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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

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 Consensus Government.

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 topics.

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 territory.

New Speakers

Several new Speakers have been elected as a result of provincial elections held recently in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.

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 Municipalities.

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, 2003.

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 entering politics.

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 Territories.

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 Cooperation Agreement.

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.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 26 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-09-14