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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

CPA Regional Seminar in Manitoba 

Approximately thirty delegates and observers attended the annual Canadian Regional Seminar of the CPA held in Winnipeg from October 16-19, 2008.  The federal election of October 14 precluded any delegates from the House of Commons or the Senate from attending but nine other jurisdictions, every province except Québec, sent delegates to the seminar. 

The host for the Seminar was Speaker George Hickes of Manitoba.  Several other Speakers also attended including Speaker Bill Barisoff (British Columbia), Speaker Roy Boudreau (New Brunswick), and Speaker Roger Fitzgerald  (Newfoundland and Labrador). 

The first topic dealt with the subject of the Urban-Rural Disconnect and featured a presentation by Ralph Eichler MLA of Manitoba. A session on Rural Development Initiatives in Prince Edward Island was given by Robert Henderson MLA and Sonny Gallant MLA both of that province. 

Elizabeth Marshall, MHA, Newfoundland & Labrador House of Assembly made a presentation on the work of the Audit Committee in that province and Laura Ross MLA of Saskatchewan spoke about the issue of Nurse Recruitment and Retention. 

The final topic was on the Role of Private Members’ Legislation and Public Policy. It consisted of a presentation by Linda Jeffrey, MPP, of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. 

Aside from the Business Sessions members were treated to a number of local cultural events.  They had an opportunity to attend Celebrations Dinner Theatre’s performance of Corner Gassed. 

The final dinner hosted by Speaker Hickes featured entertainment by four different groups – Fabuki Daiko (Japanese Blizzard Drumming), the Prairie Heath Dancers (Scottish folk dancing), The Chingwu Athletic Association (Chinese Dragon Dancing) and the Summer Bear Dance Troupe (Aboriginal Dance). 

The invited delegates and observers were grateful to Speaker Hickes, the Seminar co-ordinators Michele LaPointe and Ellen Douglas, and the entire legislative staff led by Patricia Chaychuk, for making this such a successful event. 

New Speaker in Nunavut 

The new Speaker of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly is James Arreak. He was first elected to represent the people of Clyde River and Qikirtarjuaq in the Second Assembly of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut in the 2004 general election. He was re-elected in 2008 as MLA for Uqqummiut. He served on the Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Housing and Economic Development and Standing Committee Ajauqtiit. He was Deputy Speaker for the last two years. 

Before entering public life Mr. Arreak worked for Nordair which was the airline of the North in the 1970’s. He also operated his own business from 1978 to 2004. He has held elected positions with the Clyde River Hamlet Council, NWT Legislative Assembly, Clyde River Co-op, Aarruya Development Council and was one of the founding Chairs for Kakivak Association. He was Mayor of Clyde River from 1984 to 1986. 

Speaker of the House Re-elected 

The House of Commons met on November 18, 2008 for the purpose of electing a Speaker.  The following candidates were given five minutes each to address the House as to why they should be elected: Mauril Bélanger (Lib), Joe Comartin (NDP), Barry Devolin (Cons), Royal Galipeau (Cons), Peter Milliken (Lib), Andrew Scheer (Cons), and Merv Tweed (Cons). Presiding over the election was the Dean of the House, Louis Plamondon (BQ) first elected in 1984. 

During their address all candidates emphasized the desire for better decorum in the new Parliament than had been the case in the 39th Parliament. After five ballots lasting nearly six hours the winner was Mr. Milliken who defeated Messrs Scheer and Tweed on the final ballot. 

Speaker Milliken becomes the first person to be elected Speaker on four occasions.  The only others to be chosen three times were Lucien Lamoureux 1966, 1968 and 1972 and Rodolphe Lemieux 1922, 1925 and 1926.  At some point during the present Parliament Speaker Milliken will surpass the record of Speaker Lamoureux both for years of service in the Chair and number of days in office as Speaker. 

Mr. Milliken was born in Kingston, Ontario and educated at Queen's University, Oxford University and Dalhousie University.  A lawyer, he was a partner with Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little and Bonham from 1973 until his election to Parliament in 1988. He has held a number of positions in the House including Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader, Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole House Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committees of the Whole House.  

He was first elected Speaker on January 29, 2001.  Following the 2004 general election he was acclaimed Speaker of the House and re-elected to this office in April 2006 following the election in January of that year. He has always run for the House of Commons as a Liberal but he has been elected Speaker under both Liberal and Conservative Governments. 

In accepting office, the new Speaker acknowledged the desire for greater decorum in the House. He said: 

Sometimes each party has a different opinion on certain questions asked of the Speaker. However, even that provides us with an opportunity to share ideas and work together. 

I hope that the party leaders in the House and I, and all of the other members, if necessary, can start working together tomorrow as usual to organize House business. At least from a procedural point of view, I hope we can arrange to make the chamber more orderly.... 

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 31 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-03-03