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.
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
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.