New Speaker in Nova Scotia
On January 18, 2011 Gordie Gosse was elected Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature during a special one-day sitting of the House. The previous Speaker, Charlie Parker, resigned from the position when he was named Minister of Natural Resources and Energy.
Speaker Gosse is a life-long resident of Whitney Pier. In 2003 he became the MLA for Cape Breton Nova. He was re-elected in 2006 and again in 2009.
He is a third generation steel worker who worked in the industry for 18 years. He later became the Executive Director of the Whitney Pier Youth Club. He is also involved in many community activities including the Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High School Advisory Council and the Youth Resource Association. He sat on the Health Studies Working Group, the Community Health and Safety Advisory Committee, and the Board of Directors of the YMCA.
He was voted the 1998 Kinsmen Citizen of the Year and recently was recognized for outstanding dedication to Children and Families by the Children's Aid Society.
Twenty-Eighth Presiding Officers Conference
The 28th Canadian Presiding Officers' Conference took place in Iqaluit, Nunavut, from January 20-23, 2011. Speaker Paul Okalik was the host for the conference.
The official welcome took place in the Legislative Assembly. In addition to having the opportunity to experience a sampling of country foods, including Arctic char, caribou, polar bear and muskox, delegates and guests enjoyed traditional performances from Inuit artists and a fashion show highlighting modern designs of sealskin clothing.
A total of seven business sessions were held during the conference. The first topic, Inuktitut and Parliamentary Terminology, was presented by Speaker Okalik. The session was chaired by Speaker Roger Fitzgerald (Newfoundland and Labrador).
The second topic, Recall and Initiative, was presented by Craig James, Acting Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia. The session was chaired by Speaker Dale Graham (New Brunswick).
The third topic, The Speaker's Ruling Concerning Parliament's Power to ask for Papers, was presented by Marc Bosc, Deputy Clerk of the House of Commons. The session was chaired by Speaker George Hickes (Manitoba).
The fourth topic, Ethics for Presiding Officers, was presented by Blair Armitage, Principal Clerk of the Senate of Canada, on behalf of Gary O'Brien. The session was chaired by Speaker Paul Delorey (Northwest Territories).
The fifth topic, Members' Allowance in Manitoba - A Review of Recent Changes, was presented by Patricia Chaychuk, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. The session was chaired by Speaker Kathleen Casey (Prince Edward Island).
The sixth topic, Code of Ethics for Members of the Quebec National Assembly, was presented by Jacques Chagnon, Second Deputy President and Francois Gendron, Third Deputy President, of the Quebec National Assembly. The session was chaired by Speaker Okalik (Nunavut).
The seventh topic, Initiatives of the Speaker's Office to Preserve and Promote the History of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, was presented by Ted Staffen, Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The session was chaired by Speaker Don Toth (Saskatchewan).
Alfons Schoeps of the Partnership of Parliaments was in attendance throughout the proceedings and provided comments at the conclusion of the business sessions.
In addition to visits to such Iqaluit landmarks as the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, the conference provided an opportunity for partners to spend a few brief but memorable hours in the neighboring community of Kimmirut.
Perhaps to compensate for Iqaluit's unseasonably warm weather in early January, the sudden arrival of a fierce Baffin Island blizzard on the day of departure resulted in the closure of the airport, thereby enabling most delegates and guests to enjoy an extra evening in the territory.
Forty-Nineth Canadian Regional Conference in PEI
Planning is underway for the 49th Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to be held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, from July 13 - 19, 2011. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians will meet on July 14th, with a welcoming reception for all delegates scheduled for that evening.
Delegates can expect an interesting and informative business program, along with opportunities to renew acquaintances and meet new colleagues in less formal settings. The official departure date is July 19th, but participants are encouraged to stay for at least a few more days to experience the gentle pleasures of a Prince Edward Island summer.