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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Report of CPA Task Force

In 1982 the Canadian Regional Council of CPA agreed to set up a task force under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the Quebec Assembly, Claude Vaillancourt, to have a fresh look at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and to see whether it was fulfilling its mandate so far as the Canadian Region was concerned. The task force included Speakers Arthur Donahoe of Nova Scotia, Harvey Schroeder of British Columbia and John Turner of Ontario, along with Keith Penner, chairman of the federal branch . Subsequently, both Mr. Vaillancourt and Mr. Schroeder resigned as Speakers and were replaced by their successors in the speakership, Richard Guay of Quebec and Walter Davidson of British Columbia. Mr. Speaker Donahoe presented the report of the task force to the meeting of the Canadian Regional Council on June 4, 1983. Among other things, the report dealt with: organizational structure, a regional secretarial, the expenses for former members of the international CPA executive, a Canadian regional speakers' conference, and professional and technical assistance for the Association.

It recommended that in future the chairman of the Canadian Region be the chairman of the branch hosting the upcoming Regional Conference. Other members of the executive would include the outgoing chairman, two vice-chairmen representing the branches next in line for future Regional conferences as well as two Regional representatives and the secretary-treasurer. This reorganization would bring the executive structure of the Canadian Region into line with that of the international CPA.

The Parliamentary Relations Secretatiat at present provides services both for the Region and for the federal branch. The task force realized that a separate secretariat would give greater autonomy to the Region and be in keeping with the genera trend of the proposals. It concluded, however, that the work of the Association does not yet require a full time staff and that a part time secretariat might compromise continuity.

It felt, therefore, that it is premature to establish a permanent regional secretariat, mainly because of the practical and financial difficulties this would entail. The facilities of the Parliamentary Relations Secretarial have always been extended as needed and will continue to be at the disposal of the Canadian Region.

As far as additional professional and technical assistance to CIPA is concerned, the task force recommended that the Canadian Region continue to use whatever sources the members find most appropriate and not link itself to a particular organization on a long-term basis or by a blanket subscription. "The Region and/or each branch should contract with the many excellent groups from time to time as need or interest arises."

The task force had also been asked to consider whether the Region should assume any expenses in assisting former members of the CPA international executive to attend CPA conferences. It concluded that in the present economic climate, with the number of persons in this category increasing, there was no justification for providing funding for this purpose from the regional budget. The task force noted, nonetheless, that each branch is autonomous and thus entirely free to pay observers' expenses from its own funds.

The task force recommended that a meeting be held each year of federal, provincial and territorial Speakers to discuss matters of their particular interest. It should be held in addition to the annual meeting of the Canadian Regional Council and might be extended to include Deputy Speakers and perhaps clerks as well.

New Chairman of the Federal Branch

The annual meeting of the Canadian branch of CPA was held on June 14,1983. One of the items on the agenda was the election of a new chairman to replace Keith Penner who had held the position for three years and was now a member of the CPA international executive. There were three candidates for the position. The winner was Louis Desmarais.

Mr. Desmarais was first elected to the House of Commons in 1979. He has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and to the Minister of State for Physical Fitness and Amateur sport. A chartered accountant, Mr. Desmarais has been on the board of a number of large corporations, including Canada Steamship Lines.

Fifth Atlantic Parliamentary Conference

In 1978, the first Atlantic Parliamentary Conference was held in St. John's, Newfoundland on the invitation of the then Speaker, Gerald Ottenheimer. Since then. conferences have been held in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The fifth Atlantic Parliamentary Conference was convened once again in St. John's. Speaker James Russell hosted a highly successful conference which brought together delegates from all four Atlantic Provinces as well as CPA Regional representatives Keith Penner and Speaker Gerard Amerongen from Alberta.

Mr. Penner made a presentation on the recent changes in the rules of the House of Commons in Ottawa, and Speaker Amerongen spoke about the Albertan legislative intern program. Other topics on the agenda included, the need for research assistants for parliamentarians and the Speaker's control over question period.

Twenty-Third Regional Conference

The twenty-third conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in Winnipeg from August 712, 1983. The Senate, the House of Commons and every provincial and territorial legislature sent at least one representative to the conference. There were also two observers from the British House of Commons, and one each from the legislatures of the Cayman Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. The conference was opened by the Lieutenant Governor, Pearl McGonigal. Premier Howard Pawley welcomed delegates on behalf of the Manitoba Government.

For the first time in many years, a regional conference was held while the host legislature was still in session. This made for an extremely hectic week for Manitoba Speaker James Walding, Binx Remnant, Clerk of the House, Gordon Mackintosh, Deputy Clerk and all members of the organizing committee. However, everyone who attended will long remember the hospitality and friendship offered by them and by all Manitobans. In difficult circumstances they succeeded in making this one of the most successful regional conferences.

The conference began with a rousing Oxford Union type debate, chaired by Newfoundland Speaker James Russell, on the resolution that "politician is a dirty word". Supporting the resolution was Winnipeg journalist and broadcaster, Peter Warren. His opponent was Speaker Arthur Donahoe of Nova Scotia. Following their opening statements and rebutt s twelve other delegates (dubbed the "dirty dozen" by Speaker Russell) participated in the debate.

Prince Edward Island Speaker Marion Reid presided over a lively debate on the resolution 1hat Canada is being needlessly balkanized by the increasing scope and complexity of provincial residency requirements". Supporting the resolution were Bev J. Harrison (New Brunswick) and Jack Ellis (Federal Branch), Opposing it were Huguette Lachappelle (Quebec) and Bill Sweinson (Saskatchewan). The resolution went to the crux of what it means to be "a Canadian" and generated some strong feelings among both debaters and delegates.

The debate format was also used for two other motions one of which was a resolution that "conflict of interest law is an unnecessary infringement of members' privacy". Janet Koper (Alberta) defended the motion, while Conrad Santos (Ontario) spoke against it. The final resolution was on a motion that "government spending should be increased to provide an economic stimulus". Elie Martel (Ontario) defended the motion while Tom Rideout (Newfoundland) opposed it.

The debate format proved quite popular and stimulated general discussion. No divisions were taken: and on a few occasions debaters intervened after their presentation to make it clear that they had agreed to support a position that did not necessarily coincide with their own personal views.

Apart from the business sessions, delegates had numerous opportunities to learn about the history and culture of Manitoba. One afternoon was spent visiting the Mennonite Village Museum at Steinbach and the Suncrest Hutterite Colony near Kleefield. Another was spent on board the "Paddlewheel Princess" which travelled along the Red River to old Fort Garry. In the evenings there were opportunities to visit some of the forty different ethnic pavillions which constitute the "Folklorama" festival. A pit barbecue at picturesque Kelburn Farm owned by the James Richardson Company was also one of the highlights.

New Lieutenant Governors

In June Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau announced the appointment of two new Lieutenant Governors, Robert Gordon Rogers for British Columbia and Frederick William Johnson for Saskatchewan.

Mr. Rogers was born in Montreal on August 19, 1919. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College in Kingston and of the University of Toronto. He served in the Canadian Armoured Corps in Canada and Europe during World War II and took part in the D-Day Invasion of France.

A civil engineer, Mr. Rogers has been Chairman of the Board of the Canada Harbour Place Corporation since June 1982. An executive in the forest industry in British Columbia since 1960, he was Chairman of the Board and chief executive officer of Crown Zellerbach Canada Limited from 1975 to 1982. He is a member of the board of a number of senior Canadian corporations and active in business organizations related to the forest industry and the Pacific Basin, including the Export Trade Development Corporation. A past vice-chairman of the Pacific Basin Economic Council, Pearson College of the Pacific and United World Colleges and past chairman of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, he is the national vice-president of tile Boy Scouts of Canada.

The 24th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia was sworn in by the Chief Justice of British Columbia, Allan McEachern, in a ceremony at Government House on July 15, 1983. He replaces Henry BellIrving, who is retiring.

In Saskatchewan the ceremony installing Mr. Johnson as Saskatchewan's 16th Lieutenant Governor took place on July 6 in the Legislative Chamber.

Mr. Johnson was born February 17, 1917 in Staffordshire, England and moved to Canada with his family in 1928.

After teaching school in Saskatchewan from 1936 to 1941, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces serving in Europe. Once discharged, he studied law and was called to the Bar in 1950. In 1965, Mr. Johnson was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Saskatchewan. He has been Chief Justice of that Court since July 1977.

Mr. Johnson was chairman of the Saskatchewan Royal Commission on Government Administration in 1964. He was the first chairman of the committee responsible for the building of the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts. He has been a member of the Council of the Canadian Bar Association since 1965 and of the Canadian Judicial Council since 1980.

Mr. Johnson replaces C. Irwin McIntosh as the Crown's representative in Saskatchewan.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 6 no 3

Last Updated: 2018-07-31