The Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly was site of the 2001
seminar of the Canadian Region of CPA which took place from October 18 to 21,
2001. The seminar was hosted by Speaker Myron Kowalsky and attracted
about 50 participants from every Canadian legislature except the Senate and the
The first session, chaired by
Speaker Claude Richmond of British Columbia, dealt with Electoral
Systems and Democratic Change. The speakers were Nick Loenen, Member of
Fair Voting BC and former MLA in British Columbia, Senator Steve Kelley of
the Minnesota Senate, Speaker Bev Harrison of New Brunswick and Gary
Levy, editor of the Canadian Parliamentary Review.
The second session was chaired
by Muriel Baillie of Nova Scotia and dealt with Committee Reform.
Among the speakers were Steve Mahoney MP, Jean-Paul Bergeron
of Quebec, Peter George Dyck of Manitoba and Greg Putz, Deputy
Clerk in Saskatchewan.
The third business session was
a Roundtable on Issues in Education chaired by Pierre-Etienne Laporte of
Quebec. It featured Speaker Mildred Dover of Prince Edward Island,
Speaker Ken Kowalski of Alberta, Deputy Speaker John Weisbeck of
British Columbia, Speaker Harrison of New Brunswick and Bill Murdoch of
The final session dealt with
the Power Shift from Elected Representatives to Global Organizations. The
chairman was Graham Addley, Deputy Speaker of the Saskatchewan
Legislative Assembly and the presenter was Sarmite Bulte MP.
In addition to the business
sessions there were several opportunities for delegates to experience
Saskatchewan hospitality including a visit to Moose Jaw and a tour of
that city’s historic tunnels.
November 18-24, 2001
For the first time the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association hosted a seminar bringing together delegates from
various Commonwealth branches for a week of discussions around the theme of
Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy.
The objective of the seminar
is to allow members from diverse backgrounds to exchange information on matters
of common interest to their parliamentary profession.
The host of the seminar was Sue
Barnes MP chair of the Canadian Branch. The seminar was organized by
the Canadian Branch of the CPA and financed jointly by the Canadian Branch and
the CPA Secretariat in London.
The first session dealt with
the Role of the CPA and featured a presentation by retiring Secretary General, Arthur
Donahoe. The next session provided delegates with an overview of
Canadian Federalism and the Role and Operation of Parliament. The guest
speakers were Paul Bélisle, Clerk of the Senate and William Corbett,
Clerk of the House of Commons.
The second day began with a
session on Electoral Systems and Relations Between Parliamentarians and their
Constituents. The guest speakers were Bill Blaikie MP and Eleni
Bakopanos, MP. This was followed by a session on the Organization,
Staffing and Services to Parliament featuring Senator Lorna Milne and Peter
Adams MP. Another session on the work of parliamentary committees
completed the second day. The speakers for this session included Bonnie
Brown MP, John Williams MP and Mauril Bélanger MP
The third day began with a
session on Human Rights, Parliament and the Courts featuring Senator Lois
Wilson and Irwin Cotler MP. It was followed by a session on
Parliament and Civil Society with Senator Noel Kinsella and Jean
The fourth day began with a
session on Engaging Women in the Political Process with Senator Sharon
Carstairs, Sarmite Bulte and Ms Barnes leading the discussion.
It was followed by a session on representation in multicultural societies
with Senator Donald Oliver and Ovid Jackson MP. The next
session was on Parliament and the Media and featured presentations by Senator
Joan Fraser, John Harvard MP and Hugh Winsor, National
Political Columnist with The Globe and Mail.
The final day began with a
session on Reconciling Party Discipline, Electoral and Personal Conviction.
The lead speakers were John Reynolds MP and Monique Guay
MP. The remainder of the time was devoted to topics suggested by
delegates and included discussions of health care, aboriginal self governance,
Electoral fraud and the African rennaissance
In addition to the working
sessions, delegates were treated to a number of social events including a
dinner hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, a tour of Rideau Hall, residence
of the Governor General, a visit to the National Gallery of Canada and the
Canadian Museum of Civilisation, and a tour of an MP’s office in the newly
renovated Justice Building.
Delegates to the seminar
New South Wales
Mr. Colin Markham, MP
Hon. Helen Sham-Ho, MLC
Hon. Gillian James, MHA
Mr. Md. Mozahar Hussain, M.P.
Alhaj Prof. Kazi Golam Morshed, M.P.
Hon. Janis Johnson, Senator
Hon. Lorna Milne, Senator
Ms. Monique Guay, MP
Mr. Joe McGuire, MP
Mrs. Mary Ann McGrath, MLA
Mr. D.F. Huyghebaert, MLA
Sir Curtis Strachan, Kt., CVO., MP
Smt. Jayashree Banerjee, MP
Shri Thomas Hansda, MP
Hon. Fatimah Abdullah, MLA
Hon. Dr. Judson Sakai Tagal, MLA
Mr. Sam Mazosiwe, MPL
Ms. Anne C. Nash, MPL
United Kingdom and Devolved Assemblies of the United Kingdom
Mr. Colin Challen, MP
Mrs. Joan Carson, MLA
Mrs. Carmel Hanna, MLA
Ms. Lorraine Barrett, AM
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Mr. Arthur R. Donahoe, QC
The diversity of the
participants which included one speaker, several former cabinet minister, some
longtime members and several very newly members together with their enthusiasm
for the subjects being debated made for a very useful inaugural seminar which
may well will become a feature of the CPA agenda in the years to come.
Retirement of Arthur
With the beginning of the new year 2002, the term
of Arthur Donahoe, as Secretary General of the Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association comes to an end. The new Secretary General is Denis
Marshsall of New Zealand.
Before assuming his position
as Secretary General in 1991, Arthur Donahoe had established solid
credentials as an able parliamentarian. For ten years, he served as Speaker of
the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to which he had been first elected in 1978.
It was during his tenure in the Chair that the Supreme Court defined the scope
and nature of parliamentary privilege, post the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms, in a case that is familiarly known as the Donahoe Decision.
All federal, provincial and
territorial legislators can take pride in the significant achievements of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association while Arthur Donahoe was Secretary
General. From an impressive organization of 127 member-countries, it now boasts
more than 140 including nations like Mozambique that had no previous connection
to the Commonwealth. More importantly perhaps, the CPA has undertaken in recent
years an ever-larger role in promoting knowledge of parliament and its
importance in preserving and sustaining democracy through a series of seminars
and exchanges between members. Many Canadian parliamentarians and procedural
staff have participated in these programs over the years. These invaluable
exchanges and seminars will continue under the new Secretary General but
everyone involved in CPA during the last decade will retain fond memories
of the Donahoe era.