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
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
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
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
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.