20th Canadian Regional Conference,
The annual Canadian Regional Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association Conference took place in British Columbia, from
September 7 to 13, 1980. All thirteen branches of the Canadian Region were
represented at the conference. On the morning of September 8, some ninety,
delegates and observers gathered in the Legislative Assembly of British
Columbia to hear the welcoming address of the Deputy Premier and Minister of
Human Resources, the Honourable Grace McCarthy. The remainder of the morning
session was devoted to CPA and regional affairs of the Association in Canada.
All plenary sessions of the conference were
held at the Legislative Assembly. The host of the meetings was the Speaker of
the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Harvey Schroeder, who, convalescing
from an illness at the time of the conference, delegated the. duties of
chairing the sessions to the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Walter Davidson conducted the
debates with great ability and style. The six items entered on the agenda by
the host branch were topical and of great interest to the assembled
parliamentarians. The subjects included: the conservation and diversification
of energy; the transportation and telecommunications revolution; regionalism
and research and development in resource industries; parliamentary control of
public expenditures; public opinion and pressure groups; and the subject of
constitutional, electoral and parliamentary reform.
Following a practice established at the 1979
conference in New Brunswick, the host Branch invited discussants who, because
of their specialized experience and studies were able to bring different
opinions on the subjects under discussion. These speakers were: Mr. Robert
Bonner, Chairman of British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority; Dr. Robert
Stewart. Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Universities, Science and
Communications. Mr. Gerald H.D. Hobbs, Former Chief Officer for Cominco
Limited; the Hon. Robert Andras, Senior Vice-President, Teck Corporation. and
Dr. Walter Young, Professor of Political Science at University of Victoria.
Delegates also heard two keynote speakers. Dr. David Suzuki, of the University
of British Columbia. who spoke to the participants on the challenge facing the
legislators in the ever-evolving field of science and technology. and Dr. Neil
Perry, of Simon Fraser University, who addressed the participants on the
subject of public policy and decision-making in this new decade.
Also following a well-established practice,
the host Branch had invited the United Kingdom Branch of CPA to send two
parliamentary observers. The participation of Mr. Sydney Bidwell and Mr. Roger
Moate in all aspects of the conference was most appreciated by all delegates.
During their weeklong visit the 170
delegates, observers, spouses and staff had an opportunity to tour many points
of interest in both Vancouver Island and the lower mainland. Two salmon fishing
expeditions were organized and many visitors took home proof that fishermen's
tales could truly have happy endings. All those involved were grateful to the
hospitality offered them by Speaker Schroeder and Deputy Speaker Davidson. A
special word of thanks is also due to Conference Co-ordinator David Adams,
Assistant Conference Co-ordinator Elaine Dunbar and Tour Guides Lynne
McCaughey, Michael Doherty, Cliff Hewitt and Jennifer Verrall.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in
The 26th Commonwealth Parliamentary
Conference took place in Zambia from 21 September to 4 October 1980. It was
attended by some 180 delegates and a number of secretaries and observers
representing 45 countries and 93 branches of the C.P.A. The only branches
unrepresented were those of Guyana, Jammu and Kashmir Manipur, Orissa, St
Helena, St Lucia: Solomon Islands, and Tanzania. For the first time in many
years delegations attended from Bangladesh, Ghana, Nigeria and Swaziland.
Sikkim was represented for the first time. Xavier Deniau and Robert Moinet
attended as observers representing l'Association Internationale des
Parlementaires de Langue française.
A notable event of the Conference was the
admission to the C.P.A. of Zimbabwe which was represented by the Clerk of the
House of Assembly, Mervyn Van Ryneveld who attended in an observer capacity.
Zimbabwe's application was enthusiastically endorsed and the new Branch was
warmly welcomed following Zimbabwe's years of isolation from the Commonwealth
On the 20th September the delegates were
addressed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Shridath Ramphal. On Monday,
22 September the delegates and those accompanying them set off on tours which
covered the Copper Belt, a game reserve and the Victoria Falls. The Conference
was opened in Lusaka on 27 September by President Kaunda at the Mulungushl
Hall. The plenary sessions were ably chaired by the President of the
Association, Mr. Speaker Nabulyato of Zambia and the Vice-President, Mr.
Speaker Qionibaravi of Fiji. A number of panel sessions also took place in
which debate was more informal.
The agenda of the Conference included a
number of items of international concern, such as current threats to
international peace and security, the significance and implications of the
Brandt Report, international collaboration in combating drug addiction and
trafficking. and the law of the sea. Some of the other matters discussed bore
more directly on the affairs of Parliament such as the Role of Parliament in
relation to public enterprises, Parliament and the Scrutiny of Public Finance,
and the Functions and Responsibilities of the MP.
Twenty-eight Canadians were present at the
Conference as delegates, secretaries and observers, several of whom were
accompanied by their spouses. The Federal Delegation consisted of Keith Penner,
the Leader of the Delegation, Senator Sidney Buckwold, Senator Duff Roblin, and
MPs Lloyd Crouse, Rosaire Gendron, Steve Paproski and Mark Rose. The Provincial
and Territorial delegates were: Henry Baker (Saskatchewan), Bennett Campbell
(Prince Edward Island), William Campbell (Nova Scotia), Jacques Couture
(Quebec), Donald Craik (Manitoba), Walter Davidson (British Columbia), Norman
Doyle (Newfoundland), Bud Gregory (Ontario), Robert McCready (New Brunswick),
Mrs. Lynda Sorensen (Northwest Territories), and Gordon Stromberg (Alberta).
Dr. Maurice Foster and Gerald Ottenheimer of Newfoundland attended as the
Canadian Regional representatives on the Executive. Senator Allister Grosart
and Maurice Dupras received special invitations as former members of the Executive.
Mrs. Lillian May, Gordon Barnhart, Ian Izard, David Petersen, Joe Maingot and
Philip Laundy were the officials attached to the Canadian contingent. The five
last named all attended the one-day meeting of the Society of
Clerks-at-the-Table which was chaired by the Clerk of the National Assembly of
Zambia, Mr. Mwelwa Chibesakunda.
Vanuatu, New Republic and New Member of
The newest member of the Commonwealth and a
country that Canadian parliamentarians may one day have an opportunity, to visit
is the group of islands in the South West area of the Pacific known as the New
Hebrides. This condominium administered jointly by, Britain and France since
1906, became independent on 30th of July. under the new name of VANUATU. It is
the forty-fourth member of the Commonwealth. Some 70 islands make up the
archipelago. The population of 120,000 is mostly of Melanesian origin, and the
capital of Vanuatu is Port Vila on Efate Island. Copra and fish are the main
exports but cattle farming is being expanded. The Parliament is unicameral and
the Cabinet is led by 38-year old Prime Minister Father Walter Lini, an
Anglican priest. He has been in the Assembly since 1975 and Chief Minister
since 1979. The Head of State of Vanuatu is President Ati George Sokomanu.
Annual Meeting of the Canadian
Association of Clerks-at-the-Table
From September 21 to 24 the Association of
Clerks-at-the-Table held its annual meeting in Prince Edward Island. Delegates
were treated to the traditional island hospitality which this time seemed in
inverse proportion to the nasty weather which lasted throughout the conference.
The agenda contained several subjects, all
of which gave rise to lively discussion. Among the topics were: The Senate – A
Vital but Unknown Element of Parliament, The Alberta Heritage Savings Fund Act
and the Standing Committee pertaining thereto; the Symbols of Sovereignty in
Legislative Assemblies, unparliamentary language: Wiretapping as a Breach of
Privilege; New Developments in the Administrative Reorganization of the
Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly; and The Motion of Censure against
the Speaker in Saskatchewan.
In addition to representatives from
Parliament, the Territories, and most provincial legislatures several special
guests were invited and took part in the proceedings including former Clerks
from the British and Canadian Houses of Commons, Sir Richard Barlas and
Allistair Fraser, Patrick Flahaven, Secretary of the Minnesota Senate and
Vice-President of the National Conference of State Legislatures was also in
The meeting ended with the election of a new
executive consisting of Pierre Duchesne, Deputy Secretary-General of the Quebec
National Assembly, who was elected President for a second term; Gwenn Ronyk, Clerk
Assistant in Saskatchewan, who was elected Vice-President, also for a second
term and Elizabeth Duff, Clerk of the Newfoundland House of Assembly who was
Sixth Conference of Commonwealth Speakers
& Presiding Officers – April 1981
Next year, from April 23 to April 25, the
Canadian Parliament will be host to the Sixth Conference of Commonwealth
Speakers and Presiding Officers. Although this Conference is a fairly, recent
innovation – the first conference took place in 1971 in New Delhi it will not
be the first time Canada receives the Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding
Officers. In 1969, an organizing conference took place in Ottawa on the
initiative of the then Speaker of the House of Commons, Hon. Lucien Lamoureux,
which set the rules for future such meetings. These high officials of
Parliaments of the Commonwealth meet biennially to discuss various matters of
purely parliamentary interest with a particular accent on the speakership and
other related aspects of parliamentary responsibilities. Next year's agenda
mill include such topics as the Speaker's control of debate and question
period, the security within Parliament, procedural innovations, facilities for
Members, the sud judice rule, the parliamentary committees and their relations
with the public and witnesses, and the Speaker and party politics.
It is expected that some 120 participants
will attend this important parliamentary event, including the Speakers and
Clerks of the Canadian Provincial Legislatures and the Clerks of the various
Commonwealth Parliaments who have been invited to attend as observers. The
Official Opening will take place in the morning of Thursday, April 23, and as
is customary all the parliamentary participants will attend dressed in their
ceremonial robes. The agenda items will be discussed over five half-day,
sessions, the last one being held on Saturday, afternoon, April 25. The two
following days will be spent in Toronto and Niagara Falls.
Quebec-Saskatchewan Visit To Newfoundland
During the week of August 17-24 the
Newfoundland Branch of the Common wealth Parliamentary Association hosted a
joint parliamentary delegation from Saskatchewan and Quebec. The Quebec
delegation was headed by Adrien Ouellette MNA and included MNA's Mme Thérèse
Lavoie-Roux, John O'Gallagher, Yvon Brochu and Paul Trotier. Speaker John
Brockelbank led the Saskatchewan delegation which consisted of MLAs Gerald
Muirhead, John Skoberg, Graham Taylor, Fred Thompson, John Kowalchuk and Mr.
The parliamentarians began their tour of the
Province in Corner Brook, where they spent two days. They then continued on to
Grand Falls, Gander and St. John's. During tile week they had the opportunity
to meet with several of their Newfoundland counterparts and were able to
experience many facets of Newfoundland life. In August 1981 the Newfoundland
Branch will host the CPA Regional Conference.
New Speaker in the Northwest Territories
On October 22. the legislature of the
Northwest Territories elected Hon. Donald Morton Stewart as its new Speaker.
Born in 1923, Speaker Stewart worked for various airlines in the radio
operations field and has been a district supervisor for the Department of'
Fisheries for a number of years. He became Mayor of Hay River in 1964and served
in this capacity, to the present, except between 1967 and 1970. Speaker Stewart
is in the building supplies business and a director of the Northern Canada
Power Commission and the Freshwater Fish Marketing Board. A member of the
legislature since 1967, except for the period from 1970 to 1975, he was Deputy,
Speaker between 1975 and 1979. Mr. Speaker Stewart replaces former Speaker
Robert MacQuarrie who resigned last summer, indicating he wished to participate
actively in debates of the legislature.
New Speaker in Nova Scotia
The Premier of Nova Scotia announced, on
July 4, the appointment of Mr. Speaker Ronald Russell, as Minister for
Consumers' Affairs. The administrative duties of the Speakership are presently
being carried out by Deputy Speaker Arthur Richard Donahoe, who is also the
Speaker designate. The formal election of a new Speaker will take place when
the Nova Scotia Legislature reconvenes.