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The Second Session of the
Fifty-fourth Legislative Assembly prorogued on Friday, June 16, 2000, after 65
sitting days. This marked the end of the longest session since 1981 and
completion of the first full session since the Progressive Conservative Party
came to power in the provincial election of June 7, 1999.
The session included the first
all-night sitting in memory, a protest in the Gallery which forced the
temporary suspension of a sitting and, for the first time in twenty years, the
order for the withdrawal of a Member from the Chamber. Members passed the
Conservative government’s first budget and passed legislation which resulted in
a significant restructuring of government. The standing and select committees
of the House remained active during the course of the session, which spanned
In total, the House passed 51
Bills, the most substantial of which enabled a major government
restructuring which merged departments, created new ministries, and shuffled
Bill 34, An Act to Amend the
Executive Council Act, established 15 ministries, reducing the size of Cabinet
significantly from that of the previous government which had 18 Ministers
plus three Ministers of State, going into the 1999 election.
A major change, the amalgamation
of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with the Department of
Fisheries and Aquaculture to form the new Department of Food Production, was
the subject of intensive questioning in the House. On April 13, the Minister, Paul
Robichaud (Lamèque-Shippagan-Miscou) announced that the new department
would be renamed the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Aquaculture to
reflect the desire of the farmers, fishermen, and aquaculturists to have their
traditional identities reflected in the name of the new department.
Five Bills were left to die on
the Order Paper, including a Private Member’s Bill introduced by the New
Democratic Party Leader Elizabeth Weir (Saint John Harbour) which would
have amended the Human Rights Act to make it illegal to discriminate
against persons based on their social condition. The government indicated that
it may consider the proposed legislation at a later date.
A Bill which would have
abolished the province’s minimum wage board was also not passed into law,
although much time was spent debating the legislation. The government did,
however, raise the provincial minimum wage by 25 cents an hour to $5.75.
A Private Member’s Bill, An
Act to Proclaim Holocaust Memorial Day Yom haShoah in New Brunswick,
introduced by Eric MacKenzie, (Fredericton-Fort Nashwaak) received Royal
Assent December 17 and designates a special day to commemorate victims of
the Holocaust haShoah and to reflect on and educate about the Holocaust.
For the first time in recent
memory, the House passed a Private Member’s Public Bill introduced by an
opposition member. Bill 37, introduced by Ms. Weir, designates April 28 as A
Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace.
In bringing down the
government’s first budget March 28, Finance Minister Norman Betts
(Southwest Miramichi) noted that New Brunswickers would benefit from:
- a $33 million reduction in personal income
tax effective July 1, 2000;
- the lowest corporate income tax rate for
small business in all of Canada;
- the highest level of health care funding in
New Brunswick history;
- the highest level of education funding in
New Brunswick history;
- a five million dollar increase over four
years in supplements for disabled New Brunswickers, and
- a balanced budget with a surplus of $21.3
In criticizing the Budget,
Opposition Finance Critic Bernard Richard (Shediac—Cap-Pelé)
characterized it as nothing more than smoke and mirrors and stated that the
devil is really in the details. The opposition questioned which programs and
services would be cut, how many regional offices would be closed and how much
would really be downloaded to municipalities.
On April 9, as Premier Bernard
Lord (Moncton East) began his remarks to close the Budget Debate, Speaker Bev
Harrison (Hampton-Belleisle) suspended proceedings when a large delegation
in the gallery began singing and shouting. The Speaker asked visitors in the
gallery to respect the traditions of the House and allow the Members to carry
on their business on the floor. When the interjections continued, the Speaker
recessed the House to the call of the bells. An hour and a half later the crowd
dispersed and the Premier completed his speech.
Early in the session the House
adopted a report of the Standing Committee on Procedure which resulted in the
elimination of evening sittings; however, the House subsequently passed a
motion which re-established the evening sitting hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays
until such time as the House had completed its consideration of the estimates
in Committee of Supply.
The session included a number of
procedural rulings by the Speaker, the most significant of which arose out of a
point of privilege raised by Mr. Richard on March 29 in relation to the Main
Estimates document. The Opposition submitted that the Main Estimates,
introduced by the government along with the budget, lacked the traditional
comparative data respecting previous years expenditures and essential
comparative data for full-time equivalent positions. It was submitted that such
information was traditionally provided to the House and was essential if
members were to properly and effectively carry out their parliamentary duties.
In a detailed ruling on April 4 the Speaker found that although the omission of
comparative data from the Main Estimates document may constitute a legitimate
grievance on the part of Members, it did not constitute an essential component
without which the Members could not carry out their duties. The Speaker ruled
that the matter failed to establish a prima facie case of breach of
privilege and that the information could be obtained by other means.
Given the significant
restructuring of government, the bulk of the House time was spent in Committee
of Supply where 160 hours were spent questioning ministers on budget estimates.
The Opposition stated that they would have to question the government at length
to obtain the comparative information normally contained in the Main Estimates
document. On one occasion, the House passed a motion permitting it to sit past
the ordinary hour of daily adjournment to continue consideration of the
estimates of the Department of Finance. The sitting, which began at 1:00
p.m., stretched through the night before finally adjourning at 9:50 a.m. the
next morning. The next daily sitting began at 10:00 a.m. that day and adjourned
at 6:00 p.m. for a total of 29 continuous sitting hours.
On May 18, Select Committee on
Education Chair Pat Crossman (Riverview) presented the Committee’s
Second Report, the result of extensive consultations on a Green Paper entitled Let’s
Discuss Public Education Governance. The Report outlined recommendations
for a more effective structure to govern the province’s education system. Chief
among the recommendations was a proposal to establish publicly and locally
elected district education councils and to ensure meaningful parental
involvement in the governance structure.
The Select Committee on Health
Care chaired by Madeleine Dubé, (Edmundston), was appointed to examine,
inquire into, and report to the House with respect to the delivery of health
care in New Brunswick, and to consider other matters as may be referred by
government. The Committee was requested by the Minister of Health and Wellness,
Dennis Furlong (Dalhousie-Restigouche East), to make recommendations to
the House on the development of a wellness strategy for the province.
The Committee’s first report,
submitted June 15, 2000, included a definition of wellness, background
information on why wellness is important, and the benefits of investing
in a wellness strategy. The report also included an inventory of government
health and wellness-related programs, policies and initiatives. The Committee
subsequently developed a discussion guide entitled What about Wellness? which
was designed to encourage discussion on wellness and which outlined a public
consultation process to begin in the fall.
The Select Committee to Review
Appointments by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council met during the first part of
the session and considered a number of appointments to key agencies, boards and
commissions. However, NDP Leader Elizabeth Weir resigned from the Committee
early in the session, claiming that proposed appointments were too partisan.
The two remaining Opposition Members continued to serve until July when
Opposition Leader Camille Thériault (Kent South) indicated that the
Liberal members would also resign from the Committee.
On April 5, Speaker Harrison
ordered Liberal Member Shawn Graham (Kent) to withdraw immediately from
the House for the remainder of the day’s sitting, for refusing to withdraw the
statement that the Premier had “lied to the farmers” about the elimination of
programs in the Agriculture department. It was the first time in 20 years that
a Member had been ordered to withdraw from the House. Although Mr. Graham
apologized to the Speaker and withdrew the remark the following day, the Member
faced repeated calls from government Members throughout the session demanding
that he offer an apology to the Premier.
In May, Speaker Harrison
presided over the Eleventh Annual Student Legislative Seminar as 55 students
from around the province spent the weekend at the Assembly attending workshops
and participating in a model parliament debating issues that concern them most.
On October 5, Liberal Opposition
Member Edmond Blanchard, Q.C., (Campbellton) resigned to become a judge
of the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division. First elected in 1987, Mr.
Blanchard held several portfolios in the Fifty-Second and Fifty-Third
Legislatures, including Attorney General, Minister of Justice, and Minister of
From October 2 through 6, New
Brunswickers expressed their personal condolences to the family of former Prime
Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau by signing a signature book in the
Rotunda of the Assembly.
Trenholme Counsell and Premier Lord officially welcomed Their Excellencies
Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul, on
October 10, 2000, to the province. The Governor General addressed the assembled
guests outside and then proceeded inside the Legislature to meet Members of the
Cabinet, to sign the Distinguished Visitors Book and to visit the Legislative
On October 22, Liberal
Opposition Member Bernard Thériault (Caraquet) resigned in order to run
as a candidate in the federal general election. First elected in 1987, Mr.
Thériault was Legislative assistant to the Minister of Health and Community
Services before serving as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the
Fifty-third Legislative Assembly.
On October 19, 2000, a
proclamation was issued calling the Third Session of the Fifty-fourth
Legislature into session on the fourteenth day of November, 2000.
Diane Taylor Myles
The Legislative Assembly of
Manitoba adjourned the First Session of the Thirty-Seventh Legislature on
August 16, 2000. After 81 sitting days, a total of 50 pieces of legislation were
assented to. The session adjourned on August 17, 2000. This marks the latest a
legislative session has sat into the summer since 1983.
Some of the more significant
pieces of legislation that came before the House since the last issue were:
- Bill (No. 4) - The Elections
Finances Amendment Act, including banning all donations from
corporate, union and other organization sources; establishing a $3,000
annual limit on donations to political parties by individuals;
- Bill (No. 17) - The Elections
Amendment Act, including giving the chief electoral officer, instead
of cabinet, the authority to appoint returning officers; shortening the
minimum period of an election from 36 days to 33 days;
- Bill (No. 44) - The Labour
Relations Amendment Act (2), which makes a number of changes to The
Labour Relations Act, including changes to certification votes,
ratification votes, last offer votes, settlement of collective agreement
by the Labour Board or an arbitrator.
Of the pieces of legislation
mentioned above, Bill 44 received the most media and public interest. Public
hearings for Bill 44 were held on August 14 and 15 with a total of 61
presenters heard in support of and in opposition to the Bill.
An additional piece of
legislation that did not receive significant media attention but opens up a
very broad new era was the passage of Bill (No. 31) - The Electronic
Commerce and Information, Consumer Protection Amendment and Manitoba Evidence
Amendment Act. Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, indicated that the legislation
passed by the House is “the most comprehensive e-commerce legislation in the
country that will encourage electronic business transactions and protect
consumers. This legislation will ensure the maximum level of protection for
consumers and companies who want to do business online.” On October 23, five of
the seven sections of the Act came into force.
The Standing Committees were
busy considering both legislation and annual reports. The Standing Committee on
Industrial Relations met 5 times to consider legislation referred, the Standing
Committee on Municipal Affairs met once to consider the consolidated financial
statements of the North Portage Development Corporation, the Standing Committee
on Privileges and Elections met twice to consider bills referred and the
Standing Committee on Public Utilities and Natural Resources met twice to
consider bills referred.
On July 19, 2000, leave of the
House was granted to proceed with an Opposition Day Motion sponsored by Jack
Penner (Emerson). The motion requested that the Federal Government
re-examine its position for financial assistance for the 1999 flooding that
affected large areas of the province. It further requested that the Government
of Manitoba consider examining all applicable programs, services and financial
options at both the federal and provincial level. Following the passage of
amendments, with unanimous consent, the motion also urged the federal
government to work cooperatively with the province to provide funding for
losses incurred as a result of flooding in Manitoba in 1999 and 2000.
On August 8, 2000, the
Legislative Assembly unanimously agreed to a Private Member's Resolution
sponsored by Bonnie Korzeniowski, Member for St. James. The resolution
dealt with the recognition of August 9 as Peacekeeping Day to recognize the
contribution of Canadian soldiers who have served as peacekeepers across the
globe. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the House. The Premier
subsequently proclaimed August 9 as Peacekeeping Day in Manitoba.
The 41st Annual Premier's
Conference was held in Manitoba on August 10 and 11. Some of the issues
discussed were health care, early childhood development, post-secondary
education and economic and resource topics. This was Premier Doer's inaugural
conference since being elected to office in October 1999.
On November 21, 2000,
Manitoban's will be going to the polls. The constituencies of Tuxedo and
Kirkfield Park became vacant with the resignations of Gary Filmon,
former Premier of Manitoba and Eric Stefanson, Minister of Finance in
the previous administration. Stuart Murray, who takes over as
Conservative Party Leader at the upcoming Leadership Convention being held in
November, will be running for the Progressive Conservatives in Kirkfield Park.
Manitoba's Legislative Building
will be undergoing restoration and repair work on the building itself and on
the well-known Golden Boy. The project commenced in October and is expected to
take approximately one year. The restoration work includes reparation of the outside
stonework, and structural repairs to the central tower. The Golden Boy will
also be receiving a "face lift" and will undergo a regilding process.
The year 2000 marks the 80th birthday of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
The date for commencement of the
next session is yet unknown, but a fall sitting is anticipated for late
November or early December.
House of Commons
On September 18, the Speaker Gilbert
Parent accepted the request of Peter MacKay and of Michel
Gauthier for an emergency debate pursuant to S.O. 52, on organized crime.
Don Boudria, Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons, subsequently moved that the debate commence at 6:30 p.m.; that
proceedings pursuant to S.O. 38 be suspended; that the speeches be limited to a
length of 20 minutes followed by a 10-minute question-and-comment period and;
that when no Member rises to speak, the House adjourn until the next sitting
day. The request for an emergency debate followed two attempts by Mr. Gauthier
to obtain unanimous consent to debate Motion M-428 immediately. M-428 was
placed on the Notice Paper September 14, 2000 and deals with the issue of
organized crime. Private Members' notices of motions normally require that at
least two weeks notice be given before the matter can be taken up in the House
On Monday, September 25, the
Order Paper and Notice Paper was published in two parts because of the large
volume of report stage motions (3,133) in amendment to Bill C-3 – An Act in
respect of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other
Acts. A separate list of motions on notice at report stage for Bill C-3 was
printed for use in the House and was not reprinted in subsequent days.
On September 28, the Acting
Speaker informed the House of the death of the Right Hon. Pierre Elliott
Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada from 1968 to 1979, and from 1980 to 1984.
The next day, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Stockwell Day (Leader
of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance), Gilles Duceppe (Leader of the
Bloc Québécois), Alexa McDonough (Leader of the NDP), Joe Clark
(Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party) and Speaker Parent paid tribute
to his memory. The House then adjourned until Wednesday, October 4, 2000.
On October 17, Mr. MacKay raised
a question of privilege concerning the Report of the Information Commissioner
tabled in the House of Commons Monday, October 16, 2000. The Member argued
that, in this Report, the Information Commissioner complained about the actions
of the Privy Council Office and the Treasury Board, contending that these
departments had challenged his powers and denied him resources to carry out his
duties. The Member asked the Speaker to rule it a prima facie matter of
privilege in order that a debate could take place on the issue immediately.
Deputy Speaker Peter Milliken stated that in his opinion the
Commissioner had not been impeded in carrying out his work and that the
Commissioner had various avenues of recourse available to him to raise his
concerns and to defend them. In addition, he noted that the Report had been
referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which can
consider the concerns expressed by Members with respect to these issues. He
therefore could not find a prima facie case of contempt.
On October 18, Paul Martin
moved that this House support the economic policies of the government and
presented an economic statement. There was no recorded division on the motion
before the dissolution of Parliament.
On Sunday, October 22, the Prime
Minister met with the Governor General to request the dissolution of
Parliament, and a general election was called for November 27, 2000.
Marie Louise Paradis
Table Research Branch
Prince Edward Island
The Second Session of the 61st
General Assembly is scheduled to start late in November, and a fairly heavy
legislative agenda is anticipated. Since 1997, the House has met for Fall and
Spring sittings. The practice has been to concentrate on legislation and the
Throne Speech in the fall and a mix of legislation and the annual budget in the
During the Session, both the
Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Special Committee on the Election
Act will report. The Public Accounts Committee has reviewed the Annual
Report of the Auditor General, has met with the Auditor twice, and has under
consideration the calling of any further parties and commissioning of any
further audits. The Special Committee on the Election Act was appointed
to consider possible improvements to the Act and has held three public hearings
at which 13 presentations were received. Several areas of concern have been
expressed relating to specific provisions of the Act, including mail-in
balloting procedures, advance poll voting, hospital voting, training for
election officials, and enumeration procedures. Also of interest, the Committee
has heard representation recommending the implementation of a system of
"proportional representation" for Prince Edward Island such that the
proportion of the popular vote received would directly impact on the
distribution of seats on the floor of the House.
On October 19, Kevin MacAdam
resigned as MLA for Morell-Fortune Bay and Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture,
& Environment to run as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the
November 27 federal election. Premier Pat Binns assumed the
responsibilities of the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Environment.
Speaker Mildred Dover has
agreed to again provide Province House, the Legislative Chamber, and her
services as Presiding Officer for the 12th annual Rotary Youth
Parliament-a weekend of mock parliament for high school students in December.
It is anticipated that the students will be debating a broad range of issues
such as mandatory school uniforms, legalization of marijuana, graduated
drivers' licensing, pesticide use, and buffer zones near watercourses.
The Third Session of the First
Legislative Assembly reconvened in Iqaluit on October 16, 2000. The major piece
of business that the Assembly dealt with during the last three sitting days of
the Third Session was Bill 11, An Act to Establish Nunavut Day as a Holiday.
The Bill was introduced in
February 2000, and referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations
and Services for review. The Bill would have replaced the current civic holiday
in August with a new holiday on July 9. After undertaking public consultations
throughout the summer, the Standing Committee reported back to the House with
its recommendation that the Bill be permitted to fall off the order paper. The
Bill subsequently died when the House prorogued on October 18.
During the Session, the
government tabled its comprehensive response to the May 2000 joint report by
the Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly on the 2000-2001 budget and
departmental business plans. The joint report contained a total of 40
The sessional statistics for the
Third Session were as follows:
- 49 Sitting Days
- 141 Ministers' Statements
- 450 Members' Statements
- 630 Oral Questions
- 17 Written Questions
- 13 Petitions
- 112 Documents tabled
- 10 Standing Committee reports presented
The Fourth Session commenced on
October 20 with a Speech from the Throne delivered by Commissioner Peter
Irniq. A number of items of business were transacted during the Session's
nine sitting days. Kelvin Ng, Member for Cambridge Bay and Minister of
Finance and Administration, presented the annual mid-year budget update and
tabled the government's interim financial statements in the House. Nunavut
continues to be a debt-free jurisdiction.
continued with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation
between Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik and Greenland Home Rule Government
Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt on October 24.
Hunter Tootoo, Member for Iqaluit Centre and Chair of
the Standing Committee Ajauqtiit, presented the committee's final report on its
review of elections in Nunavut. The Report presented a total of 65
recommendations for improving the administration of elections in the territory.
The report followed extensive consultations with the public and stakeholder
In addition to the review of
Bills, proceedings in the Committee of the Whole were dominated during the
Session by discussions on the issue of rising fuel prices in Nunavut.
A total of nine Bills received
Assent during the Fourth Session. These were:
- Supplementary Appropriation Act, No.
- Floral Emblem Act
- An Act to amend the Land Titles Act
- An Act to amend the Workers'
- Legislative Assembly Members Removal
and Disqualification Act
- An Act to amend the Statute Revision
- An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly
and Executive Council Act and other Acts in relation to the Legislative
- An Act to facilitate the transfer of
employees from the Northwest Territories Power Corporation to the Nunavut
- An Act to amend the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act
The first annual reports of the
Languages Commissioner of Nunavut and the Information and Privacy Commissioner
of Nunavut were tabled during the Session. The reports were referred to two
Standing Committees for review. The Languages Commissioner and Information and
Privacy Commissioner were scheduled to appear in public before the committees
During the Session, Olayuk
Akesuk, Member for South Baffin, was elected to the Executive Council following
the resignation from Cabinet of the Member for Nanulik. Premier Okalik
announced a Cabinet shuffle following prorogation. Peter Kilabuk, Member
for Pangnirtung, was assigned the Education portfolio. Mr. Akesuk became
Minister of Sustainable Development. The Premier also took on the Justice
portfolio. A by-election was called for December 4, 2000, to fill the vacancy
in the electoral district of Quttiktuq. A total of eight candidates are
contested the seat. A change at the Table occurred as Leona Aglukkaq
assumed the position of Deputy Clerk of the Assembly.
The Session prorogued on
November 3. The Fifth Session is scheduled to convene on February 21, 2001.
The sessional statistics for the
Fourth Session were as follows:
- 9 Sitting Days
- 37 Ministers' Statements
- 85 Members' Statements
- 96 Oral Questions
- 21 Written Questions
- 5 Petitions
- 20 Documents tabled
- 1 Standing Committee report presented
Director, Research and
Premier Ujjal Dosanjh
recalled the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for a special sitting on
Sunday, September 17 to introduce, for the first time in British Columbia, a Supplementary
The purpose of the session was
to introduce and debate Bill 33, the Supply Act, 2000-2001 (Supplementary),
which authorized additional provincial funding of $180 million for hospitals
expenditures and $40 million for provincial health authorities to recruit and
retain doctors in rural and small urban communities. The bill also allocated
$70 million in restored Canadian Health and Social Transfer funding to the
Ministry of Health for hospital equipment purchases.
The special session was called
to meet the goal, established by the government's reformed budget planning and
estimate debate process, to reduce the use of Special Warrants. The Ministry of
Finance's Budget Process Review Panel recommended in its 1999 report, Credibility,
Transparency and Accountability: Improving the B.C. Budget Process that:
Supplementary Estimates should
be used whenever possible and practical instead of Special Warrants as a more
transparent way to deal with requirements for additional expenditure approval
during the year. To discourage use of Special Warrants, legislation should
require a report to accompany any request for a Special Warrant and be made
public when the Special Warrant is approved.
This recommendation was acted
upon with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. As then
Finance Minister Paul Ramsey announced at the introduction of the
legislation on March 27, "the new Budget Transparency and
Accountability Act holds the use of Special Warrants to a high standard of
accountability and disclosure. However, the new government will move away from
the use of Special Warrants and make tabling of Supplementary Estimates the
rule, not the exception."
British Columbia has been
witness to a dispute between physicians and the government for several months.
Doctors have been participating in job actions to protest the shortage of rural
doctors, and hospital authorities throughout the province have been declaring
that cuts to health funding are threatening emergency and elective surgical
Two Committees were given new
mandates during the Fourth Session.
On July 6, 2000, the Select
Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services was empowered to analyse
and make recommendations with respect to the pre-budget consultation report,
which was prepared by the Minister of Finance in accordance with section 2 of
the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. The Committee was given
a strong mandate to consult widely with British Columbians on proposals and
recommendations surrounding the provincial budget and the government's fiscal
policy for the coming fiscal year. It must report on its public consultation
process no later than December 31, 2000.
Also on July 6, the Special
Committee to Appoint a Child, Youth and Family Advocate was appointed to
select, and unanimously recommend to the Legislative Assembly, the appointment
of a Child, Youth and Family Advocate, pursuant to section 3 of the Child,
Youth and Family Advocacy Act. The Child, Youth and Family Advocate is an
independent officer of the British Columbia Legislature who is responsible for
protecting the rights of children and youth and their families, and for
ensuring that they have a voice in the provision of government services. Joyce
Preston, the current Advocate, was appointed for a statutory six-year term
as Child, Youth & Family Advocate for British Columbia when that office was
created in May 1995. Her term expires in May 2001.
A number of Legislative
Committees are continuing tasks assigned to them during the Third Session of
the Thirty-Sixth Parliament.
The Select Standing Committee on
Agriculture and Fisheries is continuing its deliberations on a new agri-food
policy for British Columbia. Last autumn, the Committee published a call for
written submissions and conducted public hearings in 14 agricultural
communities. As a result, the Committee heard from over 400 British Columbians
on many issues of concern to the agricultural sector. The Committee has
published two reports, a first report, which summarizes some of the larger
issues presented to the Committee, and a second report, which recommends reform
of the agricultural lease program. The Committee is currently reviewing all of
the evidence it has gathered – from farmers, consumers, retailers, food
processors, industry and advocacy organizations, and government ministries – in
order to present a final, comprehensive report to the House in the spring of
The Select Standing Committee on
Forests, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources met in October, completing its
review of the Forest Renewal British Columbia Business Plan 1999/2000,
and the Forest Renewal British Columbia Business Plan, 2000/01. The
Committee also approved its Report on the Forest Renewal British Columbia Business
Plan 1997/98 and 1998/99, which will soon be deposited with the Clerk of
the Legislative Assembly.
The Constitution Act, in
section 3, authorizes Legislative Committees to "examine witnesses and documents
and hear representations from persons and organizations", and the Standing
Orders, in section 72, also allow Legislative Committees to receive written or
spoken testimony from witnesses. Nonetheless, in an effort to ensure that all
individuals and organizations wishing to appear before the Committee receive
authorisation by both the Chair and the Deputy Chair, the Select Standing
Committee on Forests, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, at its meeting on
October 20, resolved that any requests to present or submit a written
submission will be forwarded to the Office of the Clerk of Committees for
consideration by the Clerk of the Committee, the Chair and the Deputy Chair.
This resolution arose out of an earlier Committee decision that it would not
hear testimony from witnesses unless their appearance was scheduled.
In debating the motion, members
of the Committee explained that it is intended to provide clarification and
guidance to the public, the Committee, and the Office of the Clerk of Committees
as to the intent of the Committee with respect to witnesses' requests to appear
and/or provide written testimony. The Deputy Chair of the Committee, Liberal
MLA George Abbott, also explained that the rationale for defining the
role of the Office of the Clerk of Committees in the motion was to acknowledge
that the Office can provide the Chair and Deputy Chair with professional,
non-partisan advice as to the procedural rules surrounding the appearance of
witnesses or the transmittal of submissions to the Committee.
Since adjournment of the House,
the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts has met twice to discuss the
Auditor General's reports: Government Financial Accountability for the
1998/99 Fiscal Year - Part II - Financial Management and Fostering a Safe
Learning Environment - How the British Columbia School System is Doing. The
Committee has also approved three Committee reports: Forest Renewal B.C. -
Silviculture Programs, Management of the Woodlot Licence Program, and Review of
the Estimates Process. At its first autumn meeting on October 4, the
Committee also welcomed Liberal MLA Val Roddick as a new member.
The Special Committee on
Information Privacy in the Private Sector is continuing to examine the
possibility of regulating the use of personal information in private sector
transactions. In addition to the information it gathered through its call for
submissions and public hearings in January 2000, the Committee is this autumn
researching the views of British Columbian consumers and businesses through a
series of focus groups.
Members of the Legislative
The Chair of the Special
Committee on Information Privacy in the Private Sector, Rick Kasper,
resigned from the New Democratic Party caucus on October 10, and is now sitting
as an Independent Member of the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Kasper's resignation
leaves the governing NDP with a two-seat majority in the House. There are now
38 government members, 2 independents, 34 members of the Official Opposition,
plus the Speaker.
Other government MLAs, all
cabinet ministers – Andrew Petter, Dan Miller, Penny Priddy,
Joan Sawicki, Dale Lovick and Jan Pullinger – have
notified Premier Ujjal Dosanjh that they will not be seeking re-election in the
next provincial general election, which must take place by June 28, 2001. This
precipitated a significant cabinet shuffle on November 1st.
A number of ministers moved from
one portfolio to another. Graeme Bowbrick, formerly Minister of Advanced
Education, Training and Technology and Minister Responsible for Youth, is now
Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Human Rights. The former Minister
of Forests, Jim Doyle, has now taken up the post of Minister of
Municipal Affairs. Most recently the Minister of Agriculture, Food and
Fisheries and Minister Responsible for Rural Development, Corky Evans,
is now Minister of Health and Minister Responsible for Seniors. Mike
Farnworth is now the Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Culture,
having been Minister of Health and Minister Responsible for Seniors in the
previous cabinet. The new Minister of Advanced Education, Training and
Technology and Minister Responsible for Youth is Cathy McGregor, who has
moved to this post from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Joy MacPhail
is now Minister of Education and Deputy Premier, formerly Minister of Labour
and Deputy Premier. The Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations and
Minister Responsible for Northern Development is now Paul Ramsey, formerly
Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations. Joan Smallwood has moved
into the role of Minister of Labour from heading the Ministry of Women's
Equality. The former Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Culture, Ian
Waddell is now Minister of Energy and Mines. The Minister of Forests
portfolio is now held by Gordon Wilson, most recently the Minister of
Employment and Investment. And finally, David Zirnhelt has returned to
cabinet as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
Three members of cabinet have
retained their former position Sue Hammell remains Minister of
Multiculturalism and Immigration and Minister Responsible for the Public
Service; Jenny Kwan remains Minister of Community Development,
Cooperatives and Volunteers; and Harry S. Lali is continuing as Minister
of Transportation and Highways.
There are also several new
members of cabinet. The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and
Minister Responsible for Rural Development is now Ed Conroy. Mr. Conroy
has been an NDP MLA since 1991, and has, in the past year, served as chair of
the NDP caucus and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Food
and Fisheries, and has sat on the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture and
Fisheries. Gerard Janssen, who has represented the NDP as the member for
Alberni since winning its 1988 by-election, has served as government whip since
1991 and sat on various legislative committees. He is now Minister of Social
Development and Economic Security. The new Minister of Women's Equality is Evelyn
Gillespie. An NDP MLA since 1996, Ms. Gillespie has recently been serving
as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Children and Families, Deputy
Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and co-chair of the
government caucus. Glenn Robertson is now the Minister of Environment,
Lands and Parks, having recently served as parliamentary secretary to the
Minister of Forests and member of the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture
and Fisheries. The Minister of Employment and Investment portfolio has been
given to the Hon. Tim Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson has since March 2000 served as
Deputy Speaker of the House, and has also served as parliamentary secretary to
the Minister of Health and sat on various legislative committees.
The most notable addition to the
cabinet on November 1 was the appointment of the Edward John – who is
not a Member of the Legislative Assembly – to the position of Minister for
Children and Families. In British Columbia, cabinet appointments from outside
the Assembly have occurred 16 times since 1883, most recently with the
appointment of Bill Vanderzalm to the position of Premier on August 6,
1986, followed by his election to the Legislative Assembly some 10 weeks later
in the provincial general election.
Under the Constitution Act,
the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council is empowered to appoint to cabinet
individuals who are not elected Members of the Legislative Assembly. However,
it is customary in the Canadian House of Commons and in the Legislative
Assembly of British Columbia, not only that an unelected cabinet minister seek
election, but that he or she seek election as soon as possible after
appointment, normally no longer than two or three months. According to the
principle of ministerial responsibility, ministers must be available to the
Legislative Assembly to answer for the actions of their ministries. As stated
by Peter W. Hogg in his Constitutional Law of Canada, the
election of cabinet ministers is also integral to the principle of responsible
What precisely are the
conventions of responsible government? For convenience of exposition, I shall
concentrate on Canada's federal government, but the rules are much the same in
each of the provinces….
It is basic to the system of
responsible government that the Prime Minister and all the other ministers be
members of Parliament. Occasionally a person who is not a member of Parliament
is appointed as a minister, but then the minister must quickly be elected to
the House of Commons or appointed to the Senate.
According to the convention, Mr.
John may be expected to pursue a seat in the Legislative Assembly before the
next provincial general election, which must be called by June 28, 2001.
Mr. John, a lawyer, is a
Hereditary Chief and the honourary Grand Chief of the Tl'azt'en Nation of
British Columbia. He held the elected positions of Councillor of the Tl'azt'en
Nation from 1974 to 1992, and Chief from 1990 to 1992. Mr. John has worked with
various First Nations agencies to further aboriginal education in this
province. He also negotiated the first child services agreement between the
Ministry for Children and Families and the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, which
helped aboriginal children in care to reunite with their families.
The Ministry for Children and
Families reported in 1999 that aboriginal children and families are
disproportionately represented on the ministries' caseloads, comprising 30
percent of BC's children in care, although they make up only 8 percent of the
total BC child population. Recognizing that the health of aboriginal
communities is strongly linked to their needs for self-reliance, cultural
esteem, and strong kinship ties, the ministry has implemented a number of
child, youth and family programs for aboriginal communities that attempt to
address those needs.
Newfoundland and Labrador
On the day when the House of Assembly
adjourned for the summer, May 11th, 2000 Ross Wiseman was
sworn in as the Member for Trinity North. That seat was vacated when Doug
Oldford resigned for health reasons on March 28th.
In the last month there have
been a number of changes in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly. On
October 16th Brian Tobin resigned as Premier. Beaton Tulk was
appointed Premier. Ernest McLean, Minister of Government Services and
Lands is Acting minister of Development and Rural Renewal, the department for which
Mr. Tulk was responsible.
Judy Foote, Minister of Education will be away from
her ministerial duties for several months for health reasons. Lloyd Matthews,
Minister of Finance is Acting Minister of Education.
Charles (Chuck) Furey resigned from the House on October 28th
to seek the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of St. John's West. Sandra
Kelly Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is the Acting Minister of
Tourism, Culture and Recreation which was Mr. Furey's responsibility.
On November 1st, John
Efford, Minister of Fisheries, resigned from Cabinet to seek the leadership
of the Liberal Party in Newfoundland. The Honourable the Premier is Acting
Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
As a result of these
resignations a number of MHAs have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries. Gerry
Reid, (Twillingate-Fogo) is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Fisheriesand Aquaculture; Gerald Smith, (Port au Port) and former Deputy
Chairman of Committees is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Development and Rural Renewal and Percy Barrett, (Bellevue) is
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education and to the Chair of the
Social Policy Committee of Cabinet. Ralph Wiseman, (Conception Bay
South) is Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier and Wally Andersen,
(Torngat Mountains) is Parliamentary Assistant the Premier on Aboriginal
Tom Lush, M.H.A. (Terra Nova), a former Speaker,
has been appointed Minister without Portfolio and Government House Leader
replacing Mr. Tulk in this position.
Bob Mercer, (Humber East) has been nominated Deputy
Speaker and Mary Hodder, (Burin Placentia West) has been nominated
Deputy Chair of Committees.
There have been some changes in
the Public Accounts Committee as well. Yvonne Jones, (Cartwright- L'Anse
au Clair) and Ross Wiseman, (Trinity North) have been appointed to the
Public Accounts Committee replacing Mr. Lush and Ms. Hodder.
The House of Assembly will
resume sitting on December 4th.
Clerk Assistant and
Clerk of Committees
The Legislature began its Fall
sitting on September 25, 2000 by welcoming its newest Member, Ted McMeekin.
Mr. McMeekin, the Liberal candidate, was elected in the September 7 by-election
held in the riding of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot. With his election,
the standings in the House are: Progressive Conservatives – 58; Liberals – 36;
New Democrat – 9.
The first item of business
brought forward by the Government was Bill 112, which amended the McMichael
Canadian Art Collection Act. The McMichael art collection was donated to
the Province of Ontario by Robert and Signe McMichael in 1965, and it finds its
home in the McMichael Gallery at property also donated by the McMichaels, in
The purpose of the Bill was to
restore the focus of the McMichael Gallery's collection to its original 1965
vision, being a collection of works primarily by Group of Seven artists and
their contemporaries. The preamble to the Bill noted that "the focus of
the collection has changed over time", with a large and growing assemblage
of contemporary and Native art. The Bill restructured the Collection's board of
trustees to give dominance to the Collection's redefined goal of reflecting the
cultural heritage of Canada and to be comprised of art works, objects and
related documentary material created by or about Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, David
Milne, A.Y. Jackson, Lawrence Harris, A.J. Casson, Frederick Varley, Arthur
Lismer, J.H. MacDonald and Franklin Carmichael and those artists who have made
contributions to the development of Canadian art. Following public hearings and
amendments in committee, the Bill was passed and received Royal Assent.
Bill 88, the Electronic
Commerce Act, was returned to the House following public hearings and
amendments in committee during the summer adjournment. The Bill removes
barriers to the legally effective use of electronic communications by governments
and by the private sector. The Bill is based on the Uniform Electronic
Commerce Act which the Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted in 1999,
and is consistent in principle with the United Nations Model Law on Electronic
Commerce. The Bill was passed and received Royal Assent.
For the second time, the Ontario
Legislature passed a Bill which had been initiated by a standing committee,
under new Standing Orders adopted early in the current Parliament. An Act
regulating the practice of professional forestry was introduced by the Chair of
the Standing Committee on General Government, Steve Gilchrist
(PC/Scarborough East) on behalf of the committee following self-initiated
hearings by the committee last Spring. The Bill continues the Ontario Professional
Foresters Association as a self-regulating professional body. Earlier in the
Parliament, an Association of Former Parliamentarians was established following
the adoption of enabling legislation initiated by this same committee.
The Legislature has also
considered legislation which will allow the provincial government to permit the
establishment in Ontario of private, degree-granting post-secondary
institutions. Reaction to the Bill, predictably, has been split. Those in
opposition question how affordable tuition rates will be in these private
institutions, and as a result wonder if accessibility may suffer. The
Government counters that such institutions will offer additional spaces for
students at the post-secondary level which will be created at no public
expense. This diversification, it is argued, will augment opportunities for
students to gain access to the province's conventional universities. As of this
writing the Bill has been sent to a committee for public hearings.
Legislation was introduced to
establish the Office for Victims of Crime, designed to provide advice to the
Attorney General, Jim
(PC/Whitby-Ajax) on the operation of the Victims Bill of Rights, which
was enacted in 1995, and on ways to enhance services for victims of crime. The Bill
of Rights, among other provisions, confirmed certain principles relating to
the treatment of crime victims including their right to information about the
conduct of investigations and prosecutions, the dates of hearings, the right to
make victim impact statements and information about the sentencing and release
of those convicted of the offenses.
Bill 117, An Act to better
protect victims of domestic violence, was introduced. The Bill provides for
intervention in cases of domestic violence beyond what is allowed under the
current law and allows spouses, former spouses, same-sex partners, former
same-sex partners, persons who are cohabiting, persons in a dating relationship
and relatives who reside together to apply for an order under the Act.
Other legislation considered by
the Legislature included:
- The Red Tape Reduction Act, 2000
- A private Members' Bill to establish
a vehicle ignition interlock program to prevent previously convicted
impaired drives from operating motor vehicles without providing a breath
sample to an electronic device installed in their vehicles
- A private Members' Bill to proclaim
the month of June as deaf-blind awareness month
- A private Members' Bill to amend the
Child and Family Services Act, to provide that child protection
workers have the authority to investigate allegations of physical abuse
and sexual molestation of children by teachers and other caregivers and to
apply for appropriate court orders
- A Government Bill respecting social
housing, which will transfer social housing administration from the
provincial to the municipal level
- A Bill to authorize the
Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission and The Regional Municipality
of Ottawa-Carleton to make payments of $100,000 to each of the estates of
four employees of OC Transpo who were killed on April 6, 1999
- A Government Bill to regulate the
transfer or sale of convertible starter pistols, deactivated firearms and
The House paid tribute to four
former Members who had recently passed away: Frank Miller was a Member
of the Legislature for 16 years, whose political career was capped when he
became Premier of Ontario in 1985; Bob Welch was an MPP for 22 years,
serving all of them on the Government side of the House and holding many
Cabinet portfolios, including Deputy Premier; Morton Shulman, who once
had been Ontario's Chief Coroner and, as a successful entrepreneur and
television personality, was widely acknowledged as one of the most colourful
characters to serve in the Legislature in modern times was a Member from 1967
to 1975; Tom Wells served in the Robarts and Davis administrations in
various Cabinet portfolios, and was well-known to Ontarians for his role as
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister during the period when the Canadian
Constitution was repatriated.
Clerk of Journals and
The National Assembly resumed
its proceedings on Tuesday, 17 October 2000. During this sitting, the Speaker
tabled a letter he had received from the Member for Mercier and Minister of
Relations with the Citizens and Immigration, Robert Perreault announcing
his resignation effective on October 6, 2000.
Following this resignation, the
party standings of the National Assembly are as follows: Parti Québécois – 75,
Québec Liberal Party – 48, and Action démocratique – 1, for a total of 124 Members.It
should be noted that the Member for Richelieu, Sylvain Simard is now
Minister of Relations with the Citizens and Immigration.
Since mid-October, two
Government bills were passed by the Assembly:
- Bill 157, An Act to order the
resumption of certain road freight transport services, mainly to
ensure the provision, in the territory of Quebec, of road transport
services for container freight from or to the Port of Montreal or any
intermodal terminal in Quebec. The Government of Quebec introduced this
bill in response to the road transport blockage in the Port of Montréal.
Following an agreement between the Government, the Official Opposition and
the Independent Member, within hours, the bill passed all of the stages
from its introduction to its passage.
- Bill 120, An Act to amend the
Animal Health Protection Act and other legislative provisions and to
repeal the Bees Act, whose purpose is to effect a comprehensive
revision of provisions relating to animal health protection and to render
more efficient the sanitation controls required to protect the health of
animals and persons who are in contact with animals or consume animal
At the sitting of October 24,
2000, the Speaker rendered a decision concerning the exercise of the right to
petition the Assembly. The Speaker first noted that, despite the fact that, in
Quebec, the right to petition the Assembly was given force of law in the Charter
of Human Rights and Freedoms, for want of specific provisions in the
Charter on the manner in which this right is to be exercised, the procedural
framework of its exercise remains that which is stipulated in the Standing
Orders of the Assembly, which, under its constitutional parliamentary
privileges, has the exclusive authority to govern its proceedings without
outside interference. The Speaker thus was justified in preventing a Member
from tabling a petition impugning the conduct of a Member, since Title VI of
the Standing Orders prohibits the impugning of a Member's conduct without
resorting to a specific procedure. It is for this reason that the Speaker
cannot accept the tabling of a petition that impugns the conduct of a Member,
nor can he allow, under these circumstances, that leave be requested to set
aside the Standing Orders. Moreover, no person may directly petition the
Assembly since, according to the current rules of procedure, it is through a
Member that a petition may be presented to the National Assembly. Also, the
Assembly is not obliged, within the framework of a debate, to rule on the
content of the petitions it has received. The rules of procedure of the
Assembly in no way state that the Assembly must hold debates on and put the
question to petitions.
Finally, the Speaker indicated
that, despite the fact that he deems it preferable that citizens receive
replies to their petitions, there is nothing in the Standing Orders at the
present time that provides for the possibility of responding to petitions sent
to the Assembly.
The resumption of the
proceedings of the Assembly on Tuesday, October 17, 2000, marked the beginning
of a pilot project on the computerization of the Throne and the Table in the
National Assembly Room, for which testing shall continue until the end of the
fall session. The project could eventually lead to the computerization of this
entire room according to the desire expressed by the Members.
The changes consist, first of
all, in the addition of a new multimedia unit in front of the Speaker's Throne.
This piece of furniture contains the speakers and dials which were formerly
placed at the foot of the Chair and also holds the two microphones, which are
now more discreet and more efficient. The new elements are a portable
micro-computer, which allows the Speaker to receive messages from the Table
concerning parliamentary procedure, and television monitors, which allow him to
see the external broadcasting of the proceedings of the Assembly.
The pilot project consists
furthermore in the installation of three computerized work stations at the
Table. These work stations for the clerks allow them, in addition to sending
messages to the Speaker, to write and send a computerized scroll (draft of the
Votes and Proceedings), to have access to parliamentary research data banks and
to receive messages from the branches of the Assembly that are directly
involved in parliamentary proceedings (Secretariat of the Assembly,
Parliamentary Procedure Research Directorate, Secretariat of Committees).
The Director of the Secretariat
of Committees, Doris Arsenault, has joined the current Table group since
the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday, October 17, 2000.
The Assembly’s Internet site,
http://www.assnat.qc.ca, now contains, under the heading “Parliamentary
Proceedings”, the debates of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec for the session
of 1913-1914. This is the first of a series of documents that shall be
electronically searchable and which shall enrich the documentary heritage of
Quebec society. It includes the highlights and major issues of the session, an
analysis of the newspapers and sources used for reconstructing the debates, as
well as a bibliography. Two lists complete the historical introduction: one is
of the Members of the Executive Council, the other is of the Members of the
There were several legislatures
of the Quebec Parliament between 1867 and 1964, yet no verbatim proceedings
were produced. In 1974, the reconstruction of the debates finally began, a task
which consisted in fully transcribing everything that was said by the Members
of the Legislative Assembly. The debates from 1867 to 1912 were already
available on paper, but the 1913-1914 session presented a greater challenge,
that of publishing two different versions of a same document, including a
virtual index. The next publication, in both paper and electronic form, should
be available in the autumn of 2000. It shall comprise the session of 1915.
From September 11 to 13, 2000,
some 110 citizens from all over Quebec met at the Parliament Building to take
part in the first legislature of the Seniors' Parliament, a parliamentary
simulation organized by the Association québécoise de défense des droits des
personnes retraitées et préretraitées (AQDR), in collaboration with the National
Assembly and the Amicale des anciens parlementaires du Québec (AAPQ).
Under the chairmanship of
Denis Hardy, barrister, former Member and vice-chairman of the AAPQ, the
Seniors' Parliament – which is composed of retired women and men - aimed to set
forth the preoccupations, reflexions and hopes of citizens of over 55 years of
In the course of the
legislature, the seniors held debates on the following bills:
- An Act respecting the implementation
of a citizenship income, which would replace programmes such as
income security, allowances for newborns, family allowances and student
- An Act respecting the economic
acknowledgement of the social commitment of citizens, whose aim is to
recognize, for tax deduction purposes, a financial value for the volunteer
time devoted to the development of the charities and benevolent
institutions of Quebec;
- An Act respecting the knowledge and
know-how transfer programme in the workplace, which aims to
ensure the knowledge and know-how transfer between retired employees and
Secretariat of the
Translated by: Sylvia Ford
Secretariat of the Assembly
On November 14, 2000, the Fall
Sitting of the Fourth Session of the 24th Legislature began. Notable
bills introduced in the sitting include:
- Bill 26, Holocaust Memorial Day and
Genocide Remembrance Act, introduced by Ron Stevens, (PC), MLA for
Calgary-Glenmore. This Act recognizes the Day of the Holocaust (Yom
ha-Shoah) each year as Holocaust Memorial Day. By unanimous consent, this
Bill received all three readings on November 16th.
- Bill 29, Protection of Children Involved
in Prostitution Amendment Act, 2000, introduced by Heather Forsyth,
(PC), MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek. This Bill amends the 1998 legislation
which allowed authorities to take children involved in prostitution into
protective custody for 72 hours. Provisions of this legislation were held
to be unconstitutional last July and the matter is now the subject of a
judicial review before the Court of Queen's Bench. The Bill allows
children to be confined for 5 days with the possibility of further
confinement for periods of 21 days. Children confined are to be informed
in writing of the terms of the confinement, court dates and of the right
to legal representation
Prior to the commencement of the
fall sitting, the Government indicated it would be proceeding with three Bills left
on the Order Paper from the Spring Sitting:
- Bill 3, Statute Revision Act, allows
for the revision and consolidation of the Public Statutes of Alberta;
- Bill 20, Justice Statutes Amendment Act,
2000, provides for amendments to the Alberta court system as well as
improved access to the courts for Albertans;
- Bill 22, Alberta Corporate Tax Amendment
Act, 2000, which parallels changes to federal legislation, will
incorporate previously announced changes to the Alberta Royalty Tax Credit
and deal with interprovincial disposition of property.
Provincial Treasurer Dr. Steve
West presented Supplementary Estimates for the fiscal year 2000-01 totaling
just under $1 billion. Of this total, close to $300 million is allocated to the
Department of Health and Wellness for regional health authorities to reduce
waiting times for diagnosis and treatment and to assist in replacing and
acquiring medical equipment. Over $400 million is allocated to the Department
of Infrastructure for health care facilities capital projects and for the
renovation and modernization of school facilities.
Changes in Membership
Mary Anne Jablonski (PC) was elected in the September 25,
2000 by-election for the constituency of Red Deer-North and was sworn in as a
Member of the Legislative Assembly on October 23rd. The vacancy was created by
the resignation of Stockwell Day, Leader of the Canadian Alliance Party.
On October 25, Sue Olsen (Liberal, Edmonton-Norwood) resigned her seat
to run in the federal constituency of Edmonton Centre-East for the federal
Liberal Party. Ms Olsen, a former Edmonton police officer, was first elected to
the Alberta legislature in 1997. No date for a by-election has been set. As a
result, the standings in the Assembly are: Progressive Conservatives: 64,
Liberals: 15, New Democrats: 2, Independent: 1, Vacant: 1
On November 8, 2000 Speaker Ken
Kowalski presided over a ceremony in recognition of Remembrance Day which
took place in the Rotunda of the Legislature Building. The program included
remarks by Dave Hancock, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Nancy
MacBeth, Leader of the Official Opposition, and Dr. Raj Pannu,
Leader of the New Democrat Opposition. Members of the Legislative Assembly,
Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, representatives of the Canadian Corps of
Commissionaires as well as other guests were also in attendance.
On November 16, 2000 Speaker
Kowalski hosted a reception in the Legislature Rotunda in honour of Holocaust
Memorial Day and Genocide Remembrance. The Speaker together with
representatives of the Jewish communities of Calgary and Edmonton addressed the
gathering. Members of the Legislative Assembly as well as representatives from
various cultural and religious communities attended the reception.
On November 20, 2000 Speaker
Kowalski, in conjunction with Premier Ralph Klein, announced the
official launch of the School-at-the-Legislature "Put Life into
Learning" program. Under the program, Grade 6 students have the
opportunity to experience Alberta's parliamentary process by spending a week at
the Legislature. The Assembly facilitates student interviews with Members,
officials and Legislature staff. This interactive program is generously
supported by three community partners: Shaw Communications Inc., Capital
Savings and Credit Union Limited and Quality Colour Press Inc.
On November 23 the official
portrait of Alberta’s 14th. Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. H.A.
(Bud) Olson, was unveiled at a ceremony hosted by the Speaker. The
portrait by Tag Kim, will hang in the Legislature Building. Mr.
Olsen was sworn in as Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor on April 17, 1996 and
served until February 10, 2000.