Thirtieth Presiding Officers’ Conference
The Presiding Officers from Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Legislatures held their 30th annual conference January 31-February 3, 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia. The host was Speaker Bill Barisoff of British Columbia.
The Speakers in attendance were: Gene Zwozdesky (Alberta), Andrew Scheer (House of Commons), Daryl Reid (Manitoba), Dale Graham (New Brunswick), Ross Wiseman (Newfoundland and Labrador), Jackie Jacobson (Northwest Territories), Gordon Gosse, Jr. (Nova Scotia), Hunter Tootoo (Nunavut), Dave Levac (Ontario), Carolyn Bertram (Prince Edward Island), Jacques Chagnon (Quebec), Dan D’Autremont (Saskatchewan), and David Laxton (Yukon).
Chaired by Speaker D’Autremont, the first business session featured a roundtable discussion that covered the challenges and opportunities faced by new Speakers. The discussion was followed by a presentation by Speaker Chagnon on the challenges he faced as President of the National Assembly in a new parliament with a minority government and numerous Independent Members.
The topic of the third session, “Responding to an Audit”, featured presentations by Speaker Gosse, (Nova Scotia), Speaker Wiseman (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Audrey O’Brien, Clerk of the House of Commons. The session was introduced and chaired by Craig James, Clerk of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly.
The final session of the first day was on “Transparency and Accountability in Disclosing Members’ Expenses”, and included presentations from Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Northwest Territories, Speaker D’Autremont and Clerk Greg Putz from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, and Patricia Chaychuk, Clerk of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.
On Saturday, February 2nd, Speaker Barisoff (British Columbia) and Charles MacKay, Clerk of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly, discussed their respective provincial Black Rods.
The next session, chaired by Speaker Graham (New Brunswick), was a roundtable discussion led by Speaker Tootoo (Nunavut) to discuss the financial accountability of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
The final business session chaired by Speaker Bertram (Prince Edward Island), featured a presentation by Jill Anne Joseph, Director, Internal Audit and Strategic Planning, Senate of Canada, on benchmarking and developing standards for Parliament.
In addition to the business sessions, delegates attended an event at Government House, hosted by British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon, and a dinner at CFB Esquimalt that included a presentation on the role of the Canadian Pacific Naval Fleet.