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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

The 18th Canadian Regional Conference of the CPA (Alberta August 1979)

The Eighteenth Canadian Regional Conference took place in Alberta, August 13 to 19 of this year . The Conference meetings were held in the Legislative Chamber and Government House in Edmonton, and at the Convention Centre in Calgary.

Some seventy parliamentarians, guests of the Alberta Branch and of Mr. Speaker Gerard Amerongen, Q.C., M.L.A., represented twelve of the thirteen Canadian CPA Branches. Because of a provincial election campaign taking place at the time of the conference, the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia was unable to send a parliamentary delegation but was represented by one of its administrative officials in Parliament. Mr. Harry Blank, M.N.A. (Quebec) attended the meetings in his capacity of Canadian Regional Representative of the CPA and Mr. Palitha Weerasinghe, Assistant Secretary General, represented the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Also in attendance, as observers and guests of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, were parliamentarians from Britain, France and the Federal Republic of Germany.

The official inauguration was held in the Legislative Chamber Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed delivered the welcoming address and the conference was officially opened by the Honourable Ralph Steinhauer, Q.C., C.M., Lieutenant --Governor of Alberta.

The Conference Agenda

The First Business Session was devoted to CPA affairs and divided as follows:

1. C.P.A. Activities on the Commonwealth scene.

2.C.P.A. Activities in the Canadian Region, including reports from Canadian Branches on activities over the past year.

3. Report on the Canadian Regional Council meeting, Ottawa, February 25, 1978.

4 --The Expanding Role of the C P A .

The Canadian provincial regional representative of the CPA, Mr. Harry Blank (Quebec) is terminating his three--year term of office this year; it is during this firs--t session that the Honourable Gerald Ottenheimer, M.H.A., Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland, was unanimously elected to succeed Mr. Blank.

The following topics were discussed at the other four sessions of the conference:

1 . Energy -- Energy needs and problems from the perspectives of Eastern and Western Canada .

2 . Procedural Reform : Looking Ahead to the 1980' s .

3A Ministerial Accountability and Freedom of Information.

3B Parliament and the Ombudsman.

4. Financial Control: Methods of parliamentary control over public finance and the improvement of their effectiveness. Other activities on the program included a tour of the SYNCRUDE oil sands near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta and a visit to Banff and Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains.

This Eighteenth Conference was most successful and a greatly appreciated event which contributed a great deal to the sharing of parliamentary knowledge and experience. All who attended the conference are most grateful to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Mrs. Amerongen for their gracious hospitality and to the Alberta Branch for its efficient and dynamic organisation.

The Nineteenth Canadian Regional Conference will take place in New Brunswick  in August 1979.

Tuvalu Joins the Commonwealth

Tuvalu (formerly called Ellice Island before January 1 1976, acquired independence on October 1, 1978. Two other states became independenct in 1978 -- Dominica on November 3, 1978 and St. Lucia on December 1978. Articles n them will appear in the next issue of the Review.

The resident population of Tuvalu is estimated to be 8,000. The people are almost entirely of Polynesian stock and have close ties with the Samoans and Tokelaus to the south and east . The main languages spoken are Tuvaluan and English. The entire population is Christian and predominantly Protestant.

Tuvalu comprises nine islands. The total land area is only 10 square miles, and the islands lie in a chain running in a north--west to south--east line some 360 miles in length. The islands are remote from large centres of civilisation; Suva is 650 miles from the capital Funafuti and Sydney is 2,500 miles away. In five of the atolls the reef encloses sizeable lagoons and only at Funafuti and Nukufetau can ships enter the lagoons. The surface of the islands nowhere rises more than 15 feet above sea level. The climate of Tuvalu is pleasant if monotonous; there are no marked wet and dry, or hot and cold seasons. The country is situated north of the hurricane belt.

It is thought that the first time Europeans set eyes on Tuvalu was Mendana who sighted Nui in 1568 and Kiulakita in 1595. Following these early Spanish sightings further contact was not made until the latter part of the 18th and first quarter of the 19th century.

The Reverend A.W. Murray of the London Missionary Society visited the islands from Samoa in lk65. He placed Samoan pastors on the islands and the new faith was universally embraced.

In 1892 after Captain Davis had proclaimed the Gilbert Islands to be a British Protectorate, Captain Gibson of H M S . Curacao, having ascertained the wishes of the inhabitants, declared a protectorate in the Ellice Islands. The headquarters of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Protectorate was established at Tarawa. From 1942 to 1943 the islands were occupied by the Japanese.

On lst October 1974 the result of a referendum held to determine the future of the Ellice Islands revealed that the majority of Ellice Islanders were in favour of separating from the Gilbert Islands and forming a new Colony. The Government of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands subsequently confirmed that the wishes of the majority of the Ellice Islanders would be respected. New separate constitutions for the Ellice, which was renamed Tuvalu, and the Gilberts came into force on lst October 1975 and administrative separation was implemented on lst January 1976.

The date of independence was agreed upon at a constitutional conference held in London, last February. The Independence Constitution provides for Tuvalu to become a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as Head of State represented in the islands by a Tuvaluan Governor--General. Parliament will be unicameral with 12 members elected by universal adult suffrage .

Other matters discussed at the conference included the financial arrangements between Britain and an independent Tuvalu, and agreement was reached on proposals covering a special development fund, capital and budgetary aid and technical co--operation arrangements.

Agriculture is virtually non--existent on the islands due to the poor quality of the soil which is composed largely of coral sand and rock fragments. The major part of all islands is covered with coconut palms which provide the islands with an important source of food and drink, and with copra their only cash crop. Sea fishing is excellent but as yet this resource is used only for subsistence and in Funafuti to a limited extent in the local market. The main food crops, apart from coconuts are babai, a species of taro, pandanus fruit, bananas and occasionally pawpaws.

Tuvalu like Nauru. was accorded independence with "special membership" in the Commonwealth. Under it, the country has the right to participate in all functional meetings and activities of the Commonwealth and is eligible for Commonwealth technical assistance. Tuvalu does not participate in meetings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government.

New Speakers 

Joseph Russell Perry was elected Speaker of the Prince Edward island Legislaturer on June 6, 1978. Born in Prince Edward Island, June 1, 1916; Educated: Palmer Road Elementary School, Summerside High School ; later supplemented by courses at St. Dunstan's University, P.E.I. Served as a member of the Armed Forces for four years during World War II; serving in Canada, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe with an Artillery Regiment; Married. Seven children. Was President of the West Prince Liberal Association from 1960 to 1966; Returning Officer for the Federal District of Egmont from 1966 to 1970. First elected to the Legislature in 1970; re--elected in 1974 and in 1978; Deputy Speaker, 1976 to 1978. Attended Parliamentary procedure seminar in Westminster, 1977. Residence: 222 Phillip Street, Tignish

On September 12, 1978, the Hon. William J. Woodroffe, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, announced that he would not run again in the October 23 provincial elections. Mr. Woodroffe was first elected in 1967 and has occupied the Chair of the New Brunswick Legislature since 1973. His main reason for not seeking re--election was the interest of his family. Since October 1, Mr. Woodroffe holds the office of Deputy Provincial Fire Marshall for New Brunswick.

Last September lst, Charles Blake Lynch started in his new post as Judge of the Provincial Court of New Brunswick. Blake Lynch was appointed Assistant Clerk of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly in 1971 and Clerk of the Assembly in 1973 .


Annual Meeting of Clerks-at-the-Table

The annual meeting of the Association of Clerks --at--the--table of Canada took place in Quebec City from August 9 to 12. All the Canadian legislatures were represented at that conference, with the exception of that of Prince Edward Island. Patrick E. Flahaven, Secretary of the Senate of Minnesota and president of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries was the guest of honour. Mr. Flahaven was accompanied by his wife and his five--year--old son, participants, has the makings of a future clerk.

In the course of their debates the clerks proceeded to elect a new executive. Thus, Henry Muggah from Halifax succeeds Doug Blain from Alberta as president; Pierre Duchesne from Quebec City was elected vice--president and succeeds Gwenn Ronyk from Regina. Ian Izard from Victoria will act as Secretary, thus replacing Jacques Lessard from Quebec City.

During the proceedings, the Clerks examined several aspects OC parliamentary life, including the question of the ratification of laws in the Yukon, recent amendments to the National Assembly's Standing Orders, problems raised by an equality of seats between two Opposition parties parliamentary privileges in Saskatchewan, the Question Period's procedure, and other subjects submitted by the participants.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 1 no 2

Last Updated: 2019-11-29