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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Sixth Annual Canadian Seminar on Parliamentary Practice and Procedure

In Ottawa, during the week of November 2 to 6, the Sixth Canadian Parliamentary Seminar took place, hosted this year by the Federal Branch of the CPA. A large number of parliamentarians from the various branches of the Canadian Region attended the seminar sessions. This Year the principal theme of the debates centered on the challenges facing the parliamentarian in the modern world including his role as a legislator, as a member of his party and a representative of his constituents.

The Hon. Jeanne Sauvé, Speaker of the House of Commons, acted as moderator for a panel discussion on the topic of the Parliamentarian and the media" in which participated Mr. George Bain, former newspaperman for the Toronto Star, now Head of the School of Journalism at King's College, Halifax; Mr. Richard Daignault, of Le Soleil in Québec; Mr. Allan Fotheringham, of Southam News, and Mr. W.A. Wilson, freelance political columnist. The seminar also had as guest speakers two former senior parliamentarians Mr. T.C. Douglas, former leader of the NDP Party, who spoke on the subject of the conceptions of a parliamentarian's role and former leader of the Conservative Party, Hon. Robert Stanfield. Who addressed the delegates on the question of opportunities and frustrations off parliamentarians and what can be done to improve their effectiveness.

A complete transcript of both the Regional Conference and the Seminar will be made available to all delegates as well as to all Branch Secretaries and to Canadian legislative libraries.

Study Group on Parliament and the Scrutiny of Science Policy.

In the last week of November 1980, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association held its Study Group on "Parliament and the Scrutiny of Science Policy" in Ottawa. The purpose of the Study Group was to examine government involvement in the complex of human activities that comprises science and the formulation of science policy, and to determine how that involvement can be scrutinized and improved upon by Parliaments. Eight national legislators representing various regions of the Commonwealth and the United States sat in closed sessions for wide-ranging discussions on this important subject.

The Study Group was sponsored by the Headquarters Secretariat of the CPA and hosted by the Canadian Branch. The Rapporteur for the Study Group was Dean Clay, Head of The Science Division of the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament. He will be preparing a report for publication reviewing the topics covered by the Group and the conclusions that were reached. This report is expected to be published about the middle of 1981.

The participants in the Study Group were Lord Sherfield of the United Kingdom, who served as Chairman, Dr. Gary Gurbin. M P from Canada, the Honourable George Brown Jr. from the United States, Senator Donald Jessop from Australia, Shri M.S. Sanjeevi Rao, MP from India, Professor Ang Kok Peng, MP from Singapore, Senator Kusha Haraksingh from Trinidad and Tobago, and the Honourable A.M. Mango from Kenya. Senator Maurice Lamontagne, who was originally to have chaired the Study Group, was forced to withdraw because of the establishment of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution in Canada. Ian Grey, Editor of Publications and Deputy Secretary General of the CPA, represented the Headquarters Secretariat at the Study Group. Dr. Richard Brock of Australia was present as an observer.

Six of the eight half-day sessions were led off by guest participants who were invited to open discussion on particular subjects. Professor Colin Campbell of Canada introduced the topic of "Parliament and the Executive; Parliament's Role of Scrutinizing the Executive", on the morning of 24 November. That afternoon, Dr. Roger Voyer of Canada opened the discussion on, "The Importance of Science, Technology and Innovation to National Goals". On the second day, Dr. Waiter Hahn of the United States spoke on the topic of "The Role of the Executive in Establishing Science Policy; the Influence of Officials, of Independent Scientific Advisors and of Lobbies". In the afternoon, Dr. Tom Moss of the United States discussed "Parliament and Decision-making Procedures in Matters of Science Policy. He gave particular emphasis to the developed Commonwealth countries.

The next morning, discussion centred on the situation in developing Commonwealth countries with Dr. Rao acting as lead speaker. In the afternoon, Dr. Frank Maine of Canada dealt with "Methods and Reforms Enabling Parliaments to Improve the Scrutiny 01' Science Policy". The same subject carried over to the morning of the final day with Lord Shackleton of the United Kingdom making the opening remarks. In the closing session, the Chairman and the Rapporteur reviewed the four days of discussion and what had been accomplished.

"Parliament and the Scrutiny of Science Policy" is the second such study group the CPA has sponsored. The 1979 Study Group on "Parliament and the Scrutiny of Public Finance was generally considered to have been quite successful and the CPA is now considering a continuing series of such meetings. The value of having such broad participation was evident in the range of views put forward at the Ottawa sessions and it is hoped that the publication of these discussions will be of interest to readers in many parts of the Commonwealth.

New Speaker in Quebec

Mr. Claude Vaillancourt was elected Speaker of the Quebec National Assembly on November 11, 1980 replacing Clement Richard who was named Minister of Communications in a cabinet shuffle announced by the Prime Minister, Mr. René Lévesque. Born on May 19, 1944, in Chicoutimi, Mr. Vaillancourt received his primary, secondary and post-secondary education in Jonquière. He then went on to study law at Laval University, in Quebec City graduating in 1968. The following year, he became a member of the Quebec Bar.

Mr. Vaillancourt established a private law practice in Jonquière where his professional activities covered a broad spectrum of law-related fields. In 1973, he worked as a lawyer for the newly opened Jonquière legal aid office. During this period, he became more and more involved with the labour movemerit and in particular with the unions in his region. He returned to his private practice in 1975 and became the lawyer for the Fédération provinciale des syndicats de l'aluminium (Alcan) and for a local paperworks union.

In the fall of 1976, Mr. Vaillancourt was elected MNA for Jonquière capturing nearly sixty per cent of the votes. In 1977, he was a joint chairman of the parliamentary committee which examined the bill to establish a French-language charter. In 1978, Mr. Vaillancourt presided over the lengthy and delicate activities of the parliamentary committee in charge of examining the referendum bill.

Following the death of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Jean-Guy Cardinal, in March 1979, Mr. Vaillancourt was chosen to succeed him. During this period, in addition to performing his duties as an MNA, he represented the National Assembly at various activities involving foreign relations, either by welcoming foreign dignitaries or by taking part in conferences for parliamentarians abroad.

At thirty-six years of age, he is one of the youngest Speakers in the history of Quebec's parliament. Mr. Vaillancourt is married and is the father of two children.

Appointments of Table Officers

The legislatures of several provinces have recently selected new table officers. In Manitoba the appointment of Gordon Mackintosh was approved by the Board of Internal Economy Commissioners of the Legislative Assembly, effective December 11, 1980. Born in Fort Frances, Ontario, Mr. Mackintosh attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies from the University of Manitoba in 1976 and is currently completing the thesis requirement for a Master of Arts degree in Political Studies. Mr. Mackintosh was a Human Rights Officer with the Department of the Attorney-General from January 1979 until his appointment. He replaces Mr. Andrue Anstett who was Clerk Assistant from June 1973 to August 1979.

In Saskatchewan David Mitchell has been named Clerk Assistant (Procedural). Mr. Mitchell has a Masters degree in history and served as a legislative intern in the British Columbia Legislative Assembly before coming to Saskatchewan. His duties will be procedural research, clerk and researcher for several of the standing committees and at least one special committee as well as duties at the Table. This is a new position in Saskatchewan and brings the number of permanent full time Clerks at the Table to three.

In Newfoundland Elizabeth J. Murphy was appointed Clerk Assistant of the House of Assembly in November 1980. She is a native of St. John's, Newfoundland with degrees in education from Memorial University and law from Dalhousie University. She was formerly a teacher in Newfoundland.

In British Columbia George MacMinn, former Deputy Clerk and Law Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, has returned to the Clerk's office as Deputy Clerk. He will also continue to serve as a Special Commissioner to the Speaker in matters concerning parliamentary reform.

In the Northwest Territories the former practice of assigning a government legal officer as Law Clerk to the Assembly was discontinued at the conclusion of the Assembly in Baker Lake. Instead Earl D. Johnson, a Yellowknife lawyer engaged in private practice in the city has been employed as Law Clerk to the Assembly.

Finally, David M. Hamilton, formerly secretary -treasurer of the village of Fort Simpson and a ten-year resident of the Territories, was appointed Clerk Assistant of the Northwest Territories Assembly. He replaced Pieter deVos who had resigned.

The Parliamentary Librarian, Erik Spicer. announced the appointment of Richard Paré, 42, as Associate Parliamentary Librarian, effective December 1, 1980. Mr. Paré was born in Quebec City and received a BA from Laval University and a BLS from the University, of Ottawa. Prior to his appointment he was Assistant to the Director of the Legislative Library of the Quebec National Assembly and previously Director of the Documentation Service for the Quebec Department of Communications.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 4 no 1

Last Updated: 2020-09-14