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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene


New Speakers in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland

Dan Compton was elected Speaker of the Prince Edward island Legislative Assembly on July 3, 1979. Speaker Compton was born in 1915 at Belle River, P.E.I.; he is married and has three children. Having been involved in the pulpwood and lumbering business for most of his life, Speaker Compton is keenly interested in forestry redevelopment. He has served in World War II on H.M.C.S. Swansea. Speaker Compton has been a member of the P.E.I. Legislature since 1970. He lives in Belle River, in the same house where he was born.

Lenn Simms was elected Speaker of the Newfoundland House of Assembly on July 12, 1979. M.H.A. for the riding of Grand Falls. Speaker Simms is 35 years of age; he is married and has 2 children. He was educated at the University of New Brunswick; he has held the position of Executive Assistant to former Cabinet Minister John Lundrigan, to former Premier Frank Moores and prior to the June 18 election, to the present Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Hon. Brian Peckford. Speaker Simms has been active in community work for many years; he was the first Newfoundler to hold the post of National President of the Kinsmen Clubs of Canada in the 60 years of history of the organization.

Shortly after the Newfoundland provincial election last June, the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Gerald Ottenheimer, was appointed Minister of Justice in Premier Peckford's Government. Mr. Ottenheimer was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1971 and re-elected in 1972, 1975 and 1979. He was Speaker of the House from November 1975 to June 1979. Mr. Ottenheimer was officially nominated Canadian Regional Representative (Provincial) at the 24th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Jamaica, last year, and will continue In this capacity till the end of his three-year mandate.

New Table Officers

Last June, Keith Johnston was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms of the P.E.I. Legislative Assembly. He was a teacher prior to the outbreak of World War II. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1939, rose to the rank of Major and took part In the landing In France on "D" Day. He worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs from 1945 to 1979. He re-enlisted in the Militia In 1946 and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier In 1963. He was awarded the Canadian Efficiency Decoration in 1950 and the Canadian Forces Decoration in 1964.

Last August, Charles Koester was appointed Clerk of the House of Commons. He was born in 1926. He is married and has five children. He was educated at the Regina Central Collegiate Institute, Royal Canadian Naval College, University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta. Served in the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve) from 1942, retiring in 1960 with rank of Lieutenant Commander. Teacher and Head of History Department, Sheldon Williams Collegiate, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1956-59, Clerk Assistant, Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, 1959-69; Clerk, Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, 1960-69. Associate Professor of History, University of Regina, 1969-75; Head of History Department, 1974-75. He was Clerk Assistant of the House of Commons from 1975 to August 1979. He is the author of several parliamentary and historical publications and other literary works. Mr. Koester replaces Alistair Fraser who was Clerk of the House of Commons from 1967 to August 1979.

On September 20, 1979, Thomas Bowie was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod of the Senate. Mr. Bowie was born in 1917 in Sussex, England, son of Major and Mrs. Bowie, both of Ottawa. He is married and has four children. He enlisted in 1940 and served in Canada, North Africa and New Guinea with rank of Lieutenant and Captain. He attended Army War Staff College, Duntroon, Australia. He retired with the rank of Major. At the end of war rose to rank of Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the Governor General's Foot Guards and appointed Honorary Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency, the Right Honour able Vincent Massey, C.H., Governor General of Canada. In 1965, Mr. Bowie joined the staff of the Parliamentary Relations Secretariat in Parliament as a senior administrative officer and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the NATO Canadian Parliamentary Association until his administrative appointment in the Senate. Mr. Bowie replaces Major Guy Vandelac who was Gentlemen Usher of the Black Rod for nine years.

Fifth Seminar of the Canadian Region of the CPA

The Fifth Seminar on Canadian Parliamentary Practice is taking place this year in Toronto, October 15 to 19. Parliamentarians from the various branches of the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association are participating in this Seminar and during the meetings the delegates will consider a number of aspects of Parliamentary Committee work.

The increase in Committee importance is indicated by recent federal election commitments to strengthen the Committees of the Parliament of Canada and the new system of Committees adopted by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom makes this a timely topic for consideration. Participants will consider the use of Committees for the examination of grievances, the role of Committees in the community and the economy, the powers of Committees and protection of witnesses, the use of special Inquiry Committees and other aspects of this important Parliamentary vehicle. Speakers at the seminar will include the Honourable Hatfield, Premier of New Brunswick, and Mr. George Cunningham, MP for Islington South and Finsbury in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Mr. Cunningham successfully sponsored an amendment to the Scottish Devolution Bill which many persons feel decided the Devolution question in the negative. Also present will be Mr. Kenneth Baker who, like Mr. Cunningham, is a member of the Procedure Committee of the House of Commons.

On the evening of Monday, October 15, Seminar participants will be addressed by Herr Deitrich Stobbe, President of the Bundersrat of the Federal Republic of Germany and governing Mayor of Berlin. His topic will be "Federalism in Germany". Another participant will be Dr. Walter Kravitz, Senior Specialist with the Library of Congress in the United States of America. Dr. Kravitz expertise in both Parliamentary and Congressional forms of Government gives him a particular insight which should be valuable to the Seminar.

The Working Capital Fund of the CPA has made a grant to make it possible for a delegation. from the new Parliament of Ghana to attend the Seminar. This grant is conditional on the Ghanaian Parliament making application to rejoin the CPA after its suspension during a period of military rule.

The Seminar sessions have been scheduled to include evening sittings as well as opportunities to view the Ontario Legislature which is resuming its sittings on October 11.

The 19th Canadian Regional Conference: A Summary

Delegates and observers to the 19th Canadian Regional Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference convened in the historic New Brunswick Legislative Chamber in Fredericton on Monday, August 13, 1979. The conference was opened by the Hon. Hedard Robichaud, P.C., Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick. In his remarks His Honour noted that the bicentennial of New Brunswick would be celebrated in 1985 and that this year marked the 375th Anniversary of the visits of Champlain and Hébert to Acadia and Quebec.

Prior to the Opening Declaration, greetings were extended by the Hon. Richard Hatfield, Premier of New Brunswick, and the Hon. James Jerome, Q.C., Speaker of the House of Commons. The official party also Included the Hon. Renaude Lapointe, Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Assistant Secretary-General of the CPA, Mr. Palitha Weerasinghe, Mr. Ian G. Imrie, Executive Secretary Treasury of the Canadian Branch of CPA, and Mr. David Peterson, Secretary of the New Brunswick Branch of CPA.

The Speaker of the New Brunswick House, the Hon. Robert McCready, presided over the first business session which dealt with the development and conservation of Canada's marine resources. Mr. Hazen Myers led the debate which centered on the new 200 mile fisheries limit and the great potential for economic growth now available to Canadians both in export opportunities and new processing industries . Speakers also drew attention to the potential of the inland fisheries and the expected growth in undersea mineral, and oil development. Central to this growth is the co-operation of both the federal avid provincial governments in assuring constant consultation in what remains a divided field of constitutional responsibility.

At the afternoon business meeting, the officers of' the Canadian Region presented reports on the state of their Branches in CPA activities, including the forthcoming General Conference in New Zealand and progress made in the development of the CPA's Working Capital Fund. Also during that same session, Dr. Maurice Foster, M.P., was unanimously designated to succeed Mr. Maurice Dupras, M.P., as Canadian Regional Representative (Federal) . This decision will. be ratified at the New Zealand General Conference.

On Tuesday, delegates were given a choice of two tours. The first group visited the historic park at Kings Landing, a community established to preserve, in an authentic setting, many of the great pioneer buildings of New Brunswick. The second group continued the examination of maritime fishery resources with a trip to Shediac for close scrutiny of the New Brunswick lobster industry.

On Wednesday, the conference moved to the idyllic setting of St. Andrews, pausing on the way for a tour of the city and modern port of St. John's.

The morning of Thursday, August 16 brought with it the sad announcement of the death of the Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker, who had for decades been a strong supporter of both the Commonwealth and CPA. Speaker McCready called for the observance of a minute of silence and recognized Mr. Diefenbaker's friend of many years, Senator Grosart, who spoke of the loss of his "Chief" and his love for Parliament. He recalled Mr. Diefenbaker's determination to make the supremacy of parliament the issue of the 1957 election. "I remember he said to me on more than one occasion, "It is going to be the issue", I couldn't see how he could make it the issue until the first time he spoke on the matter. He rose at a public meeting and said, "I love the House of Commons". He loved the very institution that we are about to discuss at this particular session. The conference then placed on the record of its proceedings the sorrow of all parliamentarians, "all who love the institution of Parliament" at the passing of this great Canadian parliamentarian.

Mr. Clément Richard, President of the National Assembly of Quebec, then began the discussion on electoral reform and the future of: parliamentary institutions in Canada. A vigorous debate touching on the merits of proportional representation, the use of the referendum, electoral financial regulation, fixed parliamentary terms, and redistribution followed the initial presentation by President Richard.

On Friday, August 17, the conference debated the protection of human rights. To engage the debate, the Human Rights Commissioner of Canada, Mr. Gordon Fairweather, briefed delegates on the mandate and current work of his Commission. Not surprisingly, the delegates' views on this subject were at variance with each other. The transcript of the session will be useful to members in defining the work of the Canadian Commission as it is presently structured and in reviewing the need for future legislation.

The Deputy Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, Mr. Hugh Edighoffer, began the afternoon discussion of the relationship between the media and Parliament. This question stimulated great interest for there is no creature more wounded than a misquoted politician "unless it is one who is not quoted at all".

Senator Nancy Bell, speaking as a former journalist, felt that the media did not do as good a job at reporting parliament as they could and other speakers were equally critical of media attention to the work of those Members of the House who are not party leaders or ministers. In the defence of the media, it was argued that their resources were thinly spread and the rapid turnover of journalists in the press gallery often made it difficult for new members of the gallery to develop the sense of the parliamentary institution which would be necessary for authoritative reporting.

Much of the usefulness of conferences comes from the informal sessions – times spent outside of the chamber. The New Region, including reports from Brunswick hosts provided a fine balance Canadian Branches over the past between the debating hall and the reception rooms.

Certainly the high point of the St. Andrews' visit occurred at the beach of the Algonquin Hotel on Thursday evening when participants were treated to a great shore dinner.

A complete transcript of the New Brunswick Conference will be made available to all delegates who participated in the conference, as well as to all Branch Secretaries and Canadian Parliamentary Libraries.

Agenda

Opening ceremonies

Adoption of the agenda and rules

CPA matters

  1. CPA Activities on the Commonwealth Scene
  2. CPA Activities in the Canadian Region, including reports from Canadian Branches over the past year.
  3. Report on the Canadian Regional Council Meeting, February 10, 1979.

General matters

  1. Development and Conservation of Canada's Marine Resources

2. Electoral Reform and the Future of Parliamentary Institutions

3. The Protection of Human Rights in Canada

4. Relations between Parliament and the Media

Visit to Canada of Speaker of British House of Commons

On September 3rd, the Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Renaude Lapointe and the Honourable James Jerome, Speaker of the House of Commons held a luncheon in honour of the Right Honourable George Thomas, M.P., Speaker of Britain's House of Commons. The following day, Speaker Thomas was the guest of Ontario Speaker John Stokes, MPP. Speaker Thomas combined his visit to Ottawa and Toronto with business in New York State. After his visit to Toronto, however, Speaker Thomas returned to London to attend the state funeral of Earl Mountbatten. In both Ottawa and Toronto Speaker Thomas had an opportunity to meet members of the parliamentary community. To the delight of both Speaker Jerome and Speaker Stokes, he presented them with handsomely bound replicas of the Royal Assent copy of the British North America Act, 1867.

Quebec Parliamentary Visit to Ontario Legislature

On September 6 and 7 last, a parliamentary delegation from the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Quebec National Assembly visited the Ontario Legislative Assembly on a study mission.

The delegation was composed of nine parliamentarians and included the President of the Quebec National Assembly, Mr. C1ément Richard, and the Minister for Cultural Affairs and Minister of Communications, Denis Vaugeois. During their two-day stay, the delegates met with officials of various cultural Institutions in Toronto, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Science Centre, the Metro Reference Library, the Toronto Art Gallery and the McMichael Museum.

This visit which was most Interesting and successful, was made possible by the co-operation of the two Assemblies and the tremendous welcome of the Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, John Stokes.

25th Conference in New Zealand

This year, the 25th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference will take place in New Zealand, November 17 to December 2. Parliamentarians from some 110 legislative chambers in member nations, their states and provinces, associated states, self-governing and dependent territories will be invited by the Parliament of New Zealand.

In the vast expanse of the South Pacific Ocean New Zealand seems small and Isolated. But in total area the two main islands are about the size of Italy or Japan. The country is 1600 km (1000 miles) from its nearest neighbour, the subcontinent of Australia. This is roughly the same as the distance between Vancouver and Saskatoon.

New Zealand consists of two large islands, North island and South island, and several small Islands with a total area of 677,990 sq. km. A chain of mountains traverses both North and South Islands. South Island is characterized by the Canterbury Plains in the East, and a narrow forested strip in the West. A high volcanic plateau covers the centre of North Island: large dairy-farming plains extend in the west, and a narrow peninsula in the north. Various species of beech and pine cover the forested area. New Zealand's climate is temperate, without marked seasonal extremes, but with sharp regional contrasts caused by the high relief of the country. Rainfall is heavy in most areas.

The Territories of New Zealand are the Cook Islands and Niue, both with self-governing status, and the Tokelau and Ross Dependencies. The Cook Islands, Niue and the Tokelau Islands are located in the south-central part of the Pacific while the Ross Dependency is located in the Antarctic.

Although New Zealand's economy still depends largely on the export of agricultural products, most New Zealanders (77.3 per cent) live In the cities and towns. Of the four principal cities, two in each main Island, Auckland is the northernmost and the largest, with a population of close to 800,000 inhabitants. Further south lies Wellington, the capital city with a population of more than 350,000. Situated on a magnificent harbour, Wellington is the administrative and geographic centre of the country. The main South Island cities are Christchurch and Dunedin. Christchurch is often thought to be English In character, reflecting the ideas of Its founders. Dunedin is basically Scottish In origin; its name is the ancient form of Edinburgh.

New Zealand has a population of over 3.1 million, of whom more than 250,000 are Maoris. The inhabitants of the Cook Islands (approx. 17,000), Niue (approx. 4,000) and the Tokelaus (approx. 1,600) are of Polynesian and European descent. Upon reaching self-governing status, the people of the Cook Islands and Niue chose to retain their New Zealand citizenship. The Ross Dependency has no permanent inhabitants but scientific stations are staffed all the year-round.

Christianity is the main religion.

English is the official language and although virtually all Maoris speak English, some use Maori in the home. A few years ago there was concern that the language might die out. However, it has undergone a revival which has received encouragement from a Government directive that tuition in Maori must be available to any school student who wishes to learn it.

Some Maori words are widely used in New Zealand. Many New Zealanders, for example, prefer the Maori word Pakeha to white, European or other terms used to denote ethnic background.

Little is known of the first Polynesian inhabitants, the Moa hunters, most of whom lived in the South Island from 700 A.D. It is generally believed that the Maoris, a polynesian people, first settled in New Zealand between 1200 A.D. and 1400 A.D.

The first European to sight New Zealand, in 1642, was an employee of the Dutch East India Company, Abel Janzoon Tasman. In 1769, Captain James Cook charted its shores, but it was not until 1840, by the Waitangi Treaty, that British sovereignty was proclaimed over New Zealand. From that date, the stream of British immigrants into New Zealand was such that by 1858 the newcomers had begun to outnumber the Maoris. Many of these settlers were assisted by the New Zealand Company. The Constitution Act was passed in 1852, and responsible government was introduced in 1856. New Zealand was granted self-government in 1876 and the title of Dominion on September 26, 1907.

The country is a constitutional monarchy with responsible Government and a unicameral legislature. The Head of State, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is represented in New Zealand by a Governor General whose term of appointment is for 5 years.

As in the United Kingdom, New Zealand has no written constitution. Its constitution is contained in the statutes of the Imperial and New Zealand Parliaments and the decisions of the Superior Courts of both jurisdictions.

In the New Zealand Parliamentary system, there is no Upper House (the Legislative Council was abolished in 1950) and no federal system (the provincial legislatures were abolished in 1877) so that the party which gains a majority In Parliament wields effective power. The power of the majority party is balanced by the fact that elections for all seats are held every, three years. This form of accountability, is strongly favoured by New Zealanders who, in a 1967 referendum, rejected by a majority of more than 2 to I a proposal that the term be lengthened to four years., There are 92 electorates, including four Maori seats. All adult males received the vote in 1879 and in 1893 New Zealand became the first country to extend voting rights to women. The minimum voting age is 18 years and almost every permanent resident (even if not a New Zealand citizen) may qualify for the franchise.

There are two main political parties in New Zealand:

The New Zealand Labour Party, which formed the Government from 1935 to 1948; from 1957 to 1960; and from 1972 to 1975. The Labour Party has traditionally drawn its greatest strength from urban areas, universities and the trade unions, and;

The New Zealand National Party, which formed the Government from 1948 to 1972 except for a three year period; from 1.957 to 1960, and won the general elections in 1975 and 1978. The National Party has historically drawn most of its support from farming and business communities.

Distribution of seats: National Party 50; Labour Party 41; and Social Credit League 1. There exists a fourth party in the political system called the Values Party.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the Rt. Hon. R.D. Muldoon and the Leader of the Opposition is the Rt. Hon. W.E. Rowling.

Note: In 1936 New Zealand was probably the first country to broadcast parliamentary debates "live".

Agriculture is the basis of New Zealand's prosperity, but two-thirds of New Zealand's labour force of 1.2 million work in cities or factories rather than on the land. Many factories process the raw material from farms and forests, producing canned meat, frozen vegetables, casein, butter, frozen meat, cheese, dried and condensed milk, carpets, furniture and newsprint. These products are exported in increasing amounts. New Zealand is already the biggest exporter of mutton and lamb and dairy products in the world, and the second largest exporter of wool.

Deer fanning Is relatively new in New Zealand. Nonetheless It has enjoyed considerable success and has expanded rapidly. About 50,000 to 60,000 deer are already domesticated and the number is expected to multiply rapidly In the near future, principally because the highly priced velvet antler from the stags is proving far more profitable than marketing of venison.

An abundance of river and lake water provides 84 per cent of New Zealand's electrical power, which is among the cheapest in the world. Oil and mineral exploration is being carried out extensively and although no major mineral resources have been found, significant quantities of oil, natural gas, iron sands and other minerals have been discovered and are being exploited.

Tourism development is an important sector of the economy. By 1977, the number of tourists had quadrupled that of the mid1960's and although 60 percent of the tourists are from Australia, the number of North American visitors is constantly increasing.

Jobs and Taxes

Large-scale unemployment has not hit New Zealand in modern times as it has in other Industrial countries of the world and it is considered that only roughly 3 to 4 percent of the labour force Is unemployed.

Income tax Is deducted at source.

The tax due is calculated on a graduated scale in respect of all salary, wage, dividend and other income, subject to the allowance of certain exemptions and rebates. Exemptions are deducted from the assessable income and rebates from the amount of tax. Basic rates of income tax vary according to the amount of taxable income: between $2,500 and $3,000, 23.5 percent; between $5,500 and $6,000, 39.5 percent; between $8,000 and $10,000, 48 percent; then rising in stages to a maximum rate of 60 percent on a taxable Income of more than $22,000.

New Zealand children receive compulsory education from the ages 6 to 14. Education in the 2250 primary and district high schools and 233 secondary schools run by the State is secular and free of tuition fees to the age of 19, although parents have to meet the cost of uniforms where these are required.

In addition to the State schools, there are 325 private primary and 109 private secondary schools, built and run mainly by the churches.

For children in remote areas and for others unable to attend school, fulltime primary and secondary education is provided by correspondence.

New Zealand has seven universities Auckland, Waikato (Hamilton), Massey (Palmerston North), Victoria (Wellington), Canterbury and Lincoln (Christchurch), and Otago (Dunedin).

The cultural life of New Zealand, like the population, draws on two main sources – Europe and Polynesia.

The early Maoris, without a written language, expressed their history and religious beliefs in songs and dances and in complex and beautiful carvings. Some of these carvings, in wood, whalebone, and stone, represent the highest artistic achievement of any of the Polynesian peoples.

Painting, sculpture and other artistic work, ballet, drama, filmmaking, music and opera receive financial support from the Government through an independent body, the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, and facilities are provided for training promising musicians' and dancers. Through Regional Arts Councils assistance Is also made available to amateur groups and individuals to help promote participation in the visual and performing arts throughout New Zealand.

Rugby and football (soccer) are widely played. Both sexes play field hockey (in which New Zealand won a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics) as well as soccer, basketball and a variety of other sports. Netball, an outdoor version of basketball is widely played by women. Some young women are keen on precision marching a team sport Indigenous to New Zealand which has gained popularity elsewhere. Cricket is one of the most popular of summer sports. Rowing has a large following as does surf lifesaving, a sport which has led to the establishment of beach lifesaving clubs that compete for trophies in carnivals held all over the country.

The Kiwi is often adopted as a national emblem and the New Zealand Manufacturers' Federation has adopted the stylized form of the bird as its official symbol. The Kiwi is a unique nocturnal, flightless bird that has existed in New Zealand and nowhere else In the world for 12 million years.

Kiwis, which live for about 25 years, mate for life and enjoy a stable family relationship in which the female – perhaps the world's original "women's liberationist" – has a reasonably easy time. Most of the nest building Is done by the male, which also hatches the egg. The female's biggest task is to lay a relatively huge egg about one-quarter of the mother's body weight.

Kiribati the Commonwealth`s 41st Member State

The Gilbert Islands, one of Britain's smallest and most remote Colonies, achieved independence In July 12 past and are now known as Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas). The following article is reproduced from the "Commonwealth Currents, June 1979 issue published by the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, England.

Kiribati (pop. approx. 52,000) is centred around the point in the South Pacific where the International Date Line cuts the Equator. Though its total land area is only 684 sq. km. it is scattered over more than five million sq. km. of ocean, embracing the once phosphate-rich Banaba (formerly Ocean Island) and the Phoenix and Line Islands. Tarawa, the capital, is one of 16 coral atolls which form the Gilbert Islands; it is 4,000 km. from Sydney, Australia and nearly 2,300 km. from Suva, the Fijian capital.

The European discovery of the Gilbert Islands dates from the 16th century; however, after these early sightings, further discovery had to await the latter. part of the 18th century and the first.. quarter of the 19th century. After Captain Byron's visit in 1765 the remaining islands in the group were discovered largely as an unintended result of increasing commercial activity in the Pacific. One of the first Europeans to settle in the Gilbert Islands landed about 1837 and. the number steadily grew. Trading ships began to visit the islands regularly from 1850 onwards.*

Until 1975 the islands were a part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, administered by Britain as a single dependency. After their separation, the Ellice Islands moved more quickly, gaining independence on 1 October 1978 under the name Tuvalu (pop. 10,000).

On 1 January 1977 the Gilbert Islands were granted full Internal self government. General elections followed in February 1978; and the next month Mr. Ieremia Tabai was elected Chief Minister by the House of Assembly.

The Gilbert Islands Government was advised in constitutional discussions with the British Government and in the conference held in November 1978, by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation's small, multidisciplinary group (TAG). Economic and fiscal advisers were at the conference to help iron out an agreement on British development aid and budgetary support for Kiribati following independence. Two TAG lawyers advised on a number of complicated issues concerning the islands' new constitution.

On 12 July the Chief Minister, while retaining his position as a Member of Parliament, took office as Beritetenti (president) under a republican constitution which provides for a unitary government, a legislature and a cabinet executive. President Tabai becomes, at 29, the youngest Head of Government in. the Commonwealth.

Although a declining resource, by far the greatest revenue earner for 1Cirtbati has been rock phosphate which has been. mined on Banaba for 75 years for use as a cheap fertilizer. The British Phosphate Commissioners, who have extracted the phosphate on behalf of the Governments of Australia, Britain and New Zealand, are at present the largest single employer in Kiribati. TAG has helped the Gilbert. Islands Government to examine Its relationship with the BPC.

The new Government will have to face the immediate problem of finding alternative sources of revenue. Within the next. year phosphate supplies will be exhausted; in 1976 they accounted for 94.5 per cent of total export value. Last year, TAG helped the Government in negotiations with a consortium of American companies which was eager to explore for phosphates and other mineral nodules in the shallow lagoons. New mineral taxation regimes and licensing provisions had previously been drawn up with TAG help; they will. be put into practice if minerals are discovered in large enough quantities to make extraction economic.

Rich deep sea and lagoon fishing grounds offer Kiribati a further source of revenue. Small scale, traditional lagoon fishing is now being encouraged, and large schools of skip-jack tuna, especially around the Phoenix Islands, are being developed commercially. Th e main ports are at Tarawa (Betio Inlet) and Banaba.

Infertile soils limit agricultural potential. The only economic crop is the coconut, which provides an important source of food and drink, and copra, the dried kernels of coconuts, is the only cash crop. Commercial copra plantations in the Line Islands offer a further source of employment. In 1976 the Australian company of Burns Philp replanted and extended their plantations on Washington and Fanning Islands to increase production, taking advantage of rising copra prices . TAG is advising the Government on its relationship with the company which holds the only freehold land in the island group.

In spite of a favourable balance of payments, created mainly by phosphate taxes, Kiribati relies heavily on foreign assistance for the improvement of the infrastructure, rural development and fisheries expansion. In 1977 $6 million (Australian) received in bilateral aid was invested in landing craft, causeway construction, road building, airport and government buildings, community high schools, sewerage, navigation channels, coconut milling and fisheries.

Aid and technical assistance will continue to be important. The scattered nature of the country and its remoteness make administration, transport and communications very difficult. The economy has relied on limited supplies of phosphate – now almost exhausted – and a single cash crop which is vulnerable to price fluctuations. Employment prospects for the expanding labour force are grim; many young people are forced away from their homes to find work on distant islands or as seamen on foreign ships.

These are problems familiar to the island nations of the South Pacific. Kiribati will continue to benefit from a special relationship with Britain, but will also have the opportunity to strengthen regional links and co-operation in the interests of both social and economic progress.

John G. Diefenbaker

Most Canadian boys dream of growing up to be a Mountie or a bush pilot. An eleven-year old boy who was helping his father to measure off the boundaries of a homestead in Saskatchewan in 1906 had no dreams of joining what was then known as the North West Mounted Police. The hopes of boyhood rest on dreams of adventure and of achievement, and for John George Diefenbaker it was, even at eleven, a dream of leadership in politics and public affairs".*

Indeed politics were seriously on the mind of the former Prime Minister when, as early as 1925 and 1926, he ran in the elections in Prince Albert.

The Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker was born on September 18, 1895, in Grey County Ontario, the son of William Thomas Diefenbaker, whose forefathers migrated from Baden, and Mary Florence (Bannerman) Diefenbaker, a direct descendant of the Selkirk Highland Settlers who came to Red River Settlement in 1813. In 1929, he married Edna Mae Brower, who died in February, 1951, and remarried in 1953 to Olive E. Palmer, who died on December 22, 1976.

Mr. Diefenbaker received a B.A., M.A. and LL.B. (1919) from the University of Saskatchewan, of which he later became Chancellor. He was a Member of the Bars of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta, and Law Society of Upper Canada, and in 1929 was created King's Counsel (Sask.) and Queen's Counsel (Ont.) in 1958. During his lifetime, in Canada as well as abroad, Mr. Diefenbaker received many honours, honorary memberships and as much as 36 honorary, degrees. The former Prime Minister was a Veteran or World War I and served overseas with the rank of Lieutenant.

During his career, outside of politics, he established a reputation for himself as a civil rights advocate and courtroom defence attorney.

Apart from being a candidate in the Federal general elections of 1925 and 1926, he was also a Conservative candidate in the Provincial general elections in 1929 and 1938. In 1936, he was chosen leader of the Conservative Party In Saskatchewan and resigned in 1940; he was first elected to the House of Commons in 1940 and from then on, was successfully re-elected in 12 federal general election campaigns. He became the Leader of the National Progressive Conservative Party In 1956 and became Prime Minister of Canada after his Party won the June 10, 1957 general election; his Government was re-elected in March, 1958 with the largest number of Members in Canada's history (208 out of a House of 265), and again re-elected in June 1962. He was Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from April 1963 to September 1967 when he resigned as National Leader of his Party.

One of the legislative achievements for which Mr. Diefenbaker will be best remembered is the "Canadian Bill of Rights", "An Act for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms", passed in 1960. He also introduced simultaneous interpretation of debates in French and English in Parliament.

Mr. Diefenbaker remained active in Parliament and public affairs to the very end of his life; he appeared in an interview on the CTV program "Question Period" a few days before his death.

 


Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 2 no 4
1979






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