New Speaker in Québec
In January 13, 2009 Yvon Vallières was elected
Speaker of the Québec National Assembly. He was born in Danville (Richmond) on
February 5, 1949 and educated at the Université de Sherbrooke. He was a teacher at
Saint-Hubert, Asbestos, Danville and Valcourt (1970-1972 and 1976-1981) and also
an Education consultant in the Taillon School District from 1972-1973.
He was first elected as the member for
Richmond in the general election held on October 29, 1973 and re-elected in
1981, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2009. Over the years he has held a
number of parliamentary positions including Opposition critic for mining,
highways, agriculture, regional development.
He has served as Chief Government Whip on two
occasions and is also a former Chair of Caucus. He has been Chair of the
Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
He was elected Speaker by acclamation.
Canadian Presiding Officers Conference
The 26th meeting of the Canadian
Presiding Officers took place in Regina, Saskatchewan from January 22-25, 2009.
The host of the Conference was Speaker
Don Toth of Saskatchewan. Other Speakers in attendance included
Peter Milliken (House of Commons),
Roy Boudreau (New Brunswick), Roger Fitzgerald
(Newfoundland and Labrador), George Hickes
(Manitoba), Paul Delroy
(Northwest Territories) Alfie MacLeod
(Nova Scotia), Kathleen Casey (Prince
Edward Island) and Ted Staffen
A number of Deputy Speakers also
attended including Wayne Cao (Alberta), Katherine Whittred
(British Columbia), Andrew Scheer (House of Commons), Bonnie Korzeniowski
(Manitoba), Bill Fraser (New Brunswick), Thomas Osborne
and Felix Collins (Newfoundland and Labrador), Bruce Crozier
and Jim Wilson (Ontario), Steve Nordick
(Yukon), Paula Biggar (Prince Edward Island), François Gendron
(Québec), Greg Brkich and Tim McMillan (Saskatchewan).
The conference was opened by Speaker Toth who
welcomed the visiting Speakers and delegates to Saskatchewan.
The first business session was on
Parliamentary Broadcasts – Is it Time to Level the Playing Field?
and featured a presentation by Gregory Putz, Clerk of the
Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly and Darcy Hislop,
Chief Technology Officer.
Speaker Milliken presented a paper in
the second session on the Challenges of Special Sittings. The third session was
a Roundtable with three former Saskatchewan Speakers
Glenn Hagel, Myron Kowalsky and
Speaker MacLeod gave a presentation on
Notices of Motions at the fourth session and the final session was on Committee
Reform in Alberta with a presentation by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly,
Aside from the business sessions members had an
opportunity to visit the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the RCMP Heritage Centre.
Following the final business session they attended a performance by the music
group Kevin Costner and Modern West.
The show included original material penned by the band and cover songs
written by some of music’s giants.