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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

New Speakers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories

On November 18, 1999 George Hickes became the first Manitoba Speaker elected by a secret ballot process. Mr. Hickes is an Inuit, born in the North West Territories, now known as Nunavut, and raised in Churchill, Manitoba. One of 13 children, he grew up with both the traditional Inuit lifestyle and the culture of an industrialized society. His father supported the family both by trapping and hunting and working at Fort Churchill.

Prior to his election as MLA for Point Douglas in the 1990 Manitoba general election, Mr. Hickes was Executive Director of training for the Limestone Training and Employment Agency. He was re-elected as MLA for Point Douglas in 1995 and 1999.

As an opposition member Mr. Hickes was Critic for the departments of Multiculturalism and Co-op Development and was also Caucus Whip.

On December 6, 1999, Ron Osika, Member for Melville, was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. Mr. Osika was born in Hafford, Saskatchewan. He grew up and attended school in the Battlefords.

In 1957 he embarked on a 25-year career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During this time he was stationed at various locations in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was Training Supervisor for Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario when he chose to retire from the Force in 1981.

The same year he was selected from a cross-country search by the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation as Field Operations Training Supervisor. He became Provincial Manager of Field Operations, moved to Melville in 1987 and eventually was the corporation’s Executive Manager of Corporate Affairs when he left the Corporation in February 1992. Following his departure from the corporation, he became actively involved within the community of Melville and served as a director of the Melville & District Chamber of Commerce.

In 1993 Mr. Osika moved to Fort Qu’Appelle where he joined the staff of the local newspaper and served as President of the Fort Qu’Appelle and District Chamber of Commerce

In February 1995, he won the Liberal nomination in the riding of Melville and was elected to the Legislative Assembly in the June election. In November 1995 he was appointed interim leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Official Opposition. In 1996, after the Party elected its leader, he served as Deputy Leader and sat as the Third Party Leader in the Legislature for the duration of the 23rd Session. Mr Osika was re-elected in 1999.

Anthony W. J. (Tony) Whitford was elected Speaker of the 14th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories on January 17, 2000. He was born on June 11, 1941 and raised in Fort Smith. He graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary in 1977. Mr. Whitford has an extensive history in community work as a long-term member of Rotary, the Past President of the NWT Canada Day Committee, a Notary Public, Marriage Commissioner and is well-known as a volunteer auctioneer and fundraiser.

Before being elected to the Legislature as the Member for Yellowknife South in a 1988 by-election he was Executive Assistant to then-Commissioner John Parker. He served as a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, Standing Committee on Agencies, Boards and Commissions and the Special Committee on the Northern Economy.

He was returned by acclamation to the 12th Assembly in 1991 and he served as the Minister of Health and Social Services. He was also a Member of the Standing Committee on Agencies, Boards and Commissions, Standing Committee on Legislation, Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and Privileges and was the Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole.

Mr. Whitford was not a Member of the 13th Legislature but he continued in public service as Executive Assistant to then-NWT and now Nunavut Commissioner Helen Maksagak. He was also Sergeant-at-Arms for the Assembly for two years and was a member of the Northwest Territories Public Utilities Board.

Mr. Whitford returned to the Legislature as the Member for Kam Lake in December 1999.

17th Canadian Presiding Officer’s Conference

The 17th Canadian Presiding Officers Conference was held in Winnipeg from January 20-23, 2000. The host was Speaker George Hickes of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. Forty-five delegates, Speakers, Deputy Speakers, other presiding officials, and Table Officers from the Senate, House of Commons and every province and territory were in attendance.

Seven of the nine working sessions featured presentations on matters of mutual interest to the presiding officers. These included:

·         The Intrusion of the Internet into the Functioning of Legislative Assemblies
(Pierre Duchesne, Secretary General of the Quebec National Assembly)

·         The Royal Recommendation: A Case Study of a Ruling
(Gildas Molgat, Speaker of the Senate)

·         The Potential impact of Freedom of Information Legislation on Parliament: The Alberta Experience
(David McNeil, Clerk of the Alberta Legislative Assembly)

·         Points of Order and Privilege (Greg Deighen, Deputy Speaker of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly)

·         Radio Broadcasting of House Proceedings
(Patrick Michael, Clerk of the Yukon Legislative Assembly)

·         Question Period and the New Speaker
(Murray Scott, Speaker of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly)

·         Overview of the Partnership of Parliaments and State Legislative Leaders’ Foundation (Ken Kowalski, Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly)

In addition two sessions were devoted to short reports from each of the legislatures on recent procedural developments in their jurisdiction.

New Clerk in Manitoba

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and chair of the assembly's Management Commission announced the appointment of Patricia Chaychuk as Clerk of the Assembly, the first woman to hold the position.

The new clerk is a graduate of R.D. Parker Collegiate in Thompson, holds a BA (Honours) from the University of Winnipeg, a master of public administration from the University of Manitoba and is currently a part-time student in the master of business administration program at the Faculty of Management, University of Manitoba.

She has served as legislative clerk assistant and clerk of committees since 1989. “During my nine years in the house, Ms. Chaychuk has not only won my respect,” said Hickes, “but she clearly enjoys the confidence of all members of all parties. I am particularly happy to welcome a fellow northerner to this responsible position.

Ms. Chaychuk succeeds W.H. “Binx” Remnant, who retired in December after 17 years as clerk. She was a legislative intern, premier of the Manitoba Youth Parliament and she completed a one-year training attachment with the House of Commons. Ms Chaychuk is a member of the Association of Clerks-at-the-Table in Canada.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 23 no 1

Last Updated: 2020-09-14