end of the session,
Bill 17 The Environment Amendment Act (Permanent Ban on Building or Expanding
Hog Facilities), which prohibits the construction or expansion of confined
livestock areas for pigs and pig manure storage facilities in specified
areas of Manitoba.
Bill 37 The Lobbyists Registration Act and Amendments to the Elections
Act, the Elections Finances Act, the Legislative Assembly Act and the Legislative
Assembly Management Commission Act, which introduces a wide range of amendments,
-Requiring the registration of people who lobby the government, government
agencies or Members of the Legislative Assembly.
-Mandating that elections be held every four years in October;
-Establishing an annual mailing expense budget for caucuses and Members.
Bill 38 The Balanced Budget, Fiscal Management and Taxpayer Accountability
Act, which replaces The Balanced Budget, Debt Repayment and Taxpayer Accountability
Act and establishes new requirements for fiscal accountability and balanced
Bill 45 The Teachers Pensions Amendment Act which changes the Teachers
pension cost-of-living adjustment through the pension adjustment account.
Bill 47 The Centreport Canada Act which creates CentrePort Canada,
a private-sector focused corporation focussed on developing and promoting
Manitobas inland port. The corporation will build on the provinces well-established
network of air, rail, sea and trucking routes.
Additionally, the House passed the following Private Members Bills:
Bill 232 the Public Schools Amendment Act (Anaphylaxis Policies) (sponsored
by Erin Selby NDP, Southdale) which requires school boards to develop
an anaphylaxis policy to meet the needs of pupils who have serious allergies.
Bill 300 the Royal Lake Of The Woods Yacht Club Incorporation Amendment
Act (sponsored by Heather Stefanson PC, Tuxedo) which amends the object
of the club and repeals provisions about issuing stock in the club.
The House also devoted some time to the consideration of two Matters of
Urgent Public Importance, debated with the unanimous agreement of the House.
On September 8, 2008 Ralph Eichler (PC Lakeside) brought forward a motion
to debate the issue of flooding and excess moisture conditions which had
created severe challenges in several regions of Manitoba, including the
negative impact on the agriculture sector, local governments, businesses
and citizens. On September 10, 2008 Kevin Lamoureux (Independent Liberal
Inkster) initiated a debate on Air Canadas announcement of plans to
close its flight attendant base in Winnipeg.
The Manitoba Public Accounts Committee met in September and October to
consider Auditor Generals reports on Hecla Island Land and Property Transactions,
a review of the Workers Compensation Board, as well as the Manitoba Public
Accounts for the last fiscal year. The Committee expressed a desire to
meet again before the end of the year.
From October 16 to 19 2008, Speaker George Hickes hosted the 30th Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association (CPA) Canadian Regional Seminar. Held at the
Fairmont Hotel and the Manitoba Legislature, the seminar featured business
sessions covering the following topics:
Urban Rural Disconnect
Newfoundland and Labrador Audit Committee
Rural Development Initiatives in Prince Edward Island
Nurse Recruitment and Retention
The Role of Private Members Legislation and Public Policy
The 3rd session of the 39th Manitoba Legislature began on Thursday, November
20, 2008 with a Speech from the Throne.
Clerk Assistant /
Clerk of Committees
One week before the scheduled fall opening, the Leader of the Opposition
and former Premier, Lorne Calvert, announced that he would be stepping
down as leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party. Mr. Calvert first
entered the Assembly in 1986 and served in the cabinet of Roy Romanow before
himself becoming the NDP leader and Premier in 2001. He represented a Moose
Jaw constituency from 1986 until 1999 and has been the MLA for Saskatoon
Riversdale since 2001. Mr. Calvert will continue to lead his party until
a new leader is chosen at a convention in June 2009.
Saskatchewan politicians reassembled in Regina early on October 22nd to
welcome a new colleague and to prorogue the first session. Doyle Vermette
was formally presented in the Assembly by Mr. Calvert and deputy leader
Pat Atkinson before taking his seat to hear Lieutenant Governor Gordon
Barnhart read the prorogation speech.
The second session of the Saskatchewan Assembly opened later that afternoon.
Under the title A stronger Saskatchewan, a better life, The Lieutenant
Governor outlined the government's plans for ensuring continued economic
growth and the participation of all Saskatchewanians in the province's
Premier Brad Wall laid the foundation for his administration's plans a
day earlier with the announcement of income tax reductions, an additional
$1 billion to pay down the provincial debt and a 50% increase in infrastructure
investments. The Throne Speech enumerated a number of further initiatives,
- New educational and training programs particularly targeted at engaging
First Nations and Métis people and a commitment to enable libraries to
expand their services and programs;
- Equitable income support and services for persons with disabilities;
- Environmental programs to control greenhouse gas emissions, a comprehensive
water management plan and exploring further the potential of clean coal
and nuclear energy;
- Democratic reforms to restrict government advertisement prior to provincial
elections and the election of nominees for appointment to the Senate.
Mr. Calvert responded on behalf of the Official Opposition by challenging
the Premier to explain how the government's approach would make Saskatchewan
this year country. It was Mr. Calvert's assertion that the government's
agenda did little to address or alleviate the pressures facing the populace
but instead forced them to wait until next year for relief.
In the opening days of the session, the government took advantage of a
new rule that permitted a public bill considered in a previous session
to be reinstated to the Order Paper in the following session if done within
five sitting days of the commencement of the fall session. On October 23rd,
Government House Leader Rod Gantefoer gave notice that he would be moving
the reinstatement of Bill No. 9 - The Superannuation (Supplementary Provisions)
Amendment Act, 2008. The motion to reinstate the bill was subsequently
adopted and the bill was replaced on the Order Paper at the same stage
it had reached during the previous session. Pursuant to the Rules of the
Assembly, the bill is designated a specified bill and the amount of time
previously spent considering it is carried forward to the current session.
In a letter dated October 22, 2008, Chief Electoral Officer
submitted his resignation to the Speaker effective immediately. Mr. Ouellet
had held the position since 2004 after serving in a variety of electoral
positions with Elections Canada and Elections Saskatchewan. Speaker Don
Toth announced that the position will be filled in an acting capacity until
a new Chief Electoral Officer could be selected through a national competition.
Margaret (Meta) Woods
On October 8, the Premier of Yukon,
Dennis Fentie (Watson Lake, Yukon Party),
pursuant to Standing Order 73(2), informed the Speaker, Ted Staffen, that
he wished to have the 2008 Fall Sitting of the First Session of the 32nd
Legislative Assembly convene on October 23rd. The Speaker informed Members
of the Premier's request and the House met on that date.
Pursuant to Standing Order 74 the government introduced all legislation
to be dealt with during the Fall Sitting by October 30th, the fifth sitting
day. The eleven bills introduced were:
- Bill No. 12, Second Appropriation Act, 2008-09
- Bill No. 54, Electoral District Boundaries Act
- Bill No. 55, Act to Amend the Social Assistance Act
- Bill No. 56, Act to Amend the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act
- Bill No. 57, Act to Amend the Miners Lien Act
- Bill No. 58, Act to Amend the Quartz Mining Act
- Bill No. 59, Forest Resources Act
- Bill No. 60, Act to Amend the Judicature Act
- Bill No. 61, Act to Amend the Municipal Act
- Bill No. 62, Act to Amend the Animal Protection Act
- Bill No. 63, Act to Amend the Seniors Income Supplement Act
In addition, Steve Cardiff (Mount Lorne, NDP) introduced a private member's
bill, Young Worker Protection Act, which has been designated Bill No. 109.
Private Member's Motion
The recent federal election was the subject of debate on October 29th,
the first private member's day of the 2008 Fall Sitting. Steve Nordick
(Klondike, Yukon Party) moved:
THAT this House urges the Parliament of Canada to review the effects of
recent changes to the Canada Elections Act regarding information voters
are required to present to prove identity, to determine if identification
requirements need to be adjusted to prevent Northern residents from being
deprived of the ability to exercise their democratic right to vote.
Fifteen of the House's 18 members spoke to the motion, many of them recounting
incidents of constituents who were unable to vote due to new voter identification
requirements. After two and a half hours of debate the motion was carried
by a vote of 15-0.
Select Committee on Human Rights
The Select Committee on Human Rights held 15 public hearings in 15 Yukon
communities during September and October. It also received 24 written submissions.
Eight of those submissions came from individuals, while the others were
submitted by a diverse group of entities including the Yukon Human Rights
Commission, the Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation, and the Yukon Anti-Poverty
Coalition. The committee members - Marian Horne (Pelly-Nisutlin, Yukon
Party), Don Inverarity (Porter Creek South, Liberal) and Mr. Cardiff -
are currently finalizing their report, which is due to be tabled in the
Assembly on Thursday, November 20th.
Special adjournment motion
Standing Order 75(1) stipulates that the House shall sit a maximum of 60
days per calendar year. As the House sat for 32 days in the 2008 Spring
Sitting, 28 days remain available for the Fall Sitting. Given the October
23rd start date the House would have to adjourn by Thursday, December 11
at the latest.
However, on October 29th the government House leader,
Brad Cathers (Lake
Laberge, Yukon Party) gave notice of the following motion:
THAT this House shall stand adjourned from its rising on Thursday, November
6, 2008 until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 12, 2008.
The intent of the motion was that the House not sit on Monday, November
10th so that MLAs could be in their electoral districts for Remembrance
Day. On October 30th Mr. Cathers requested unanimous consent to debate
the motion. Unanimous consent was granted and the motion was adopted after
a brief debate.
The adoption of the motion does not alter the fact that the Assembly still
has a maximum of 28 sitting days available for the 2008 Fall Sitting. However,
now the House will have to adjourn by Monday, December 15th at the latest.
From September 7 to 9 the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the
Office of the Auditor General of Canada co-hosted the 2008 conference of
the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees and the Canadian Council
of Legislative Auditors. Yukon last hosted the Public Accounts Committees
conference in 1985. The conference initially attracted 95 delegates, 12
observers and 39 guests. However, with the dissolution of the 39th Parliament
and the subsequent issue of writs for the federal election, dozens of registrants
had to cancel their plans to travel to Whitehorse. Conference highlights
included a presentation by J. Derek Green, Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of Newfoundland & Labrador, on his Report of the Review Commission
on Constituency Allowances and Related Matters. Many conference participants
also took the opportunity to travel on the scenic White Pass & Yukon Route
railway from Fraser, BC to Skagway, Alaska.
On November 5, 2008, Premier
Jean Charest met with Lieutenant-Governor
Pierre Duchesne to ask him to dissolve the current legislature.
The 38th Legislature had begun on April 5, 2007. At its dissolution, on
November 5, 2008, the Assembly was composed as follows: Québec Liberal
Party, 48 Members, Action démocratique du Québec, 39 Members; Parti Québécois,
36 Members; 2 vacant seats.
Although subject to change, the opening of the First Session of the 39th
Legislature is scheduled to take place on 13 January 2009.
Resignation of the President of the Assembly
On July 14, 2008, Michel Bissonnet notified the Secretary General of the
Assembly of his resignation as President of the National Assembly beginning
on this date. Following his election as mayor of the Saint-Léonard borough,
in Montréal, he also resigned from his office of Member on September 24,
2008. First elected in the electoral division of Jeanne-Mance, in the general
election of 1981, Mr. Bissonnet was re-elected on six other occasions,
in 1985, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2003 and 2007. In addition to defending the
interests of his riding, as early as 1981, he was Official Opposition critic
in several sectors (communications, consumer protection, access to information,
the taxi issue) and was a member of various standing committees.
From 1985 to 1989, he was caucus chair of the Québec Liberal Party and
member of the Office of the National Assembly. From 1989 to 1994, he was
vice-president of the National Assembly. During this period, he was a member
of the parliamentary committee to organize the celebrations surrounding
the Bicentennial of Québec's Parliamentary Institutions from 1990 to 1992.
Re-elected in 1994, he was deputy whip for the Official Opposition until
1997 and subsequently held the office of vice-chairman of the Committee
on Transportation and the Environment until 1998.
Following the elections held in 1998, he was third vice-president of the
National Assembly. Incidentally, he was the first vice-president from the
Official Opposition, a tradition that the Parliament has upheld ever since.
In this capacity, he was a member of the Committee on the National Assembly
Re-elected in 2003 and in 2007, he held the office of President of the
National Assembly, while acting as chair of the Office of the National
Assembly and chair of the Committee on the National Assembly.
The contribution of Mr. Bissonnet to the progress and outreach of the National
Assembly is considerable. In 2005, he was awarded the rank of Grand-Croix,
the highest distinction of the Ordre de la Pléiade. During the festivities
of the 400th anniversary of Québec City, he received the rank of Officer
of the Ordre national de la légion d'honneur de la République française
for having distinguished himself as the Québec public figure having excelled
by his contribution to France-Québec relations or to the Francophonie.
The Société du 400e anniversaire de la Ville de Québec wished to underline
the commitment of Mr. Bissonnet and the importance he granted to celebrating
400 years of traditions and political institutions in Québec City by awarding
him the commemorative medal of the 400th anniversary.
Election of the new President of the Assembly
Upon the resumption of proceedings, last October 21, under the presidency
of the longest-serving Member of the Assembly, Henri-François Gautrin,
Member for Verdun, the parliamentarians elected their new President by
When the period for declaring candidacies had expired, the official list
contained the names of François Gendron, Member for Abitibi- Ouest (PQ),
and Yvon Vallières, Member for Richmond (QLP).
The day of the election, after the first ballot, the Member for Abitibi-Ouest,
having obtained a number of votes equivalent to the majority of the valid
votes cast, was declared elected President of the National Assembly of
Holder of a degree in education and in business administration, Mr. Gendron
has been a Member for 32 years. He was elected as a Member of the Parti
Québécois in the electoral division of Abitibi-Ouest for the first time
in 1976, and he has been re-elected without interruption ever since. During
his career, he has held several ministerial functions, particularly those
of Minister of the Public Service, Minister of Education and Minister
of Natural Resources. Furthermore, over the years, he has also assumed
several parliamentary functions, among them: Deputy Government House Leader,
Official Opposition House Leader, Third Vice-President of the Assembly,
Interim Leader of the Second Opposition Group. At the time of his election,
Mr. Gendron held the office of House Leader of the Second Opposition Group.
The new Minister of Health and Social Services appointed by Premier Charest,
Yves Bolduc, general practitioner since 1981 and coroner since 1985, was
elected on September 29, in the electoral division of Jean-Talon, following
the resignation of Philippe Couillard, last June 25.
On Wednesday, October 22, Russell Copeman
announced his resignation as Member
for the electoral division of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Owing to this departure,
there were two vacant seats in the Assembly.
Change of allegiance
On October 23, 2008, two Members of the Action démocratique du Québec,
Pierre-Michel Auger (Champlain) and André Riedl (Iberville), decided to
change allegiance by joining the Québec Liberal Party.
During a ceremony held at the National Assembly of Québec, on July 13,
2008, the French Government wished to mark its friendly relations with
Québec by honouring 14 Quebecers who excelled in their respective activities,
in addition to bringing an important contribution to promoting France-Québec
relations or the Francophonie.
President Bissonnet was made an Officer of the Ordre national de la Légion
d'honneur de la République française, the First Vice-President, Fatima
Houda-Pepin, received the insigns of Knight for her action in promoting
interculturalism, women's rights, the Francophonie and relations between
the National Assembly of Québec and of France. They were awarded these
honours by General Jean-Pierre Kelche, Great Chancellor of the Légion d'honneur,
within the framework of the 400th anniversary of Québec City celebrations.
The Premier of Québec, Mr. Charest, will be awarded the medal of the Légion
d'honneur française by President Nicolas Sarkozy, during a later ceremony.
He will receive the highest distinction, that of Commander of the Ordre
national de la Légion d'honneur.
On July 4, 2008, the presidents and vice-presidents of 45 Parliaments of
the Francophonie unanimously adopted a final declaration on the measures
to take to strengthen parliamentary democracy. At the initiative of President
Bissonnet, these parliamentarians hailing from Africa, America and Europe
came together on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Québec City.
This event was one among other parliamentary Francophonie activities held
in Québec City from July 1 to 7, namely the 24th session of the Assemblée
régionale Amérique de l'APF and the Conférence des présidents d'assemblée
parlementaire de la Francophonie, followed by the 34th session of the APF,
the meeting of the Network of Women Parliamentarians and the Ordre de la
Pléiade awards ceremony in which 17 public figures were honoured for their
remarkable contribution to the outreach of the French language.
A few days before the resumption of the fall parliamentary proceedings,
within the framework of the 12th Sommet de la Francophonie, the President
of the French Republic, Mr. Sarkozy, delivered an address before all of
the Members gathered together in the Chamber of the National Assembly before
signing the distinguished visitors book and receiving the President's medal.
The Intergenerational Parliament was the final activity organized by the
National Assembly to underline the 400th anniversary of Québec City. Its
proceedings took place from September 15 to 17 under the honorary presidency
of Jean Leclerc, of the Société du 400e anniversaire de Québec, with the
participation of former Olympic skier Mélanie Turgeon, who acted as lieutenant-governor.
Under the presidency of Mrs. Houda-Pepin, over 100 representatives from
all generations (from 12 to 80 years) and hailing from several regions
throughout Québec drafted an Intergenerational Charter stating the ideals
and aspirations of the participants and bridging the gap between all generations.
The following themes were discussed by the participants:
- the rights and duties of citizens;
- health, security, protection;
- the environment and the living environment;
- education, socialization and employment.
Each year, the scholarship programme of the Fondation Jean-Charles-Bonenfant
awards five $18,000 scholarships and welcomes young Québec university graduates
for a ten-month internship at the National Assembly which comprises three
- the discovery of the National Assembly and a comparative study with other
Canadian and foreign parliamentary institutions;
- the twinning, in alternation, with a Member from the parliamentary group
forming the Government and an opposition Member;
- the drafting of an essay on the parliamentary institutions of Québec.
The 2008-2009 interns are: Marie-Astrid Ospina D'Amours and
Pierre-Olivier Legault- Tremblay, holder of a master's degree in international
relations; Olivier Bégin-Caouette, bachelor of psychology, Marc-André Turcotte,
bachelor of international relations and international law, and Pierre-Luc Turgeon,
bachelor of political science.
Francine Boivin Lamarche
Secretariat of the National Assembly
Various mandates were carried out by the standing committees of the National
Assembly from August to October 2008. The following is an overview.
Orders of the Assembly
A motion was carried on May 14, 2008 in which the National Assembly ordered
the Committee on Institutions to examine and make a report, by October
10, 2008, on the nature and context of the signing of the contract granted
to Attractions Hippiques by the Government of Québec, and hear the persons
it deemed necessary. The Committee on Institutions held public hearings
for this purpose last August 27, 28 and 29. During the three days of hearings,
the Committee heard more than a dozen persons, including Senator Paul J.
Massicotte, owner of Attractions Hippiques, the Auditor General of Québec,
the Minister of Finance and the chairman and chief executive officer of
The Committee on Public Finance also was given a mandate by a motion carried
at the National Assembly last May 28. Pursuant to the provisions of this
motion, the Committee was to hear, before October 21, 2008, the members
of the working committee on the assessment of the cost of pension plan
indexing. The mandate of this working committee, formed following a motion
carried at the National Assembly on October 16, 2007, was to determine
the main parameters and pertinent facts relating to public and parapublic
sector pension plan indexing. The hearing with the six members of this
working committee took place last September 30. Several persons attended
this sitting, particularly the representatives of the main associations
of Québec's public service pensioners especially concerned by this matter.
Orders of Initiative
The Committee on Social Affairs held three days of public hearings in Montréal
on September 29 and 30 and on October 1 within the framework of its order
of initiative on homelessness in Québec. On this occasion, the Committee
members heard thirty-five agencies and were also able to hear homeless
persons or those who had already been in this situation. Approximately
three hundred people attended these public hearings. The Members also took
the opportunity while in Montréal to visit agencies that help the homeless.
The Committee is continuing its regional tour this autumn by visiting the
cities of Trois-Rivières and Gatineau, before concluding its proceedings
in Québec City. Incidentally, the Committee is holding an on-line consultation
on homelessness to allow all citizens to give their opinion on this important
The Committee on Culture held two days of public hearings within the framework
of its order of initiative aiming to examine the situation as regards the
dubbing of movies and television series in Québec. The Committee is especially
interested in the issues surrounding the DVD and new technologies fields.
These hearings allowed the Committee to hear eleven persons and agencies
directly related to this sector of activities.
The Committee on Transportation and the Environment held special consultations
on two bills in September and October 2008. Six days of public hearings
were held on Bill 92, An Act to affirm the collective nature of water resources
and provide for increased water resource protection. Thirty persons and
agencies came before the Committee members within the framework of these
consultations. The Committee then set aside two sittings to hold special
consultations and public hearings on Bill 96, An Act to amend the Act respecting
transportation services by taxi. This bill aims, among other things, to
improve the quality of handicapped accessible taxi services. Eight groups
were heard on this occasion.
In pursuance of the authority vested therein by the Standing Orders and
the Public Administration Act, the Committee on Public Administration heard
the head officers of three agencies. First, it heard the Deputy Minister
of Revenue as well as the chairman of the Société de développement des
entreprises culturelles concerning financial support given to cultural
businesses. It then heard the authorities of the Ministère de la Santé
et des Services sociaux concerning the procurement process regarding medical
equipment and supplies. Both of these hearings followed up on the observations
made by the Auditor General of Québec in his report published in March
For further information regarding the standing committee proceedings, please
visit the Internet site of the Québec National Assembly at the following
Secretariat of Committees
Translation: Sylvia Ford
Secretariat of the Assembly
Prince Edward Island
The standing committees maintained a busy and productive schedule during
the last quarter.
The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Environment held six
meetings and received briefings on a variety of topics related to its mandate.
The committee members also participated in a fact-finding tour of a cranberry
harvest in conjunction with their investigations into the state of the
industry in Prince Edward Island.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts met several times this fall with
the Auditor General to review his latest annual report to the Legislative
Assembly. In addition, the committee is continuing to follow up on a previous
audit conducted of workforce incentive programs, the intention of which
was to facilitate a restructuring of the provincial public service. At
the beginning of October, the Auditor General informed the Standing Committee
on Public Accounts that he had commenced an audit of the Provincial Nominee
Program. The program, administered by the provincial government, has recently
been the subject of media and community comment on the appropriateness
of its management. The committee will decide in the coming weeks whether
to embark on their own review of the program or wait until the Auditor
General's audit is completed.
At the end of the Spring session, members of the Standing Committee on
Community Affairs and Economic Development agreed to undertake a review
of rural development in Prince Edward Island. Over the summer, the committee
met with representatives from the newly-created Department of Rural Development
to receive a briefing on the Department's mandate. The Department stated
they would put forth a rural development strategy within the coming twelve
months and noted that the committee's review of rural development would
certainly benefit the Department in their process. The committee decided
to solicit submissions from individuals and groups from across the province
and held six meetings in September and October in a number of rural communities.
The committee will report its findings in November.
The Standing Committee on Social Development has maintained an active agenda
in recent months, as the committee was mandated by the Legislative Assembly
to review the safe use of cell phones in vehicles. The committee was also
asked by the Department of Health to review proposed amendments to the
Smoke-free Places Act. For both issues, the committee sought public input
by advertising for submissions and held several meetings to meet with vested
individuals and groups. Findings will be reported in mid-November.
The Standing Committee on Fisheries, Intergovernmental Affairs and Transportation
concluded its review of the collapse of Polar Foods International Inc.,
a business failure which cost Island taxpayers approximately $31 million.
The committee's final report will be presented to the House in the fall
Second Session to Reconvene
The Second Session of the Sixty-third General Assembly, which had adjourned
on May 22, 2008, after 28 sitting days, will reconvene on November 12,
The resumption of the sitting will mark the first time in the history of
the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island that the members have
been recalled to a date specified by a parliamentary calendar. In the spring
of 2008, the Legislative Assembly unanimously adopted a recommendation
from the Standing Committee on Privileges, Rules and Private Bills that
there be a parliamentary calendar, with the fall sitting starting on the
first sitting day following Remembrance Day, and the spring sitting starting
during the first week of April each year. The House also decided that 60
days' notice of the resumption of Assembly business would be provided to
all members (previously, a minimum of 10 days' notice was required). The
parliamentary calendar is intended to better organize the time of the House
and of members and add a degree of predictability to the legislative schedule.
Once the House closed for the summer, Hansard worked on creating indices
to the daily debates and the committee transcripts, as well as continuing
to edit committee meetings and conference proceedings. The Manager of Hansard
participated in the annual Hansard Association of Canada conference, held
in Fredericton, New Brunswick, from 25-29 August. In late October the Manager
accepted an invitation to speak to journalism and medical students at a
publicly-funded college on the subject of transcribing. This followed a
July address to students in a legal assistants' program at a private college.
This outreach ministry, as the Manager termed it, has three purposes:
to introduce a potential new workforce to Hansard, to advocate the importance
of transcribing generally, and to alert students about a potential career
path. In October there were personnel changes within Hansard, requiring
advertisements for positions, interviews, and hiring.
Legislative Library & Research Services
Since the official opening of the Legislative Library on May 22, 2008,
its staff have been busy establishing services, working with the standing
committees, and dealing with research requests. It was also a very busy
conference season. Laura Morrell, Research Librarian, attended the directors'
meeting of the Association of Parliamentary Librarians in Canada, the 24th
Annual International Federation of Library Associations Pre Conference
for Library and Research Services for Parliamentarians, and the World Library
and Information Congress.
Research Officer Ryan Conway
has been busy with various research requests
from MLAs, caucus staff and standing committees. The Research Officer provides
support to standing committees through reports and presentations, summaries
of witness presentations and draft recommendations for committee reports.
Recent committee concerns have included rural development, the use of cell
phones while driving and proposed amendments to Prince Edward Island's Smoke free Places Act.
In September 2008, the Research Officer attended the Parliamentary Visitor
Services Association Annual Conference in Edmonton/Jasper, Alberta. The
week long conference provided a chance to meet visitor services staff from
across Canada, learn how each jurisdiction interprets their Legislative
Assembly, and gather ideas that could be used in interpretive and educational
efforts at the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island.
As issues such as transportation, NAFTA and border security between Eastern
Canadian provinces and Northeastern states become increasingly challenging,
more Canadian leaders must develop solid leadership skills. The Council
of State Governments' Eastern Regional Conference's Robert J. Thompson
Eastern Leadership Academy (ELA) helps them do just that.
Paula Biggar, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward
Island, was among a select group of 31 Northeastern regional and Eastern
Canadian leaders chosen this year for the ELA. The program which ran from
September 14-18, 2008, at the University of Pennsylvania, aims to help
the region's leaders develop skills and examine major policy issues facing
the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada.
On September 30, 2008, the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission
announced its first Award for the Advancement of Human Rights in the province.
The Commission created the award to recognize individuals, groups or organizations
that have made significant contributions toward the advancement of human
rights on Prince Edward Island. The selection of the recipient of the Award
will be based on exceptional achievement on a volunteer basis to promote
human rights and equality in Prince Edward Island as defined in the Prince
Edward Island Human Rights Act. The Award will be presented on December
10, International Human Rights Day.
Former Premier William Bennett Campbell passed away on September 11, 2008.
He was a member of the Legislative Assembly from 1970-1979, and held various
portfolios, including education and finance. Following the retirement of
Premier Alex Campbell from political life, Bennett Campbell won the leadership
of the Liberal Party and was sworn in as Premier on September 18, 1978.
His government was defeated in the general election held the next year.
He remained party leader and leader of the opposition until entering federal
politics. Bennett Campbell won the seat for Cardigan in the House of Commons
through a 1981 by election following the death of Daniel J. Macdonald.
He took over Macdonald's cabinet portfolio and became Minister of Veterans
Affairs but lost his seat in the 1984 general election. Throughout his
life, Mr. Campbell was very active in community life, serving as superintendent
of insurance and official trustee for the province. He is survived by his
wife, Shirley, and their eight children.
Clerk Assistant and
Clerk of Committees
House of Commons
For several months, rumours of a fall 2008 election swirled. The parties
had tried to find some common ground before Parliament was to resume on
September 15, but to no avail. So on September 7, 2008, Stephen Harper
went to Governor General Michaëlle Jean's residence to ask her to dissolve
Parliament. Calling the general election cancelled 3 by elections scheduled
for September 8 and 1 for September 22, and caused 35 bills to die on the
Order Paper. In total, 33 MPs chose not to run for re election.
On election day, October 14, 2008, according to preliminary results supplied
by Elections Canada, Canadians elected a minority Conservative government
with 143 MPs-16 more than it had when Parliament was dissolved. The Liberals
won 77 seats. The NDP won 7 more seats for a total of 37, and the Bloc
Québécois gained 1 for a total of 49. Two Independent candidates were elected
A few committees held meetings in August, many of which were controversial.
Because of the minority government, the opposition party MPs were able
to control the proceedings of each committee.
The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics held
meetings during the second week of August (August 11 to 14) on the Conservative
Party of Canada's 2006 election campaign expenses. The meetings were marked
by many interruptions and points of order to try to shut down the study.
On August 18 and 19, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri Food
met to follow up on the accidental release of a report concerning the government's
intention to cut the number of food inspectors. Against the backdrop of
the listeriosis outbreak, the opposition parties forced the two meetings
to be held, at which Agriculture Canada officials appeared.
The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security met on August
25. The opposition parties used their majority to pass a motion asking
the House of Commons to require that Maxime Bernier testify about the Couillard
affair, which led to his resignation as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage held an emergency meeting on
August 26 to discuss the budget cuts to a number of cultural programs announced
by the Conservative government.
On August 27, the Subcommittee on Oil and Gas and Other Energy Prices held
its first two meetings. The Subcommittee was created to discuss rising
The Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly conducted its annual
review of the Ontario Legislature's television broadcast system as part
of the Committee's permanent mandate. An issue raised during the review
was the fact that a major satellite broadcast distributor was apparently
not interested in renewing the contract for distribution of the signal
which carries the Assembly's parliamentary channel (OntParl). Committee
Members were concerned that, with revised channel programming affecting
the OntParl signal carried by cable providers and with a decision not to
renew the contract for satellite distribution of the signal, fewer members
of the public would have access to the televised proceedings of the Ontario
Legislative Assembly. After further discussion the Committee agreed that
a letter signed by the Speaker and endorsed by the Committee should be
sent to the CRTC urging that coverage of legislative proceedings in Ontario
be made mandatory.
As a result of this discussion and review of the television broadcast system,
Bob Delaney, who is a Member of the Legislative Assembly Committee, introduced
a Private Members Notice of Motion on Thursday, October 9, 2008 which read
That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
should request of the Government of Canada that an amendment be made to
the terms of reference governing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission (CRTC) to ensure that a condition to the CRTC's granting, or
renewal, of a license to carry cable, wireless, wireless cable or any other
type of television content by every distributor in any market is the requirement
to broadcast, as part of every basic package of television services or
channels, and using a minimum of one dedicated channel, the legislative
proceedings of the province or territory in which the distributor of the
television content proposes to offer service, as supplied to the distributor
by the legislative broadcast service in that province or territory.
After 50 minutes of debate during Private Members' Public Business, the
resolution was carried unanimously on a voice vote.
Speaker's Sub judice Ruling
A significant procedural ruling was made on Monday, October 27, 2008, when
Speaker Steve Peters ruled that a notice of motion for an Opposition Day
be removed from the Orders and Notices Paper as it offended the sub judice
convention. The notice, standing in the name of the Leader of the Official
Opposition Robert Runciman, requested that the Government call a public
inquiry into the circumstances surrounding an accused individual's bail
release. The Speaker ruled on the applicability of the sub judice convention
to a motion, and whether this specific motion offended that convention.
The Speaker ruled that although a strict interpretation of Standing Order
23(g) would limit the sub judice rule to debate, a motion provides the
context of the debate and therefore must be subject to the rules of debate.
The Speaker also cited support for this interpretation in the precedents
and practices of other jurisdictions.
Beyond the strict application of Ontario's
sub judice Standing Order, the
Speaker also examined the motion with respect to the broad parliamentary
convention of sub judice.
The Speaker found that the motion:
identifies in every one of its clauses the names of individuals associated
with a very serious incident that is still before the criminal courts.
It also draws conclusions on certain evidence and on the actions of officials
involved in the administration of criminal justice in Ontario.
Consequently, he ruled that the motion offended the
sub judice convention
in that it offered much potential for prejudice to an ongoing criminal
Following this ruling it was agreed with unanimous consent that a new notice
of motion be placed on the Orders and Notices Paper in substitution of
the one ruled out of order.
New Standing Orders
On Thursday, October 2, 2008, the Standing Committee on the Legislative
Assembly presented its report to the House on its review during the past
summer of the provisional Standing Orders. The key features of the new
rules provide that on Mondays the House will start its meeting week at
10:30 a.m. (as opposed to the previous 9:00 a.m. start) and will begin
directly with Question Period. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, daily
sittings will continue to begin at 9:00 a.m. Similar to Mondays, however,
Question Period will move to 10:30 a.m. each day.
Of late, the Member for Bruce- Grey-Owen Sound,
Bill Murdoch, has been
seated in the Legislative Assembly as an independent member. Mr. Murdoch's
departure from the Progressive Conservative caucus leaves the seat standings
in the House at 71 Liberals, 25 Progressive Conservatives, 10 New Democrats
and 1 independent, for a total of 107.
The Standing Committee on Estimates continued its consideration of the
2008-2009 expenditure estimates of selected ministries. An Order of the
House dated June 17 authorized the Committee to meet twice during the summer
adjournment. During the period August-October, the Committee completed
reviewing the Estimates of the following ministries: Northern Development
and Mines; Research and Innovation; Labour; and Agriculture, Food and Rural
By an Order of the House dated October 9, the Committee was authorized
to change the order in which it will consider the Estimates of the remaining
selected ministries, and to extend by one week its period of consideration.
The Committee must now present its report on all Estimates considered by
the fourth Thursday in November, as opposed to the third Thursday as set
out in the Standing Orders.
On September 22, Tim Hudak presented to the House the Committee's report
with respect to the Volume 2 Estimates (those of the Legislative Assembly
The Standing Committee on General Government met to consider Bill 90,
Act to enact the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008, to repeal the
Colleges Collective Bargaining Act and to make related amendments to other
Acts. Under the Bill, collective bargaining is extended to part time and
sessional employees of colleges of applied arts and technology. The Committee
also considered Bill 85, An Act to permit the issuance of photo cards to
residents of Ontario and to make complementary amendments to the Highway
Traffic Act. The bill authorizes the Ministry of Transportation to issue
basic, enhanced and combined photo cards to the residents of Ontario. Basic
photo cards may be issued to anyone who is a resident of Ontario and does
not hold a valid driver's licence. Enhanced photo cards may be issued to
anyone who is a resident of Ontario and a Canadian citizen and does not
hold a valid driver's licence. Combined photo cards may be issued to anyone
who is a resident of Ontario and a Canadian citizen and who does hold valid
On September 24, 2008, the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly
met for the purpose of writing its Report on the review of the Standing
Upon request from the Committee to extend the date by which the report
was to be tabled, unanimous consent from the House was given on a motion
presented by Michael Bryant dated September 24, 2008, that stated, notwithstanding
the order of the House dated May 1, 2008, the Standing Committee on the
Legislative Assembly shall submit its Report on the Standing Orders to
the Assembly by October 2, 2008.
On October 2, 2008, Bas Balkissoon, Member from Scarborough-Rouge River
and Chair of the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, presented
to the House the Committee's report entitled Report on the Review of the
Standing Orders and moved the adoption of the recommendation outlined in
On October 8 and 22, the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private
Bills met, pursuant to its permanent mandate, to consider its first draft
Report on Regulations of the 39th Parliament. On this occasion, the Committee
heard a presentation by the Registrar of Regulations, and heard statements
from ministries whose regulations are included in the report. The report
was adopted and tabled in the House on Thursday, October 30, 2008.
The Standing Committee on Social Policy completed its consideration of
Bill 77, An Act to provide services to persons with developmental disabilities,
to repeal the Developmental Services Act and to amend certain other statutes.
On September 22, 2008, the bill was reported back with certain amendments
to the House for Third Reading, and it received Royal Assent on October
8, 2008. The Committee also completed its draft report on the review of
the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, and tabled its report
on November 4, 2008. In October, the Committee began holding public hearings
on Bill 97, An Act to increase access to qualified health professionals
for all Ontarians by amending the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
The 4th Session of the 2nd Legislative Assembly of Nunavut reconvened on
September 9, 2008. Its final sitting was held on September 18, 2008.
There were a total of 178 sitting days during the 2nd Legislative Assembly.
A total of 96 bills were introduced, of which 93 received Assent. Five
of these bills were introduced under the authority of the Management and
Services Board of the Legislative Assembly. These bills amended statutes
under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Assembly itself. Two government
bills were ordered withdrawn by order of the House and one bill fell off
the order paper upon prorogation.
Other statistics of note for the 2nd Legislative Assembly include:
- 560 Ministers' statements were delivered;
- 1,437 Members' statements were delivered;
- 1,762 oral questions were posed;
- 79 written questions were posed;
- 14 committee reports were presented;
- 732 documents were tabled; and
- 101 formal motions were considered.
Three major pieces of legislation were passed by the 2nd Legislative Assembly
during its 4th Session, including a new Education Act, a new Official Languages
Act and a new Inuit Language Protection Act. Under section 38 of the federal
Nunavut Act, the Official Languages Act requires the concurrence of Parliament
by way of a resolution.
Other business transacted by the House during its final sitting included
the appointment of Norman Pickell as Integrity Commissioner of Nunavut,
the acceptance of Mr. Pickell's report concerning the conduct of Baker
Lake MLA David Simailak and the passage of a motion calling on the Executive
Council to request the Auditor General of Canada to undertake a comprehensive
audit of the Government of Nunavut's evaluation and award process in relation
to its contracts for medical travel on scheduled airlines.
October 27 Election
Nunavut's third territorial general election was held on October 27, 2008.
Voters in 15 of Nunavut's 19 constituencies went to the polls on that day.
Messrs. Tagak Curley (Rankin Inlet North) and Keith Peterson (Cambridge
Bay) had earlier been declared acclaimed at the close of nominations.
Because no nominations were received in the constituency of South Baffin,
which includes the communities of Cape Dorset and Kimmirut, a new writ
of election was issued. The vote took place on November 3, 2008. Four candidates
were on the ballot.
A by-election in the constituency of Akulliq, which includes the communities
of Repulse Bay and Kugaaruk, will be held on December 15, 2008. Four candidates
will be on the ballot.
The by-election was necessitated due to the cancellation of the October
27 election in the constituency. Under the Nunavut Elections Act, which
was passed by the Legislative Assembly in 2002, candidates are required
to have been resident in Nunavut for a consecutive period of at least twelve
months prior to election day.
On September 26, 2008, Chief Electoral Officer
Sandy Kusugak exercised
her authority under the legislation to reject the candidacy of Jack Anawak,
on the grounds that he did not meet the residency requirements under the
Act. Mr. Anawak subsequently exercised his right under the Act to appeal
the Chief Electoral Officer's decision to the Nunavut Court of Justice.
Under the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer is required to cancel the election
if such an appeal is made.
In a written judgement issued on October 7, 2008, Justice
indicated that he was satisfied that the respondent did not err in disqualifying
the appellant as a candidate. He denied the appeal.
Mr. Anawak subsequently challenged the
Nunavut Elections Act on constitutional
grounds, arguing that the residency requirements violated his democratic,
equality and aboriginal rights under the Charter. The Chief Electoral Officer
and the Attorney General were the respondents in this matter. The Speaker
of the Legislative Assembly was granted intervener status. In a written
judgement issued on November 5, 2008, Justice Earl Johnson concluded that
there was no breach and dismissed the application.
As of November 19, 2008, the Members of the 3rd Legislative Assembly are:
- Eva Aariak (Iqaluit East)
- James Arreak (Uqqummiut)
- James Arvaluk (Tununiq)
- Moses Aupaluktuq (Baker Lake)
- Tagak Curley (Rankin Inlet North)
- Ron Elliott (Quttiktuq)
- Adamee Komoartok
- Lorne Kusugak (Rankin Inlet South-Whale Cove)
- Johnny Ningeongan (Nanulik)
- Paul Okalik (Iqaluit West)
- Enuk Pauloosie (Nattilik)
- Keith Peterson (Cambridge Bay)
- Allan Rumbolt (Hudson Bay)
- Fred Schell (South Baffin)
- Daniel Shewchuk (Arviat)
- Louis Tapardjuk (Amittuq)
- Peter Taptuna (Kugluktuk)
- Hunter Tootoo (Iqaluit Centre)
Messrs. Arreak, Arvaluk, Curley, Okalik, Peterson, Tapardjuk and Tootoo
had served as Members of the 2nd Legislative Assembly.
Former Nunavut MLA Leona Aglukkaq was elected as Nunavut's new Member of
Parliament in the federal general election of October 14, 2008. Ms. Aglukkaq
was subsequently appointed federal Minister of Health.
Nunavut Leadership Forum
The Nunavut Leadership Forum convened on November 14, 2008. The Forum consists
of all MLAs. The Forum's proceedings were open to the public to observe
from the Visitors' Gallery and were televised live on local community cable
channels across Nunavut.
The first item of business was the selection of the Speaker.
was acclaimed to the position. Mr. Arreak had previously served as the
Deputy Speaker during the 2nd Legislative Assembly.
Three Members accepted nominations to serve as Premier: Ms. Aariak, Mr.
Curley and incumbent Premier Okalik. Each candidate was permitted to deliver
a 20-minute speech. Members not standing for Premier were allowed to ask
up to three questions to the candidates. In a secret ballot vote, Ms. Aariak
was elected as Premier on the first round of balloting. Ms. Aariak is the
second Premier of Nunavut and the first woman to hold the office.
A total of nine Members accepted nominations to serve on Cabinet. Caucus
had earlier announced that the Cabinet will consist of eight members (Premier
and seven Ministers). In light of the December 15, 2008, by-election in
the constituency of Akulliq, Caucus agreed that seven members of Cabinet
would be selected during the Forum's proceedings of November 14, 2008 (Premier
and six Ministers).
The following Members were elected to Cabinet: Messrs. Kusugak, Peterson,
Shewchuk, Tapardjuk, Taptuna and Tootoo.
The Nunavut Leadership Forum will reconvene in early 2009 to select the
remaining Minister. The Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act
provides that the Premier has the prerogative to assign Ministerial portfolios.
Commissioner of Nunavut Ann Meekitjuk Hanson presided over the swearing-in
ceremony for the Members of the Third Legislative Assembly, which took
place on the morning of Wednesday, November 19, 2008, in the Chamber of
the Legislative Assembly.
The 3rd Legislative Assembly convened for its first sitting on the afternoon
of November 19, 2008. Following the formal election of the Speaker, motions
were adopted to recommend the appointments of the Premier and Cabinet.
The Assembly also passed a motion to appoint Mr. Pauloosie, MLA for Nattilik,
as Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole.
Other business transacted by the House included appointments to the Striking
Committee and the Legislative Assembly's Management and Services Board.
The swearing-in ceremony for the Premier and Cabinet took place later in
the afternoon, which was followed by a well-attended reception in the main
foyer of the Legislative Assembly Precinct.
Office of the Legislative Assembly
In the interim between the June adjournment of the House and the opening
of the fall session (Third Session), select and standing committees received
public input, filed a report, and reviewed annual reports of government
departments and Crown Corporations; an opposition member resigned; a new
member was elected and sworn in; the opposition selected a new Leader and
a shadow cabinet; and Premier Shawn Graham shuffled his Cabinet. Meanwhile,
extensive refurbishment continued on the exterior cladding and the roof
of the Main Legislative Building.
The Select Committee on Tax Review continued to review input on A Discussion
Paper on New Brunswick's Tax System. The Standing Committee on Law Amendments
received input on Bill 82, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act, and the discussion paper Personal Health Information Access and Privacy
Legislation. Both Committees are expected to report during the session.
The Select Committee on Wellness released a final report, Wellness...we
each have a role to play Individuals, communities, stakeholders and government,
July 11, 2008. Standing Committees on Public Accounts and on Corporations
reviewed the annual reports of departments and Crown Corporations.
Jack Carr, a former communications consultant and government worker, and
the twin brother of PC MLA for Oromocto, Jody Carr, was elected in a November
3 by-election to fill the vacancy in New Maryland-Sunbury West. The new
Member was sworn in on November 19 in a ceremony held in the Chamber. The
vacancy was created when Keith Ashfield resigned to run successfully in
the federal election. He was subsequently appointed the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency Minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Cabinet.
On October 18, 2008, David Alward, MLA for Woodstock, was chosen Leader
of the Progressive Conservative Party and became Opposition Leader, a post
previously held by Madawasks-les-Lac MLA Jeannot Volpé, following the resignation
of Bernard Lord early in 2007. Mr. Alward, a former Minister of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Aquaculture, was first elected in 1999. The Opposition shadow
cabinet includes former minister and MLA for Lamèque-Shippagan- Miscou, Paul Robichaud, as Opposition House Leader.
In a November 12 Cabinet shuffle, three new Ministers were sworn in:
Brewer, Southwest Miramichi, as Minister of Human Resources and Minister
Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs; former Deputy Speaker Brian Kenny,
Bathurst, as Minister of State for Seniors, and Minister Responsible for
the Non-profit Organizations Secretariat; and Bernard LeBlanc, Memramcook-Lakeville-Dieppe,
as Minister of Local government. Three ministers assumed new portfolios: Wally Stiles, formerly Minister of Human Resources, as Minister of Natural
Resources; Donald Arseneault, formerly Minister of Natural Resources, as
Minister of Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour; and Ed Doherty,
formerly Minister of Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour, as
Minister of Supply and Services. Mary Schryer, currently Minister of Social
Development, is also the Minister Responsible for Housing.
The Second Session of the 56th Legislative Assembly which had adjourned
on June 18, met in the forenoon of November 25 to prorogue the session
before the formal Opening of the Third Session later that afternoon.
The Throne Speech, delivered by His Honour
Herménégilde Chiasson, noted
that while the New Brunswick economy performed much as expected in the
first half of 2008, with many indicators showing solid growth, unprecedented
global developments affecting financial markets and the economy will result
in lower overall growth this year and that the fallout from turmoil in
financial markets and weakness in the US economy and other changes represent
a serious challenge for government. While global economic conditions mean
the path has grown more rugged, the journey towards self-sufficiency continues.
Among the numerous initiatives announced were:
- a 10-year strategic plan for intelligent transportation systems;
- the establishment of a New Brunswick Health Research and Innovation Council;
- a response to the Report of the New Brunswick Task Force on Forest Diversity
and Wood Supply;
- a tourism strategy for completion in 2009;
- tax reform to be implemented in a manner that helps achieve the goal of
self-sufficiency by 2026;
- a new energy policy for release in mid-2009;
- new investments detailed in the Early Childhood Strategy Action Plan 2008-2009;
- implementation of a student code of conduct;
- initiation of a modern autonomous college system to allow the New Brunswick
Community College to become a full partner with universities in post-secondary
- personal health information access and privacy legislation;
- a Building Code Act to establish a chief building inspector position;
- improvements to the assessment appeal process to make the process more
balanced, fair and transparent;
- a report from and response to the commissioner on the future of local governance;
- Pay Equity Act to apply to all parts of the public service.
In responding to the Speech from the Throne, Opposition Leader
David Alward stated that the government must reassure New Brunswickers that it has a
plan to weather the current economic storm, and that if the Throne speech
was any indication, the government does not. The Opposition Leader stated
that the economy needs an immediate stimulus to help lessen the impact
of the economic downturn, including an immediate reduction in personal,
small business and corporate taxes. The Opposition Leader also stated that
government should not raise the HST.
The Opposition Leader noted that the government had turned their back on
the province's most vulnerable by eliminating $5 million from the home
heating assistance program and that it had abdicated responsibility for
administering the program by outsourcing it to a third party
The Opposition commended the government on its plans to build on last year's
Agricultural Summit, an idea that was championed by industry. The Opposition
Leader stated that he was encouraged to see that the government is moving
forward on implementing the four early childhood development centres, a
project that has long been championed by former Lieutenant Governor Margaret
The Leader of the Opposition called upon the government to:
- take immediate action on the economy;
- address the issue of rising property tax assessments to lessen the burden
on families, homeowners and businesses;
- provide the province's most vulnerable with real options to reduce heating
- make affordable housing a priority in the province;
- address student debt to help more students complete their studies with
a reduced debt burden.
The start of the session was marked by a new spirit of cooperation indicated
in statements on both sides of the House that the Members would strive
to work together to solve the problems for the benefit of all New Brunswickers.
The agenda for the House and for the fall sitting will be devoted to debating
the Throne Speech, the 2009-2010 Capital Budget, various pieces of legislation,
and private Members' resolutions.
Standings in the House on November 28, 2008 as this goes to press are:
Liberals, 32; PCs, 23.
Loredana Catalli Sonier
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly