New Speakers in Prince Edward Island and
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
Adoption of the agenda and rules
- CPA Activities on the Commonwealth Scene
- CPA Activities in the Canadian Region, including reports from
Canadian Branches over the past year.
- Report on the Canadian Regional Council Meeting, February 10, 1979.
- Development and Conservation of Canada's Marine Resources
2. Electoral Reform and the Future of
3. The Protection of Human Rights in Canada
4. Relations between Parliament and the
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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
For children in remote areas and for others
unable to attend school, fulltime primary and secondary education is provided
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
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
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
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
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
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