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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Forty First Canadian Regional Conference

New Brunswick was the site of the 2002 Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It brought together some 90 legislators and observers from every federal, provincial and territorial assembly. The Conference was opened by the Lieutenant-Governor, Marilyn Trenholme Counsell.

The host of the Conference was Speaker Bev Harrison of New Brunswick.  Other speakers in attendance included Lloyd Snow (Newfoundland and Labrador), Murray Scott (NS), Mildrid Dover (PEI), Gary Carr (ON), Myron Kowalski (SK), Ken Kowalsky (AB), Kevin O’Brien (NT), Dennis Schneider (YK) and Tony Whitford (NWT).

Special guests included Derek Conway, MP and John Robertson MP from the House of Commons in the United Kingdom and Andrew Imlach, Director of Information Services with the CPA Secretariat in London.

The business agenda featured nine topics. Suzanne Tremblay, MP led off a lively discussion of the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches.

The process by which party leaders are chosen was the subject of another session.  The lead speaker was Harry Van Mulligan of Saskatchewan.

A session on Members’ Remuneration offered those in attendance an opportunity to reflect upon changes made recently in the approach to members’ salaries and pensions.  Ted Arnott of Ontario and Ray Danyluk of Alberta were the lead speakers on this issue.

The prospects for electoral reform were examined in another session which featured James Bagnall of Prince Edward Island and Jeannie Lea a former MLA and presently on the Board of the Institute of Island Studies in Prince Edward Island.

Several policy matters were also considered by the delegates. Russell Williams of Quebec led a discussion of the Role of Government in the Control and Marketing of Gambling. Another Quebec MNA, David Payne, presented a paper on Interprovincial Trade. Sarmite Bulte, MP and Mel Knight (AB) looked at the issue of Canadian-American relations since September 11. Jim DeWolfe of Nova Scotia spoke on Nova Scotia’s smoke free legislation.

Aside from the business sessions there were numerous opportunities to sample New Brunswick hospitality including a dinner hosted by the Lieutenant Governor, a visit to Kings Landing Historical Settlement, and a tour of La Dune de Bouctouche. For many the highlight of the week was the visit to the Pays de la Sagouine where delegates were treated to an afternoon of Acadian theatre, music, and guided tours.  This included a performance by Senator Viola Léger who in her career as an actress has been bringing La Sagouine to life for 30 years.

The renowned novelist and playwright Antonine Maillet, creator of La Sagouine, joined the delegates for a traditional lobster supper following the performance.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 25 no 3

Last Updated: 2020-09-14