Twenty-Sixth Regional Seminar
The Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association held it first activity in Nunavut from October 16-18, 2003.
The Speaker of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, Kevin
O’Brien, hosted about thirty delegates and observers from eight provinces
and territories as well as from the Parliament of Canada. Among the other
Speakers in attendance were Bev Harrison of New Brunswick, Anthony
Whitford of the Northwest Territories and George Hickes of Manitoba.
The welcoming reception was hosted by Deputy Speaker Uriash
Puqiqnak, MLA and included traditional Inuit ceremonies such as the
lighting of the Qulliq by Mary Wilman and Sammy Qaumagiaq.
The Illiniarvik Childrens Choir led by Carole Horne performed as
did David Serkoak and the Joamie School Drummers. The
entertainment concluded with a sample of Inuit throat singing by Madeleine
Allakariallak and Sylvia Cloutier.
The first business session, focused on the topic of E-Democracy
and Parliament. The main speaker was William Cusano, MNA of Quebec.
Another session, led by Speaker O’Brien, dealt with the topic of
Maurice Vellacott, MP was lead speaker in a discussion of the casting vote
and Karen Kryczka, MLA from Alberta addressed the topic of senior
benefits and long term care for the elderly in Alberta.
The size of the group and the location, in the new Nunavut
Assembly Chamber, contributed to good discussion and exchange on all the
Aside from the business sessions the delegates and observers had
an opportunity to take a tour of Iqaluit, and to visit various shops and other
places of interest including the Nunatta Sunakkuttaangit Musuem where there was
an exhibit of 2003 Cape Dorset prints. An excursion to Pangnirtung had to
be cancelled due to inclement weather.
Everyone left with many northern souvenirs but most indelible
was an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities of Canada’s newest
Several new Speakers have been elected as a result of provincial
elections held recently in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and
Newfoundland and Labrador
On November 12, 2003 Harvey Hodder was elected Speaker of
the Legislative Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador. This was to be the
first secret ballot election of the Speaker by secret ballot but as there was
only one candidate there was no need for a ballot.
Harvey Hodder is a graduate of Memorial University of
Newfoundland with a B.A. (Hons.), B.A. (Ed.) and a Graduate Diploma in
Educational Administration. He held teaching positions in Botwood and
Point Leamington prior to an extensive teaching/administrative career with the
Avalon Consolidated School Board in three different Mount Pearl schools.
For more than 30 years, Mr. Hodder has been very active in
community organisations including the Boy Scouts of Canada, the Canadian Heart
Foundation, the Mount Pearl Minor Soccer Association, Mount Pearl Winter
Carnival, the Mount Pearl Library Board, the Mount Pearl Marlins Swim Club,
etc. In addition he served four years as a member of the Board of Regents
for Memorial University.
Prior to entering the House of Assembly in 1993 as the Member
for the District of Waterford- Kenmount, Mr. Hodder served as a
Councillor, Deputy-Mayor and was elected on four occasions to the position of
Mayor of the City of Mount Pearl. For 12 years, he served as the Mount Pearl
representative with the St. John’s Metropolitan Area Board and was elected
twice to the Executive of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of
Re-elected in 1996 and 1999 he has held a variety of
critic responsibilities: the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs,
the Department of Social Services, the Department of Education and Training,
Finance and Treasury Board, Health, Community and Family Services. Human
Resources and Employment and most recently Tourism, Culture and Recreation
From December 1994 until the submission of the Committee’s Report to
the House of Assembly in June 1996, he also served as the Vice-Chair of the
Select Committee on Children’s Interests.
He was Chair of the Caucus Strategy Committee and from March
1996 to January 1998 was the Opposition House Leader and a member of the Legislature’s
Internal Economy Committee. Mr. Hodder was co-chair of the Caucus
Election Readiness Committee.
Prince Edward Island
Gregory (Greg) Deighan elected Speaker of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly
on November 12, 2003. He was born in Summerside on October 15, 1939.
Mr. Deighan ran in 1989 and 1993 for the Progressive
Conservative Party, but was first elected in the general election on November
18, 1996, representing District #21, Wilmot-Summerside. He was re- elected in
the general elections of 2000 and 2003. He was appointed Deputy Speaker of the
Prince Edward Island Legislature on January 3, 1997, and served in that role
until May 2000.
Mr. Deighan is a member of the Prince Edward Island Branch of
the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and has sat on the Standing
Committees on Privileges, Rules and Private Bills; Public Accounts; Community
Affairs and Economic Development; and Social Development. He served as Minister
of Tourism from May 2000 to August 2002; and Minister of Minister of Fisheries
and Aquaculture from August 2002 to September 2003.
In his private career, Mr. Deighan was employed as the Financial
Assistant at the Western School Board. Mr. Deighan is Past President of the
Summerside Lions Club and the Silver Fox Curling Club and is Past Chairman of
the Land Use Commission. He is very active in his community and involved in
many sporting organizations such as hockey, baseball and curling.Ontario
Alvin Curling was first elected to the Ontario Legislature on May 2, 1985 representing
the former riding of Scarborough North, now Scarborough-Rouge River. He
was the first Liberal member elected to that riding. He was re-elected in
September 1987, September 1990, June 1995, June 1999 and again on October 2,
Mr. Curling served as Minister of Housing from June 1985 to
September 1987; and as Minister of Skills Development with special
responsibility for literacy, from September 1987 to August 1989. During
this period he was also a member of the Premier’s Council on Science and
Technology. From September 1989 to July 1990, Mr. Curling was
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. He
chaired the Standing Committee on Estimates from November 1995 to January 1997.
Strongly committed to promoting literacy, Mr. Curling was
President of World Literacy of Canada from 1981 to 1984. He is actively
involved in a number of community organizations and was Chair of the
Advisory Board to the Caribana Cultural Committee for the period 1997-1998, a
member of the Board of Directors of the World Hunger Project and a member of
the Advisory Board to the Chinese Cultural Centre. For his strong
community involvement Mr. Curling was recently honoured by the Government of
Jamaica with the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Commander.
Mr. Curling was educated at Seneca College of Applied Arts and
Technology; York University, Atkinson College; and the College of Science and
Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. He was an educational administrator before
Alvin Curling was elected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
of Ontario on November 19, 2003.
New Clerk in the NWT
Tim Mercer was
named Clerk designate of the Legislative Assembly in June 2003, and took office
in October 2003, replacing David Hamilton who retired. Mr.
Hamilton will continue his duties as Chief Electoral Officer for the Northwest
Mr. Mercer is a graduate of Queen's ( BA Political Science) and
Dalhousie ( MA Public Administration). Prior to moving North, he served as
Municipal Advisor to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the
Province of Nova Scotia and as a project manager with the Canada/Nova Scotia
In 1997 he was recruited by the City of Yellowknife to the
position of City Clerk. In 2000 he was appointed to lead the city's newly
formed Corporate Services Department. As Director of Corporate Services, Mr.
Mercer was responsible for the provision of professional support services to
City Council including legislative support, policy and research, corporate
communications, legal services, information technology, labour relations, human
resources and records management. During this time, Mr. Mercer successfully
renegotiated collective agreements with the City's civic employee and fire
fighter unions and drafted a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding between
the City and the Yellowknife's Dene First Nation. On September 11, 2001, Mr.
Mercer chaired a multi-jurisdictional emergency management committee in
response to the diversion of aircraft to Yellowknife following the closure of
North American airspace on that day.