New Speaker in New Brunswick
John Bradley McKay was elected Speaker of the New Brunswick Legislative
Assembly in November 1997. He was born June 8, 1948 at Newcastle, New
Brunswick, the son of William John McKay and Elmira Scott.
He received his early education at Harkins
Academy and attended the New Brunswick Teachers' College. He later graduated
from the University of New Brunswick.
A teacher, Mr. McKay was first elected to
the legislature on November 18, 1974 to represent the Liberal Party in the new
single-member riding of Miramichi-Newcastle. Re-elected October 23, 1978, he
served four years as Financial Critic. He was re-elected in 1987 and 1991.
After a provincial redistribution, he was re-elected in 1995 to represent the
new constituency of Miramichi Centre.
He served on the legislature's Standing
Committees on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Fisheries; Contingencies;
Crown Corporations; Energy; Law Amendments; Legislative Administration;
Municipalities and Corporations; Natural Resources; Private Bills; Procedure;
Public Accounts, and Standing Rules. He served on the Select Committee on
Renewable Resources and the Special Committee on Economic Policy Development.
He was a member of the Standing Committees on Privileges and from 1989 to 1997
he was Chairman of Government Caucus.
On November 4,1997 Mr McKay was elected
Speaker of the 53rd. Legislature. As Speaker, he chairs the Legislative
A Newcastle town councillor for nine years,
Mr. McKay was chairman of the Finance Committee, deputy mayor, and he was
elected mayor in 1986. He has been president of the Miramichi Airport
Commission, vice-president and director of the Miramichi Agricultural
Exhibition Association, member of the Miramichi Hospital Board, director of Big
Brothers, director of the Miramichi Planning District Commission, and president
of the North Shore Trotting Association.
Mr. McKay is past president of the Miramichi
Historical Society, former director of the French Fort Cove Development
Commission, former director of the Northumberland Organisation of the Disabled
and a member of the Newcastle Rotary Club.
Canadian Presiding Officers Conference
The Annual Meeting of the individuals who
preside over Canadian legislative assemblies took place in Victoria British
Columbia from January 15 -18,1998. The host of the Conference was Speaker Dale
Lovick of British Columbia. There were nine business sessions, three of
which were round table discussions with presentations on developments in each jurisdiction.
Every Speaker or Deputy Speaker was given an opportunity to outline important
rulings or other procedural issues during the last year.
On Saturday morning Speaker Lovick chaired
an Oxford style debate on the following topic:
BE IT RESOLVED that parliamentary reform is
the sole prerogative of the government in consultation with opposition parties
(and initiatives for reform are not the domain of Speakers or Officers of the
Debating the affirmative were Gretchen
Brewin, Deputy Speaker in British Columbia, Speaker Chris Stockwell
of Ontario and Patrick Michael, Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
Opposing them were Peter Milliken,
Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker Wilbur MacDonald of
Prince Edward Island and Loredana Catalli-Sonier, Clerk of the New
Brunswick Legislative Assembly.
There were also sessions on
Speaker's Latitude as an MLA
Structure and Operation of the Parliamentary Committee System
Relating to Private Members’ Business
private consultation regarding business of the house, decorum and procedural
a Ruling is Prepared *
Each session began with a short presentation
by a Clerk or House officer. The presenters included
David Hamilton, Clerk of the Northwest Territories Legislative
Assembly, Lucie Giguère, procedural advisor with the Quebec National
Assembly, Robert Walsh, General Legislative Counsel with the House of
Commons, Glenn Hagel, Speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly
and Claude DesRosiers, Clerk of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.
As usual this small gathering of presiding
officers and officials was very useful for new and even experienced Speakers
and Deputy Speakers. Such meetings go a long way to assuring legislators (and
Canadians generally) that the presiding officers of our legislative assemblies
take a serious and professional approach to their duties. When they are called
upon to make a ruling they do so in accordance with precedent and in light of
the best non partisan advice available to them.