Canadian Parliamentary Review

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Each year a different province or territory hosts the Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. This year the conference is being held in Newfoundland and again the Canadian Parliamentary Review is publishing a feature article on the parliamentary tradition in the host province. We also have a book review of Senator Frederick Rowe's recent work on Newfoundland's history.

One item on the conference agenda is the protection of confidential communications of Members of Parliament. As this question is of interest to all parliamentarians we are publishing one of the background papers prepared for delegates.

The Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, Arthur Donahoe, has contributed an article on new rules of procedure in that province. One objective of the review is to serve as a vehicle of communication whereby parliamentarians in one part of the country can keep informed about developments in other legislatures. As procedural changes or proposals are introduced elsewhere we hope that other members will also be able to find time in their busy schedules to contribute to the review.

The article by Tommy Douglas is the first in what we hope will be a series of reminiscences by former parliamentarians. The practice of memoir-writing is less developed among Canadian politicians than those of many other countries. This is unfortunate since well-written memoirs, aside from their human interest, can give one generation insights into how previous generations of public officials dealt with similar problems or situations. In this way, as much as by pure scientific research. the sum total of society's knowledge is increased.

Mr. Douglas' article illuminates traditions that lie at the very heart of our parliamentary system. Rules of procedure and even constitutions change. Men of greater or lesser ability come and go. But parliamentary democracy is essentially a way of thinking and acting. Former members, particularly those of long experience, have an ideal perspective from which to distinguish the important from the peripheral and to pass their accumulated wisdom on to present day members. We hope this article and other similar ones will be of interest to parliamentarians as well as to those who study parliaments.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 4 no 2

Last Updated: 2020-03-03