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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

New Speaker in Quebec

On Tuesday, March 12, 2002, the National Assembly elected a new Speaker, Louise Harel, by secret ballot.

Born in Sainte-Thérèse-de- Blainville on April 22, 1946, Louise Harel obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the Sainte-Thérèse Seminary in 1967 and then studied sociology at the University of Montreal, where she also received a degree in law in 1977.  She was called to the Quebec Bar in 1979.

She was vice-president of the Quebec general students’ union in 1968 and a staff member in the national secretariat of the Parti Québécois from 1970 to 1971.  From 1971 to 1974 she worked at the cooperatives service of the social development council of metropolitan Montreal, and from 1979 to 1981 she assumed responsibility for matters regarding the status of women at the Montreal social services centre.

Having been president of the Parti Québécois riding association for Montreal Centre from 1974 to 1979, she served as national vice-president of the party from 1979 to 1981.

Elected as the Member for the riding of Maisonneuve in 1981, Mrs. Harel became chairman of the Committee on Labour and the Economy during the 1984 parliamentary reform. Later in 1984 she was appointed Minister of Cultural Communities and Immigration, and in 1985 she became the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Justice.

After her reelection as the Member for Maisonneuve on December 2, 1985, she was elected vice-chairman of the Committee on Culture.

Reelected for a third term of office in 1989 as the Member for the riding of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, she chaired the Committee on Education and acted as opposition critic for, in turn, manpower and income security, justice, and industry and trade.  She was also designated as the Member responsible for the Montreal region within the Parti Québécois caucus.  During this same period she chaired the Parti Québécois task force on Montréal and its region.

Reelected for a fourth time on September 12, 1994, Louise Harel became Minister of State for Concerted Action and Minister of Employment in the Parizeau government.  In a Cabinet shuffle announced on November 3, 1995, she assumed in addition responsibility for the Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities.

On January 29, 1996, when Lucien Bouchard formed his new Cabinet, she became Minister of State for Employment and Solidarity, Minister of Income Security, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, and Minister responsible for Independent Community Action.

On March 6, 1998, she was named Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region.

Reelected for a fifth term of office on November 30, 1998, Mrs. Harel was appointed Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Greater Montreal and Minister responsible for Seniors on December 15.  She also chaired the ministerial committee on regional and territorial affairs and that on the Montreal region.

Mrs. Harel is the 41st Speaker of the Assembly since Confederation in 1867 as well as the first woman to hold this office.

Canadian Regional Council Meeting

The Council of the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association held its annual meeting in Ottawa on June 1, 2002.  The Council consists of the Chair (usually the Speaker) of the CPA Branch in each federal, provincial and territorial assembly as well as the Regional Representatives to CPA.

The meeting was chaired by Speaker Ken Kowalski of Alberta.  The main topic on the agenda related the 50th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which will be held in Canada from August 28 to September 10, 2004.  This is an ambitious undertaking involving several hundred parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from around the Commonwealth.  The conference will be split between Quebec City and Toronto.

Other upcoming parliamentary conferences were also approved by the Council including Regional Conferences in British Columbia in 2003 and Newfoundland in 2005.  The Regional Seminar scheduled for 2002 will be replaced by a special Conference on Parliamentary Government to be hosted by the Quebec National Assembly from October 9 to 12, 2002.   The conference will include six plenary sessions bringing together representatives of various legislatures as well as academics, journalists, jurists and others.

In 2003 the Regional Seminar will be held in Nunavut and in 2005 in Prince Edward Island.  The Conference of Presiding Officers will be held in Ontario in 2003, Nova Scotia in 2004, Northwest Territories in 2005 and Prince Edward Island in 2006.

Regional Conference

The 41st Canadian Regional Conference will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick from July 16-21, 2002. The host of the conference is Speaker Bev Harrison.

Among the topics for the business sessions are the following :

  • Royal Assent
  • Members’ Remuneration
  • Canada-United States relations since September 11, 2001
  • The Selection Process for Party Leaders
  • Interprovincial Trade Barriers
  • Power of the Legislative Branch vs Authority of the Executive Branch
  • Security in the Legislative Precincts

In addition, social activities have been coordinated to ensure that delegates will be able to experience summer events and local attractions. These include a visit to La dune de Bouchtouche, Irving Eco-Centre, Le Pays de la Sagouine and Kings Landing Historical Settlement.

New Chair of Federal Branch

On May 2, 2002 Sarmite Bulte was elected to a second term as Chair of the Federal Branch of CPA. She replaced Sue Barnes who resigned following her election as Chair of the Finance Committee of the House of Commons.

First elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament in 1997, Ms. Bulte represents Parkdale-High Park in the House of Commons. She studied at the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor where she obtained a law degree in 1978.

She has been active in a number of organizations including the International of Women Entrepreneurs of Canada, the Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF) Endowment Committee, the Judy Lamarsh Fund and the Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs.

She has been a member of the Liberal Task Force on Financial Institutions  from 1997-1998, the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Youth Entrepreneurship from 1998-1999, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Chair of the Sub-Committee of International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investment and Chair of the Liberal Caucus Committee on the CRTC.

In August 2000 she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. She has served as Canadian Regional Representative on the International Executive of the CPA since September 2000. She is also Chair of the Baltic States Friendship Group.

New Sergeant-at-Arms in New Brunswick

On March 1, Daniel Bussières was appointed to the position of Sergeant-at-Arms at the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. He replaces Phyllis LeBlanc who retired March 31, 2002.

Mr. Bussières has 23 years of experience with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He has participated in numerous V.I.P. security programs and brings to the position experience in all aspects of law enforcement and security.

He has served as Division Security Coordinator/Recruiting RCMP “J” Division, and has been involved in implementing RCMP Strategic plans across the country as  National Coordinator of the RCMP Policy review initiative. He is a member of the Canadian Society for Industrial Security.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 25 no 2

Last Updated: 2020-03-03