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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

CPA Conference in Victoria

The 42nd Conference of the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in Victoria, British Columbia  from July 12-18, 2003.  The Speaker of the BC Legislature, Claude Richmond, welcomed the delegates and observers from every Canadian jurisdiction. The Chairman of the Executive Committee of CPA Bob Speller MP and the Secretary General, Denis Marshall also welcomed delegates to the Conference.

The official opening also featured entertainment from the Victoria Children’s Choir and the Lekwungen traditional dancers from the Songhees First Nation led by Elder Elmer George.

The first business session focused on prospects for the new Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform. The speakers were Gordon Gibson of the Fraser Institute whose  study provided the basic structure of the Assembly, Nick Loenen co-founder of Fair Voting BC and Professor Ronald Cheffins of the University of Victoria. The session was chaired by John Les MLA (British Columbia).

In the second session Ralph Sultan, MLA (British Columbia) and Jack Weisgerber a former MLA offered perspectives on actual and potential reforms to enhance the role of the private member. The session was chaired by Joy MacPhail MLA (British Columbia).

The third session, chaired by Debby Carlson MLA  (Alberta) focused on health care policy and included presentations by Senator Jane Cordy, Rebekah Uqi Williams MLA (Nunavut), Susan Brice MLA (British Columbia) and Dr. Charlyn Black, Co-Director, of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and Evaluation.

The session on Public Perception of Parliamentarians featured presentations by Sue Barnes MP and Kevin Krueger MLA (British Columbia). The chair was Charlotte L’Ecuyer MNA (Quebec).

A session on Measures of Effectiveness in Educating Our Children was chaired by Muriel Baillie MLA (Nova Scotia). The Speakers were Richard Stewart MLA (British Columbia), Yvonne Fritz MLA (Alberta) and Sandra Kelly, MHA (Newfoundland and Labrador).

The Speaker of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, Bev Harrison, chaired a session on the Impact of Polling on the Public Policy Process. The Speakers were Sarmite Bulte MP, Professor Norman Ruff of the University of Victoria and Ian McKinnon a public opinion consultant and former President of Decima Research.

Jeff Bray MLA (British Columbia) chaired the session on the Role of the Fourth Estate which featured presentations by two journalists, Les Leyne of the Victoria Colonist and Mike Smyth of the Vancouver Province.

The final session was devoted to Parliamentary Reform. It was chaired by Speaker Mildred Dover of Prince Edward Island and included presentations by Ben Heppner MLA (Saskatchewan) and Dr. John Weisbeck (British Columbia).

In addition to the business session an ambitious social programme was organised which included visits to the Butchart Gardens, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and Government House. Delegates were given tours of the HMCS Vancouver including the command room, the bridge and the 57mm Anti-Air/Anti Surface gun. They also observed the crew practise a man overboard exercise and a helicopter demonstration of a rescue at sea.

The experience left delegates with an increased admiration for the Canadian military and particularly the men and women of the HMCS Vancouver who spared no effort to make this a memorable day for the visiting parliamentarians and observers.

Seminar in Nunavut

Nunavut will host the 2003 Canadian Regional Seminar  to be held in Iqaluit from October 16–19, 2003. This is the first CPA Regional activity to be held in Nunavut since the territory was created in 1999.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 26 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-03-03