The annual conference bringing
together parliamentarians from the branches of the Canadian Region of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in Toronto from July 18 - 24,
More than 90 legislators and
observers from every federal, provincial and territorial jurisdiction attended
along with a number of international guests including the Hon. Billie Miller,
Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados and Chairman of the Executive Committee of
the CPA; Eric Illsley and John Townsend, members of the British
House of Commons, and David Adkins of Kansas representing the
Midwestern Legislative Conference on the NCSL. The CPA Secretariat was
represented by Mahbub Alam.
The host of the conference was
Speaker Chris Stockwell of Ontario and several other presiding officers
also attended including Speaker Ken Kowalski (Alberta) Speaker Glenn
Hagel (Saskatchewan), Speaker Louise Dacquay (Manitoba), Speaker John
McKay (New Brunswick), Speaker Lloyd Snow (Newfoundland and
Labrador), Speaker Ron Russell (Nova Scotia) and Speaker Sam Gargan
The first business session dealt
with the issue of “Correcting Past Wrongs – When is it the Government’s
Responsibility?” The discussion was opened by Lois Moorcroft
of Yukon. The next session dealt with Conflict of Interest Guidelines.
The opening presentation was made by Lindy Kasperski of Saskatchewan. A
session on Referenda and whether they make governments more accountable
featured a presentation by Jim Girling, Legal Counsel for the Cabinet
Office in Ontario.
The fourth session looked at
“Parliament and the Courts - Who is Legislating Whom?” with a presentation by Sue
Olsen of Alberta. Nicole Léger of
Quebec opened discussion in the session that focused on the Year 2000 and
The remaining sessions featured
panel discussions including one on environmental issues with Donald
MacKinnon of Prince Edward Island and Doug Miller, President of
Environics International Limited. Another panel, consisting of Frank
Corbett of Nova Scotia, Greg Deighan of Prince Edward Island and
Senator Lorna Milne, looked at “Pollsters and the Press”.
Finally, there was a very
interesting discussion on the creation of two new Territories in Canada’s North
scheduled to take place in 1999. John Ningark of the NWT and David
Hamilton, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly led the discussion.
Aside from the business sessions
visiting delegates were treated to a Blue Jays baseball game at the Skydome and
a visit to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.