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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

7th Canadian Regional Parliamentary Seminar November, 1981

The 7th CPA Canadian Regional Seminar on "Improving the Parliamentary System" was held in Nova Scotia from November 25, 1981. The seminar was divided into four parts each of which dealt with one function of parliament. The critical function, introduced by Denis Vaugeois of Quebec, focussed on question period and whether or not a specific time should be reserved for government backbenchers. This proved to be a most controversial issue with a number of interesting arguments advanced on both sides. The financial function, introduced by Bruce Strachan of British Columbia, concentrated on the problem of parliamentary scrutiny of crown corporations. Ontario opened the discussion on the legislative function with Allan McLean, Bernard Newman, and James Renwick, each dealing with a specific aspect of the subject. The session on the investigative function was opened by Ken Robinson of the House of Commons. He concentrated on the committee system and how it could be improved. The last session was a summary and evaluation of the entire seminar. The panelists were Lloyd Johnson of Saskatchewan and William Purdy of Alberta. The chairman for the last session was Maximilien Pollak of Quebec.

Aside from these formal sessions the host of the conference, John Leefe, Deputy Speaker of Nova Scotia and his staff, organized a number of social events including a visit to Peggy's Cove, a lobster boil at the Shore Club in Hubbards and a luncheon at Government House.

Delegates were unanimous in their praise for Mr. Leefe and the conference secretariat headed by Marilyn Gillis for the efficient, professional and friendly manner in which they organized both the working sessions and the hospitality.

Appointments, Elections

The new Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba is Pearl McGonigal. Following a successful business career, Mrs. McGonigal entered public life in 1969 when she became the first woman elected to the St. James-Assiniboia City Council. She was subsequently elected four times to the Greater Winnipeg City Council and at the time of her appointment Mrs. McGonigal was Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Executive Policy Committee. Her contribution to civic life has been recognized by a number of awards and appointments. She was also the author of a weekly column published in suburban newspapers between 1970 and 1980, as well as author of the Frankly Feminine Cookbook, published in 1975.

In the Yukon, Roger Kimmerly, running for the New Democratic Party, defeated three opponents in winning the October 13, 1981 by-election in the electoral district of Whitehorse South Centre. The seat had been vacated by Jack Hibberd, Progressive Conservative, on April 15, 1981. A lawyer, Mr. Kimmerly, 33, had a majority of 76 votes over the Progressive Conservative candidate and 87 votes over the Liberal candidate. The standings in the Yukon Legislative Assembly as of October 26 were: 10 Progressive Conservatives, 3 New Democrats, 2 Liberals and 1 Independent.

Gerald Ottenheimer Chairman of CPA

A new chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference was elected at the Twenty-Seventh CPA Conference held in Fiji. The Executive Committee consists of eighteen members comprising the officers of the Association and two members chosen from each of the regions. The chairman is elected for a three year term.

Mr. Gerald Ottenheimer, presently Justice Minister in the Newfoundland Government, was Speaker of the Newfoundland House of Assembly from 1975-1979. He served as Regional Representative on the Executive Committee from 1978-1981. He is the second Canadian to serve as its chairman since CPA was reorganized in 1967.


On October 31, Senator John Connolly retired from the Senate after some twenty-eight years of service. He acted as leader of the Government in the Senate through most of the Pearson government.

Senator Connolly was an active member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. In 1967 he was named to a small CPA "working group" whose recommendations completely altered the organization of the association. Senator Connolly later served on CPA's Executive Committee.

Among many tributes paid to him was one by Senator Flynn who said "John Connolly brought substance, style and grace to the upper chamber.

Those of us who have known him best and longest appreciate with great sadness what a significant loss this chamber and the body politic suffer as a result of this retirement".

Following his retirement the standings in the Senate were as follows: Liberals 63, Progressive Conservatives 25, Independent 2, Independent-Liberal 1, Social Credit 1, Vacancies 12.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 4 no 4

Last Updated: 2020-03-03