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Prorogation of the 2nd Session of the 28th Legislature
In a departure from the practice of proroguing on the day prior to the commencement of a new session, the 2nd Session of the 28th Legislature was prorogued on September 18, 2014, and a Proclamation was issued for the commencement of a new session on November 17, 2014. Prorogation in Alberta has not lasted for more than one day since March of 1984.
On September 6, 2014, the Progressive Conservative (PC) Association of Alberta held its leadership vote. Although technical glitches and access challenges with the online voting system used by the PC Party were reported, the majority victory for Jim Prentice (former Member of Parliament for Calgary North Centre), with over 75 per cent of the vote, went unchallenged by the other leadership contenders, Ric McIver (Calgary-Hays) and Thomas Lukaszuk (Edmonton-Castle Downs). Although not elected to the Legislative Assembly at the time, as the leader of the governing party in the province, Mr. Prentice was sworn in as Alberta’s 16th Premier on September 15, 2014.
On October 18, 2014, the Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) leadership race saw over 3,500 votes cast to select the 8th leader of the party. Having received approximately 70 per cent of the votes cast, Rachel Notley (Edmonton-Strathcona) won a majority over competitors David Eggen (Edmonton-Calder) and Rod Loyola. Ms. Notley’s father, Grant Notley, was a former MLA and also the leader of the Alberta NDP from 1968 until his death in a plane crash in 1984.
Changes to Cabinet
On September 15, 2014, Premier Prentice announced his Cabinet. In addition to reducing the size of Cabinet, the Premier appointed unelected individuals to lead two government ministries. Stephen Mandel (former Mayor of Edmonton) became the Minister of Health and Gordon Dirks (former MLA for Regina Rosemont, Saskatchewan, and former Chair of the Calgary Board of Education) was appointed the Minister of Education.
In addition to being President of Executive Council, Premier Prentice holds both the Aboriginal Relations and the International and Intergovernmental Relations portfolios. Robin Campbell(West Yellowhead), previously the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, was appointed the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board. Diana McQueen (Drayton Valley-Devon) moved from Energy to Municipal Affairs, while Frank Oberle (Peace River) went from Aboriginal Relations to Energy, and Manmeet Bhullar (Calgary-Greenway) moved from Human Services to Infrastructure. Other ministers changing portfolios include Heather Klimchuk (Edmonton-Glenora), going from Culture to Human Services and Jeff Johnson (Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater) leaving Education to take on the Seniors’ portfolio. Kyle Fawcett (Calgary-Klein) changed ministries to Environment and Sustainable Resource Development leaving a vacancy in the Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour portfolio, to which the Premier appointed fellow leadership contestant Ric McIver.
Ministers maintaining their previous portfolios include Verlyn Olson (Wetaskiwin-Camrose) with Agriculture and Rural Development, Jonathan Denis (Calgary-Acadia) as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, and Wayne Drysdale (Grande Prairie-Wapiti) with Transportation. Private Members Maureen Kubinec(Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock) and Stephen Khan (St. Albert) were appointed to Cabinet, in the Culture and Tourism and the Service Alberta portfolios, respectively. Don Scott (Fort McMurray-Conklin), a former Associate Minister, will now lead the Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education. Three associate ministers are also included in the new Cabinet, with Teresa Woo-Paw (Calgary-Northern Hills) responsible for Asia Pacific Relations, Naresh Bhardwaj (Edmonton-Ellerslie) continuing in his role for Persons with Disabilities, and David Dorward (Edmonton-Gold Bar) assigned to Aboriginal Relations.
October 2014 By-Elections
Vacancies were created in the Assembly resulting from the resignation of four Members, including two former Premiers. On August 6, 2014, Alison Redford announced her immediate resignation as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, leaving a vacancy in the constituency of Calgary-Elbow. Then on September 12, 2014, outgoing Premier Dave Hancock (Edmonton-Whitemud) announced he would be retiring as Premier and as an MLA. His resignation became effective September 25, 2014. The next day another member of the government caucus, Ken Hughes (Calgary-West), resigned from the Legislative Assembly. Three days later, Independent Member Len Webber (Calgary-Foothills), formerly a member of the government caucus, resigned. Mr. Webber will be running in the next national election representing the federal Conservative party in the Calgary-Confederation constituency.
Four by-elections were held in Alberta on October 27, 2014, three of which were contested by the unelected members of Cabinet. With a voter turnout of approximately 40 per cent, the governing PCs won in all four electoral districts. Premier Prentice won with a majority in Calgary-Foothills, Mr. Mandel won Edmonton-Whitemud by a large margin of approximately 40 per cent of the vote, while Mr. Dirks (Calgary-Elbow) and Calgary police officer Mike Ellis (Calgary-West) each won their respective constituencies by smaller margins of fewer than 800 and 400 votes respectively.
After citing concerns about the party’s leadership and resigning from both Cabinet and the PC caucus in March, Donna Kennedy-Glans (Calgary-Varsity) rejoined the PC caucus on September 17, 2014.
Investigation into Government Use of Aircraft and Government Offices
On August 7, 2014, the Auditor General of Alberta released the results of his investigation into the Government’s use of aircraft including the Government’s fleet of airplanes. The investigation was initiated in March of 2014 at the request of then-Premier Redford.
The Auditor General’s report indicated the former Premier had derived a personal benefit on several occasions by bringing her daughter with her on government aircraft flights and that instances had been found in which false passengers were booked on government flights to ensure the Premier and her entourage would travel alone. The report also identified times in which former Premier Redford used government aircraft for partisan or personal travel. Ultimately the report concluded that in 2012 the government fleet travel cost $3.9 million more than what the travel would have cost if driving and comparable commercial air travel alternatives had been used.
In addition to evaluating the use of government aircraft, the Auditor General’s report also confirmed information on plans to construct a personal apartment for the Premier and her daughter. Often referred to as the “Sky Palace”, the suite was to be built on the Legislature grounds in the building that is currently undergoing renovations to supply offices and other facilities to MLAs, their support staff as well as some government staff.
On August 5, 2014, the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship released its report on Bill 201, Agricultural Pests (Fusarium Head Blight) Amendment Act, 2014, which was filed with the Assembly as an intersessional deposit. The report recommends against the Bill receiving second reading but also suggests that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development consider a review of the Agricultural Pests Act as it pertains to Fusarium graminearum (FHB). Due to prorogation, the Bill has been removed from the Order Paper.
The Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future continued working on its review of Bill 9, Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2014, and Bill 10, Employment Pension (Private Sector) Plans Amendment Act, 2014. In addition to the stakeholder presentations and public meetings held in the spring, the Committee also received over 450 written submissions from members of the public, unions, and other organizations. Following prorogation, work on the review ceased on September 18. The government has announced it will not reintroduce either of the Bills in the next session.
During the spring sitting the Assembly passed the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Amendment Act, 2014, which repealed the publication ban regarding the identity of children who die while receiving provincial intervention services and requires that any related regulations being made under the Act be considered by an all-party committee of the Legislative Assembly. Following a request from the Minister of Human Services, the Standing Committee on Families and Communities met on July 16, 2014 and initiated a review of a draft Publication Ban (Court Applications and Orders) Regulation. Over the summer the Committee received 12 written submissions from identified stakeholders. On September 11, 2014, the Committee received a technical briefing from the Ministry and then passed a motion expressing its approval of the draft regulation. It is anticipated that the Committee will table its report upon the commencement of the Third Session of the 28th Legislature.
The Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act authorizes the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund to meet during a period of prorogation. It is the only legislative committee in Alberta that is able to do so. The Committee hosted its annual public meeting on October 9, 2014. In order to encourage a younger demographic to participate, the meeting was held on the University of Alberta campus with an afternoon start time. In addition, the meeting featured a special presentation on sovereign wealth funds from Randall Morck, a professor with the School of Business at the University of Alberta. Interested members of the public were encouraged to submit their comments and questions about the Fund to the Committee in person, by phone, or online via email or Twitter. A live broadcast of the meeting was also available online and on television, with the television broadcast being repeated later the same evening. It is estimated that the two televised broadcasts attracted over 1,000 viewers in Edmonton and Calgary.
Fall sitting 2014
The 1st session of the 62nd General Assembly prorogued on September 25, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. The 2nd Session commenced at 2:00 p.m. the same day with the reading of the Speech from the Throne by the Lieutenant-Governor.
Bill # 1 was introduced on Monday September 29. The bill provides for the continuation of Halifax’s IWK Health Centre as a separate entity and the collapsing of all other existing health authorities into one provincial health authority. The contentious portions of the bill that caused much debate in the House of Assembly were labour provisions regarding employees affected by the merger.
Second reading debate commenced at 7:00 a.m. on September 30, and the second reading vote took place at approximately 5:20 p.m. that evening. The Bill was then referred to the Law Amendments Committee for public representations. The sitting on October 1 took place from 8 p.m. to midnight. As a result, the late sitting time allowed the Chair of the Law Amendments Committee to report Bill # 1 back to the House as all public presentations were then concluded. The business of the House concluded at 11:39 p.m. that day and, following a 22-minute recess, the House reconvened at 12:01 a.m. October 2. Following Question Period the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole on Bills at 1:11am to consider Bill # 1. The bill was reported back to the House at 3:07 a.m. and the House rose shortly thereafter. On October 3, a resolution was presented to direct Bill # 1 back to the Committee of the Whole on Bills for a 30-minute time limit to permit the making of certain amendments. Upon the Bill being reported back to the House from the Committee of the Whole on Bills, unanimous consent was obtained to proceed with third reading of the bill. Third reading of the bill passed at approximately 1:20 p.m.
Security was greatly increased at the House of Assembly during the debate on this bill as protesters were ever-present. Video of protesters blocking the Premier’s vehicle as he attempted to leave the premises made the national news.
On September 26, the Government House Leader tabled a resolution amending the Rules of the House of Assembly. The Opposition parties did not consent to the amendments and after moving the resolution for debate October 10 lengthy debate commenced. The House sat from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on October 14 and from 12:00 p.m. to 6:44 p.m. on October 15 at which time the Resolution as amended was passed and the Government House Leader advised the House the effective date of the changes would be October 27.
The major changes to the Rules are:
- The House no longer sits on Mondays. The new sitting hours are 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Fridays.
- Question Period takes place on each sitting day and lasts 50 minutes. Question Period is fixed to commence one hour after the start of the Daily Routine. The first question put by each leader of a recognized party will have two supplemental questions – only one supplemental will be permitted for all other questions.
- Adjournment debate take place on Wednesday weekly rather than three days per week.
- Notices of Motion which are read in the House have been reduced to a total of four per day.
- Statements by Members have been added to the Daily Routine. Each Member may make two one-minute statements.
To date 64 Bills have been introduced in the House – 24 Government, 37 Private Member’s and 3 Private and Local. Bill # 1 received Royal Assent.
The Nova Scotia Table was delighted to host the Association of Clerks at-the-Table’s Professional Development Seminar in Halifax from July 28 to August 1, 2014. Fifty-four delegates, 29 accompanying persons and 15 youth attended for a total participation of 98 persons. Thirteen of the 14 Canadian jurisdictions participated in the seminar and all 13 either chaired or were presenters at the business sessions. The delegates participated in eight informative interactive business sessions and time was set aside in the program for an open session for updates and comments by our guest associations/parliaments and our honourary members.The delegates from the House of Lords and the House of Commons in the United Kingdom presented the seventh business session.
From October 16 to 18, 2014, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly hosted the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s 36th Canadian Regional Seminar. Thirty-nine delegates and nine accompanying persons attended. The delegates participated in five business sessions that led to many questions and interesting exchanges.
Annette M. Boucher
Speech from the Throne
On October 6, 2014, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon prorogued the second session of the 40th Parliament. That afternoon, she opened the third session with the Speech from the Throne.
The Throne Speech outlined government’s approach for development of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry. The Speech noted that, as a means of securing the Province’s economic growth, a legislative framework for LNG would be introduced to provide certainty for businesses and fairness for British Columbians in terms of revenue collection. The nascent LNG industry was compared to earlier development of the forestry sector. The government’s approach for LNG is designed to benefit BC’s economy and people, while ensuring the protection of the environment.
In their response to the Throne Speech, official opposition members noted the government’s plan for LNG development reflected a change to the extent of expected LNG development from commitments made in previous Throne Speeches. Opposition members also stated that earlier Throne Speeches had forecast significantly higher levels of debt reduction and job creation as well as the establishment of a Prosperity Fund. Opposition members expressed concern about the need for additional measures to strengthen job creation.
In the fall sitting, the following noteworthy bills had been introduced at the time of writing:
- Bill 2, Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, would repeal and replace the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act with a regulatory scheme to limit greenhouse gas emissions by industrial operations.
- Bill 5, Container Trucking Act, would authorize the appointment of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner and the commissioner’s powers, duties and functions – the commissioner would assume responsibility for all truck licensing to provide stability to Port Metro Vancouver following a series of labour disruptions, including a strike earlier this year.
- Bill 6, Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act, proposes a taxation framework beginning on or after January 1, 2017 on income derived from liquefaction activities carried out at an LNG facility.
This reporting period saw a record number of British Columbia parliamentary committees undertaking public consultations:
- The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services concluded its annual pre-budget consultations on October 17, 2014. The Committee received 1,821 submissions, in the form of online survey responses, written and video submissions, and presentations at 20 public hearings. The Committee is required to release its report by November 15, 2014.
- The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth received 160 submissions and heard from youth and advocates as part of its special project examining youth mental health in BC. The Committee also continued with its responsibilities for reviewing the reports of the Representative for Children and Youth.
- The Special Committee to Review the Personal Information Protection Act completed the consultation stage of its statutory review of the Act on October 31, 2014.
- The Select Standing Committee on Health continued its consultation on health care sustainability, which includes an online process for receiving written submissions from stakeholders and interested British Columbians. The Committee extended the deadline for receiving written submissions to December 31, 2014.
- The Special Committee to Review the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) continued its review of the IIO’s administration and general operations, with a series of meetings with stakeholders as well as an online process for written submissions which continued until October 29, 2014.
- The Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts met for two days in September and October to consider seven reports from the Office of the Auditor General.
On October 9, 2014, the Legislative Assembly established a Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits. The Committee launched the first phase of its mandate, which requires a report to the Assembly by November 27, 2014 on principles for the relationship between elector organizations and their endorsed candidates with respect to expense limits, and principles for establishing limits for third party advertisers. In 2015, the Committee will begin the second phase of its mandate, on expense limit amounts for candidates for mayor and council, electoral area director, school trustee, special purpose local governments, and third party advertisers, with a report to the Assembly due by June 12, 2015. Local elections on November 15, 2014 will be held under existing statutory provisions, including new local elections legislation adopted in May 2014, which reformed campaign disclosure statements, advertising sponsorship disclosure and registration, and the compliance and enforcement duties of Elections BC. The Committee’s recommendations will inform the development of amendments to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act that would implement expense limits for local elections in 2018.
On October 9, 2014, the House adopted on division a sessional order to amend Standing Orders 25 and 47(a) to reschedule Oral Question Period and daily Members’ Statements to mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each sitting week. Oral Question Period and Members’ Statements will remain scheduled in the afternoon on Mondays and Wednesdays. A similar sessional order was adopted for the first time on February 13, 2014, in the previous session.
Apology to Tsilhqot’in Nation for Historical Wrongs
On October 23, 2014, Premier Christy Clark made a ministerial statement regarding reconciliation with Tsilhqot’in Nation, expressing government’s apology for the “wrongful arrest, trial and hanging” of six First Nations chiefs. The chiefs had been engaged in a territorial dispute to defend their lands and their peoples 150 years ago. Official Opposition leader John Horgan supported the apology, and expressed hope that it would lead to “a genuine start to reconciliation with the Tsilhqot’in people.”
Manitoba Standing Committees held several intersessional meetings during this period.
- The Standing Committee on Public Accounts met on three separate occasions to consider several chapters of the last two Auditor General Reports – Annual Reports to the Legislature, and the last three years of the Public Accounts.
- The Standing Committee on Crown Corporations met four times to consider annual reports from Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance, The Workers Compensation Board, and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation.
- The Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development met to hear public presentations and conduct clause-by-clause consideration of three Bills that the House had not completed last spring. The following Bills will accordingly be reported to the House in the upcoming fourth session for the remaining stages of the bill enactment process:
- Bill 69 – The Technical Safety Act
- Bill 70 – The Real Estate Services Act
- Bill 71 – The Animal Diseases Amendment Act
Members Not Seeking Re-election
Several long-serving members of the Manitoba Assembly have recently announced that they will not run again in the next election. Leanne Rowat, MLA for Riding Mountain, will not stand for re-election after over a decade of service. Mrs. Rowat served as critic in a number of areas, most recently Children and Youth Opportunities. During her time as an MLA, Mrs. Rowat introduced several Private Members Bills, including three pieces of legislation which received royal assent: The Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Act, The Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month Act, and The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day Act.
This past June, Stu Briese, MLA for Agassiz, also announced that he will not run in the next election. First elected to the House in 2007, Mr. Briese previously worked in municipal politics, including time as a member of the board and President of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities and the Association of Manitoban Municipalities.
Another longtime MLA not seeking re-election is Bonnie Mitchelson, who has been a Member of the Legislature for almost three decades, having been first elected in 1986. Mrs. Mitchelson represented the urban riding of River East for her entire tenure as an MLA. She served for several years as a minister in the Gary Filmon Progressive Conservative (PC) government with responsibilities for such portfolios as: Culture, Heritage and Recreation, Status of Women, the Manitoba Lotteries Foundation, and Family Services (serving six years as Minister). Following the PC Party defeat in 1999 she was chosen as interim leader in May 2000, holding that position until a new leader was acclaimed later that year. When she steps down prior to the next election, Mrs. Mitchelson will be the longest serving female MLA in the history of the province.
Clerk Assistant/Clerk of Committees
Newfoundland and Labrador
On September 5, 2014, Minister of Finance Charlene Johnson resigned from the House of Assembly. Minister of Tourism, Recreation and Culture Terry French resigned on September 19. The by-election for the District of Conception Bay South vacated by Mr. French has been called for November 5.
Speaker Appointed to Cabinet
Ross Wiseman who had been Speaker of the House since 2011 resigned on September 5 when he was appointed Minister of Finance. Deputy Speaker Wade Verge is acting as Speaker until the House reconvenes when the election of a Speaker will be the first order of business.
On August 26, Scott Reid was elected in the by-election in St. George’s – Stephenville East. The seat was vacated by former Minister of Environment and Conservation Joan Shea.
At the PC convention held on September 13, Paul Davis was elected leader of the party and was sworn in as Premier on September 26, succeeding Tom Marshall. The other two candidates were Steve Kent, now Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Community Services and John Ottenheimer, a former MHA from 1996 to 2007.
The new cabinet was sworn in on September 30. The announcement of the new cabinet was accompanied by a restructuring of government departments and a change in the ministerial assignments of nine ministers. In addition, Keith Russell, MHA for the District of Lake Melville, was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs and Judy Manning, who is not a member of the House of Assembly, became the Minister of Justice and Public Safety and the Attorney General. Minister Manning has indicated that she plans to run in the next provincial general election in the District of Placentia and St. Mary’s.
The House of Assembly, which does not have a parliamentary calendar, typically re-convenes in mid-November.
The spring 2014 sitting of the 2nd Session of the 4th Legislative Assembly convened on May 22, 2014. The proceedings of the Committee of the Whole during the spring 2014 sitting of the House were dominated by the consideration of the Government of Nunavut’s proposed 2014-2015 main estimates and departmental business plans.
On June 2, 2014, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion to recommend the appointment of Sherry McNeil-Mulak as Nunavut’s first Representative for Children and Youth under the Representative for Children and Youth Act.
On June 9, 2014, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion to establish a Special Committee to Review the Education Act. The members of the Special Committee are George Hickes, MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, Paul Quassa, MLA for Aggu and Minister of Education, Pat Angnakak, MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu, Simeon Mikkungwak, MLA for Baker Lake and Joe Savikataaq, MLA for Arviat South. Mr. Hickes serves as the Chairperson of the Special Committee. The Special Committee is expected to report its findings and recommendations to the House during its fall 2015 sitting.
The fall 2014 sitting of the 2nd Session of the 4th Legislative Assembly convened on October 21, 2014 and concluded on November 6, 2014. The proceedings of the Committee of the Whole during its fall 2014 sitting of the House were dominated by the consideration of the Government of Nunavut’s proposed 2015-2016 capital estimates.
On October 24, 2014, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion to expel the Member for Uqqummiut, Samuel Nuqingaq, from the Legislative Assembly and to declare the Member’s seat vacant. The motion, which was moved by Paul Okalik, MLA for Iqaluit-Sinaa and seconded by Mr. Savikataaq, noted Mr. Nuqingaq’s unacceptable conduct, including persistent absences from sittings of the House and meetings of its committees and caucuses without reasonable explanation. The motion was carried unanimously. A by-election will be held on February 19, 2015.
On October 27, 2014, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion to extend the period of time for the Standing Committee on Legislation to report Bill 1, the proposed Northern Employee Benefits Services Pension Act, back to the House, by an additional 120 days. The bill sets out the proposed legislative framework for the continuation of the Northern Employee Benefits Services plan as a multi-employer, multi-jurisdictional pension plan for employees of approved public sector employers in northern Canada. A piece of mirror legislation was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories on February 26, 2014. The motion was moved by Mr. Savikataaq, the Committee Chair. A similar motion was adopted by the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories at its sitting of October 30, 2014.
The Standing Committee on Oversight of Government Operations and Public Accounts, which is chaired by Mr. Hickes, held hearings from September 16-23, 2014, on a number of matters.
From September 16-17, 2014, officials from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Family Services appeared before the Standing Committee on the occasion of its consideration of the Auditor General’s 2014 Follow-up Report on Child and Family Services in Nunavut.
On September 18, 2014, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Nunavut, Elaine Keenan Bengts, appeared before the Standing Committee on the occasion of its consideration of her 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 annual reports to the Legislative Assembly. Officials from the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs subsequently appeared before the Standing Committee on September 19, 2014.
On September 22, 2014, the Languages Commissioner of Nunavut, Sandra Inutiq, appeared before the Standing Committee on the occasion of its consideration of her 2012-2013 annual report to the Legislative Assembly.
On September 23, 2014, the President of the Qulliq Energy Corporation appeared before the Standing Committee on the occasion of its consideration of the corporation’s 2012-2013 annual report and 2014-2018 corporate plan.
The Standing Committee’s hearings were televised live across Nunavut on local community cable stations and direct-to-home satellite service.
Reports from the Standing Committee’s hearings were presented to the House during the week of October 27-31, 2014.
Order of Nunavut
The 2014 investiture ceremony for the Order of Nunavut was held in the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly on October 28, 2014. The ceremony was presided over by Speaker George Qulaut in his capacity as Chair of the Order of Nunavut Advisory Council and Commissioner Edna Elias in her capacity as Chancellor of the Order of Nunavut.
The objective of the Order is to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, social or economic well-being of Nunavut. The Order is the highest honour of Nunavut and takes precedence over all other orders, decorations or medals conferred by the Government of Nunavut.
In September, the Order of Nunavut Advisory Council announced that John Amagoalik was the 2014 recipient of the Order of Nunavut. Mr. Amagoalik’s leadership career began in the 1970s, at the beginning of the movement to establish Nunavut. Mr. Amagoalik has served as the President of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, Co-Chair of the Inuit Committee on National Issues, Chair of the Nunavut Constitutional Forum and Chief Commissioner of the Nunavut Implementation Commission. Mr. Amagoalik has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
The Nunavut Legislative Report that was published in the summer 2014 edition of Canadian Parliamentary Review indicated that a territory-wide plebiscite concerning the alienation of municipal lands, pursuant to Article 14.8.4 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, will be held in 2015. The submission to the Review should have noted that the vote will take place in 2016.
Office of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut
Prince Edward Island
Fifth Session of the Sixty-fourth General Assembly
The Fifth Session of the Sixty-fourth General Assembly opens on November 12, 2014, with the Speech from the Throne delivered by Lieutenant Governor H. Frank Lewis. It has been more than three decades since a General Assembly on Prince Edward Island went into a Fifth Session. The Fifth Session of the Fifty-third General Assembly opened on March 1, 1978.
The Fourth Session of the Sixty-fourth General Assembly will be prorogued on November 8, 2014.
Legislative Assembly to Move in Early 2015
In mid-October it was announced that the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island will be vacating Province House, its home since 1847, in early 2015 in advance of extensive conservation work on the building. The work to conserve Province House is anticipated to last three to five years.
The Legislative Chamber will be relocated to the Hon. George Coles Building, adjacent to Province House on Richmond Street in Charlottetown. The administrative, security and press offices will also be located in the Coles Building. The Office of the Speaker and the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly will be moved to a building which is situated immediately east of the Hon. George Coles Building. Legislative standing committees will meet in a satellite location, the J. Angus MacLean Building, which currently houses the Hansard offices. All three buildings are within a city block of one another, in the heart of historic Charlottetown.
“On behalf of the Standing Committee on Legislative Management, we are very pleased that Parks Canada is undertaking this conservation to historic Province House, and following the fall sitting of the legislature, we look forward to our interim home in the Coles Building,” said Speaker Carolyn Bertram.
Clerk assistant and Clerk of Committees
The Fourth session of the Twenty-seventh Legislature began with the Speech from the Throne by Lieutenant Governor, Vaughn Solomon Schofield on October 22, 2014. The Throne Speech, entitled Keeping Saskatchewan Strong, focused on the economy and announced tax incentives for the creation of new manufacturing jobs as well as additional Adult Basic Education and apprentice training seats. Other highlights included the development of a Poverty Reduction Strategy and planned upgrades to internet access at the regional colleges. The Opposition argued that the Throne Speech did not address issues in health care, seniors care, cost of living and education.
Resignation of Member
Tim McMillan, the Member from Lloydminster and Minister responsible for Rural and Remote Health, tendered his resignation on September 18, 2014, effective September 30, 2014. He immediately resigned from cabinet which led Premier Brad Wall to appoint Greg Ottenbreit as the new Minister on September 24, 2014.
With Mr. Ottenbreit’s appointment to cabinet, other Members found themselves in new roles. Herb Cox became the new Government Whip. Fred Bradshaw became the new Chair of the Standing Committee on Crown and Central Agencies and Delbert Kirsch became the new Deputy Chair of Committees.
It was announced on October 16, 2014 that a by-election for the constituency of Lloydminster would be held on November 13, 2014.
The Executive Government Administration Act
On May 14, 2014, Bill No. 129 - The Executive Government Administration Act and Bill No. 130 - The Executive Government Administration Consequential Amendments Act, 2013 / Projet de loi no 130 – Loi de 2013 portant modifications corrélatives à la loi intitulée The Executive Government Administration Act were given Royal Assent in the Assembly.
On August 15, 2014, Bill No. 130, which separated the Executive Council and Legislative Assembly, was proclaimed and made law. The Executive Council provisions are now included in The Executive Government Administration Act. The Legislative Assembly had a separate act from 1906 to 1979, when it was combined with Executive Council.
The Legislative Assembly is loaning its fabled “Confederation Table” to the Canadian Museum of History for an upcoming exhibit entitled “1867.” According to oral history, the Fathers of Confederation are said to have sat around this table during the national Conference of 1864. Records have not been found to prove or disprove the story. The certainty is that it was used by the Privy Council in Ottawa in 1865.
Lieutenant Governor Dewdney arranged for the table to be brought to Regina in the period 1883-92. By 1908, it had become the Legislative Assembly’s House table. It was shortened by 6 feet in order to fit the limited quarters of the Assembly prior to establishment of the Legislative Building.
In 1914, the Assembly de-commissioned the table and placed it in the Legislative Library.
The dome at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building is undergoing significant renovations. Substantial damage has occurred due to excess moisture. The cost of the project is estimated to be $15 million plus additional costs for masonry and coppersmith work. The renovations are expected to be completed by December 2015.
- Some notable facts about the renovation include:
- Replacement Tyndall Stone is quarried in Garson, Manitoba by Gillis Quarries Ltd.
- The vinyl weather resistant cloth covering the dome is designed to keep the work area above 9°C so the mortar will cure properly and the work can continue through winter.
- The crane height required clearance from Regina Airport Authority, NAV Canada and Transport Canada to be installed.
- New copper will be installed at the top of the dome and may take 1-3 years to oxiodize and change colour from bronze to green to black.
The 2014 Fall Sitting of the 1st Session of the 33rd Yukon Legislative Assembly convened on Thursday, October 23rd, and is expected to rise on Thursday, December 18th.
The tragic events in Ottawa having only occurred the preceding day, MLAs’ first day back in the Chamber featured heightened security measures. Following the prayer, Speaker David Laxton, a 22-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, called for a moment of silence in memory of and respect for Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Premier Darrell Pasloski, Official Opposition Leader Liz Hanson, and Third Party Leader Sandy Silver offered tributes in remembrance of the soldiers and the attack on Parliament Hill.
Also on opening day, the Speaker delivered a statement regarding the refurbishment of the Legislative Assembly’s Mace, which had travelled to Toronto for re-plating during the summer recess. While there, the Mace’s more than 50 pieces had been cleaned, re-plated, and reassembled by Corona Jewellery Company, the same company that had refurbished the Ontario Legislative Assembly’s Mace in 2009. The Speaker noted that hand-polishing alone of Yukon’s (now gleaming) Mace took over 24 hours. Inspector Rick Boon of the Ontario legislative security service escorted the Mace safely back to Whitehorse.
Hydraulic Fracturing Committee
On October 8, the very active Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing (RBHF) issued a news release and a progress report. The news release stated that the Committee had completed its public hearings and was preparing its final report (which must be presented during the 2014 Fall Sitting). It also noted that the Committee had heard from “over 240 individuals at 13 public hearings held in 12 Yukon communities … [and] received 434 written submissions before the September 30, 2014 deadline for comments from the public.” The public hearings took place this year in June, July, and September.
Information about the committee and its work can be found at: http://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/rbhf.html
The Northwest Territories
The Fifth Session of the 17th Legislative Assembly reconvened on October 16, 2014 and was scheduled to sit until November 6, 2014. During this sitting, the House considered the 2015-2016 Capital Estimates, two supplementary appropriation bills dealing with both infrastructure and operations expenditures, as well as legislation including the Human Tissue Donation Act, and amendments to the Education Act, the Public Service Act and the Pharmacy Act.
From September 8-26, 2014, the Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly reviewed departmental business plans for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure, the Standing Committee on Government Operations, and the Standing Committee on Social Programs met with the ministers and senior officials from all government departments as part of the review process.
On October 16, 2014, the Government of the Northwest Territories tabled its response to the Standing Committee on Government Operations Report on the Review of the 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada on Northwest Territories Child and Family Services along with Building Stronger Families: An Action Plan to Transform Child and Family Services. These documents address the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Government Operations with respect to changes necessary in child and family services and describe how these changes will be accomplished.
Following the release of its June, 2014 report titled Establishing an Office of the Ombudsman for the Northwest Territories, the Standing Committee on Government Operations invited André Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario, to visit Yellowknife. During his visit Mr. Marin met with Committee Members and participated in a Town Hall meeting with the general public on the role and potential contributions of an Ombudsman.
The Standing Committee on Government Operations continues to consider Bill 12: Northern Employee Benefits Services Pension Plan Act. The act sets out the legislative framework for the continuation of the Northern Employee Benefits Services (NEBS) Pension Plan to continue as a multi-employer, multi-jurisdictional public sector pension plan for employees of approved public sector employers in both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Bill 1, which is before the Nunavut Standing Committee on Legislation, largely mirrors Bill 12.
On October 30, 2014, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion to extend the review period for Bill 12 for a further 120 days. During the same week the Nunavut Legislative Assembly also adopted a motion to extend the period of time for their Committee to report Bill 1 by a further 120 days.
Following the Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures’ Report on the Review of the Auxiliary Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on Issues Arising from the 2011 General Election, which was presented to the House in June, an Act to Amend the Elections and Plebiscites Act, No. 2 was introduced in the Assembly. The Bill amended the Elections and Plebiscites Act to: replace the provisions for advance polls with a new special voting opportunity; modernize requirements relating to campaigning, including requirements with respect to campaign advertising and sponsor identification; require candidates to file statements from banks or approved institutions in support of their financial reports; increase the number of electors for whom another elector may vouch and prohibit candidates from vouching; prohibit candidates from accepting more than $1,500 in anonymous contributions; permit candidates to pay for petty expenses incurred in a campaign period; enhance the investigation and enforcement powers of the Chief Electoral Officer; and modernize the drafting of the offence provisions.
The Caucus of the 17th Legislative Assembly has clarified its position on the timing of the next territorial general election. Bill 34: 2015 Polling Day Act establishes April 1, 2015 as the “trigger date” with regards to the timing of the next Northwest Territories general election. If, by April 1, 2015, the date of the federal election continues to overlap with the campaign period for the territorial election, the date of the territorial election will be postponed to November 23, 2015. However, if an announcement is made to change the timing of the federal election prior to April 1, 2015, the territorial election will proceed as planned on October 5, 2015. The bill will be contingent upon the passage of amendments to the Northwest Territories Act by the Parliament of Canada.
Members of the 17th Assembly gathered for a Caucus retreat at the K’atl’odeeche First Nation Wilderness Lodge from August 19-21, 2014. The retreat included a review of the proposed revisions of the Rules of the Legislative Assembly, discussions on consensus protocols, a tour of the new Hay River Regional Health Centre as well as a community feast at the K’atl’odeeche First Nation’s Chief Lamalice Complex.
New Chief Electoral Officer
On October 24, 2014 Nicole Latour was appointed as the Chief Electoral Officer for the Northwest Territories, pursuant to Section 5 of the Elections and Plebiscites Act. Ms. Latour’s four-year term took effect on November 1, 2014.
As Chief Electoral Officer, Ms. Latour will be responsible for the conduct of territorial elections and plebiscites. In addition, the Chief Electoral Officer will establish policies and procedures, manage the Register of Territorial Electors, supply training and guidance to electoral officers, and provide advice and recommendations to the Legislative Assembly regarding election legislation and policy.
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
In August the Legislative Assembly welcomed the return of its Clerk, Tim Mercer. Mr. Mercer and his family spent the previous year traveling the country and the world, from Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador and from New Zealand to Germany.
November 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly building. On September 19, 2014 the Legislative Assembly concluded its 20th anniversary celebrations with the burial of a time capsule, which is scheduled to be unearthed during the building’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The time capsule contains items such as letters, photos, artwork, and books submitted by all Members of the 17th Assembly, Legislative Assembly staff and northern students.
Principal Clerk, Committees and Public Affairs
House of Commons
The Second Session of the 41st Parliament continued as the House reconvened on September 15, 2014, having adjourned for the summer on June 20, 2014. The information below covers the period from August 1 to October 31, 2014.
On October 10, 2014, the Government tabled a Notice of a Ways and Means motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures (Ways and Means No. 14). The details of the proposed taxation measures had been mistakenly posted on the website of the Department of Finance prior to the tabling.
Procedure, Points of Order and Questions of Privilege
On September 19, 2014, Yvon Godin(Acadie—Bathurst) moved for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act to amend the Navigable Waters Protection Act (Nepisiguit River). Pursuant to Standing Order 68(2), the motion was deemed adopted, but the Bill was not read the first time, ordered to be printed and ordered for a second reading at the next sitting of the House since Mr. Godin immediately moved to proceed to the next rubric in Routine Proceedings, First Reading of Senate Public Bills. As the motion was agreed to, the Bill remains on the Order Paper awaiting first reading.
During Oral Questions on September 23, 2014, Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition), not satisfied with the answers from Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs) questioned the neutrality of the Speaker. The following day, the Speaker made a statement on the subject of the role of the Speaker during Question Period, emphasizing the long-standing tradition that the Speaker has no authority over the content of the answers to questions; he added that the rules governing repetition and relevance do not apply to Question Period. He reminded Members that reflections on the character or actions of the Speaker could be taken by the House as breaches of privilege.
Points of Order
Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca) rose on a point of order, urging the Speaker to select for debate his report stage amendment for Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act on the ground that it was of exceptional significance. Although his amendment had been defeated in committee, he asserted that the Bill, as adopted by the Committee, would effectively override part of Bill C-279, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity), which had been passed by a majority of Members from all parties in the House of Commons, and that his amendment would allow Members to express themselves on the issue. In response, the Speaker stated that Mr. Garrison’s belief that the outcome of consideration of the motion by the House might be different from that in committee was not sufficient ground for the Chair to determine that exceptional circumstances existed that would warrant the selection of this particular amendment.
Questions of Privilege
On September 15, 2014, Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) rose on a question of privilege to object to the use of time allocation by the Government to curtail debate on various legislative initiatives of the Crown. She drew attention to the negative effect that the curtailment of debate has on the ability of all Members, and Independent Members in particular, to contribute to legislative debates, and asked the Speaker to protect the rights and privileges of all Members to speak to motions.
On September 25, 2014, Mr. Godin rose on a question of privilege with respect to his having been denied access to the House of Commons by an RCMP officer earlier that day due to a visit by a foreign dignitary. Other Members agreed that the principle of access to the precinct was an important one. Later in the day, the Speaker ruled that the denial of access by Members to the precinct is a serious matter, and, accordingly, there was, in this instance, a prima facie case of privilege; whereupon, Mr. Godin, moved a motion to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. After debate, the motion was agreed to.
The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs met on October 2, 9, 21, and 30, 2014, to consider the prima facie case of privilege referred to it by the House in connection with the denial of access to the parliamentary precinct on the part of Mr. Godin. At the third of these meetings, the Sergeant-at-Arms and his deputy, as well as senior officers of the R.C.M.P. and the Ottawa Police Service, were present to discuss the incident which gave rise to the question of privilege. At the time of writing, the Committee had not yet reported back to the House.
On September 30, 2014, Joe Preston (Elgin—Middlesex—London) presented to the House the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House. He has sought and been denied unanimous consent for concurrence in the report on several occasions.
At the conclusion of Oral Questions on September 30, 2014, Brad Trost (Saskatoon—Humboldt) directed a question to Mr. Preston in his capacity as Chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The question concerned the reasons for the opposition of NDP Members to the Committee’s latest report. The Speaker ruled the question out of order as it did not fall within the acceptable parameters for questions to Committee Chairs. Subsequently, during Oral Questions on October 30, 2014, Mr. Preston replied to a question from Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North) regarding the Committee’s upcoming agenda and its 18th report.
On September 15, 2014, the Speaker asked Members to join him in welcoming Acting Clerk Marc Bosc and in sending best wishes to Audrey O’Brien (Clerk of the House), who had recently undergone emergency surgery, for a speedy recovery.
On October 22, 2014, the House did not sit because of the attacks that day at the National War Memorial and in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings. On October 23, 2014, exceptionally, the doors of the House of Commons were open to the public prior to the reading of the Prayers, and these proceedings were televised. During Routine Proceedings, the leaders of the three recognized parties made statements reflecting on the events of October 22, 2014 and expressing thanks to the police and security personnel involved in protecting the Members and staff of the House. By unanimous consent the House also heard statements on the subject by representatives of the Bloc Québecois, the Green Party and Forces et Démocratie, as well as by Independent Member Maria Mourani (Ahuntsic). A moment of silence was observed in memory of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. The Speaker also made a statement to the House with regard to steps being taken to ensure the security of Members and House staff.
On October 23, 2014, a motion was adopted further deferring all votes that had been scheduled for the previous day and deeming the House to have sat on that day for the purposes of Standing Order 28 which regulates the calendar of the House of Commons.
On September 15, 2014, the Speaker informed the House that the Clerk had received from the Chief Electoral Officer certificates of election for four new Members: John Barlow (Macleod); Arnold Chan(Scarborough—Agincourt); Adam Vaughan (Trinity—Spadina); and David Yurdiga (Fort McMurray—Athabasca).
Effective September 17, 2014, Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead) resigned as a Member of Parliament. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South) was appointed as a member of the Board of Internal Economy as a replacement for Mr. Merrifield effective September 26, 2014.
Effective October 21, 2014, Jean-François Larose (Repentigny) withdrew from the New Democratic Party caucus, and, with Jean-François Fortin (Haute-Gaspésie--La Mitis--Matane--Matapédia), an Independent Member, announced their intention to sit as Members of a new political party, “Forces et Démocratie”.
Statements, Resolutions, Special Debates
On September 15 and 16, 2014, the House held emergency debates on the Ebola outbreak and on the situation in Iraq, respectively.
At 2:00 p.m. on September 17, 2014, His Excellency Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, addressed both Houses of Parliament jointly assembled in the Chamber of the House of Commons. On October 3, 2014, during Statements by Ministers, Stephen Harper (Prime Minister), followed by Mr. Mulcair and Justin Trudeau (Leader of the Liberal Party) made statements on the Canadian military mission in Iraq. By unanimous consent, Ms. May also made a statement. Following this, on October 6, 2014, the House of Commons debated a government motion regarding a Canadian military mission in Iraq. The motion was adopted on October 7, 2014.
On October 21, 2014, the House adopted a motion conferring honourary Canadian Citizenship on Malala Yousafzai in recognition of her advocacy of fundamental human rights and access to education, in particular for girls and women.
Table Research Branch
Standing Committee on Estimates
Before the House adjourned on July 24, 2014, it authorized the Standing Committee on Estimates to hold six meetings during the summer adjournment in order to consider the 2014-2015 printed Estimates. The Order of the House delegated the selection of the estimates of the ministries and offices for the Committee’s consideration to the House Leaders of the recognized parties, a selection process that would normally be done by Committee Members once the estimates had been tabled and referred to the Committee.
The procedures for the review of the estimates in Ontario are defined in the Standing Orders. The estimates are considered in the order selected. The selection process occurs in two rounds with the Official Opposition members choosing first followed by the Third Party members and the Government members on the Committee. In authorizing the additional meetings, the House also altered the order of consideration of the selections submitted by the House Leaders so that the Committee would review all the selections made by the Official Opposition before the ones chosen by the Third Party and the Government.
The Committee met for the first time since the spring election on September 30, 2014. An organization meeting was necessary to elect a Chair and a Vice-chair and to appoint a Sub-committee on committee business. Prior to reviewing the estimates of the first selected ministry and at the request of the three House Leaders, by unanimous consent the Committee switched the order of consideration of two ministries in order to accommodate the respective ministers’ schedules. The Committee was scheduled to hold approximately 45 hours of review of the selected estimates before it reported back to the House by the fourth Thursday in November. The authorization from the House extended the timeline to report back the estimates by one week, as the Committee is required by standing order to report back to the House by the third Thursday in November.
The House reconvened on October 20, 2014. During that week, the remaining standing committees met for the first time since the spring election, for the purpose of electing Chairs and Vice-chairs and to appoint a Sub-committee on committee business.
New Lieutenant Governor
The Province of Ontario bid farewell to its 28th Lieutenant Governor, David C. Onley, on September 22, 2014. The installation ceremony of Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario’s 29th Lieutenant Governor, took place on September 23, 2014 in the Legislative Chamber. Chief Justice of Ontario George R. Strathy administered the Oath of Allegiance and the Oaths of Office.
The National Assembly held an extraordinary sitting on July 3, 2014 to complete the consideration and adoption of the estimates of expenditure for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. This sitting, held outside of the parliamentary calendar, was a follow-up to the standing committees’ examination of the 2014-2015 estimates of expenditure that was exceptionally carried out after the Assembly had adjourned for the summer recess on June 13, 2014.
The National Assembly resumed its proceedings on September 16, 2014. Bills introduced in September include: Bill 10, An Act to modify the organization and governance of the health and social services network, in particular by abolishing the regional agencies, which modifies the organization and governance of the health and social services network through the regional integration of health services and social services, the creation of institutions with a broader mission, and the implementation of a two-tier management structure; and Bill 11, An Act respecting the Société du Plan Nord, which establishes the Société du Plan Nord (the Company), whose mission is to contribute to the integrated and coherent development of the area covered by the Northern Plan, in keeping with the principle of sustainable development and in accordance with the policy directions defined by the Government in relation to the Northern Plan.
Composition and parliamentary offices
Two Members handed in their resignation in recent months: Christian Dubé, Coalition Avenir Québec Member for the electoral division of Lévis, on August 15, 2014; and Élaine Zakaïb, Parti Québécois Member for the electoral division of Richelieu, on September 29, 2014.
The composition of the Assembly is now as follows: Québec Liberal Party, 70 Members; Parti Québécois, 29 Members; Coalition Avenir Québec, 21 Members; 3 independent Members, all of whom sit under the banner of Québec Solidaire; and two vacant seats.
Rulings and directives from the Chair
On September 23, 2014, the Chair gave the following ruling on a point of order raised by the Government House Leader concerning the receivability of a motion without notice moved by the Member for La Peltrie, who had quoted from a letter containing arguments and unparliamentary language.
“When there is consent to move a motion without notice, the Chair generally does not rule, on its own initiative, on the motion’s receivability. It therefore happens that motions which do not entirely comply with the Standing Orders are put to the Assembly. However, once the question of receivability has been raised, the chair is bound to make a ruling, taking into account the rules of parliamentary law. Before the Chair can put the question of a motion without notice before the Assembly, the motion must first be ruled receivable. Standing Order 191 states that motions should not recite the grounds on which they are moved or the arguments in behalf of their object. In the case at hand, the motion, as drafted, contains elements that fall within the category of “grounds or arguments”, because they set out the reasons that differentiate two situations and the arguments supporting that contention. Such elements should not be included in the text of a motion. Instead, they should be put forth during the motion’s debate phase, minding the terms used are in keeping with parliamentary language. One cannot introduce elements, by quoting a letter, which would otherwise be prohibited in our debates. For these reasons, the motion by the Member for La Peltrie is non-receivable and, as such, cannot be the object of consent to debate it.”
In August 2014, the National Assembly launched its new youth website, Par ici la démocratie. This modern, user-friendly pedagogical tool is a reliable reference for historic information and citizenship education. This new online site reflects the National Assembly’s desire to reach out to young people in their schools to educate them on the role of parliamentarians and democracy in society.
On September 18, 2014, the President of the National Assembly, Jacques Chagnon, unveiled a plaque honouring the memory of the three victims who died during the shooting that took place at the National Assembly on May 8, 1984. The Leader of the Second Opposition Group, François Legault, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Stéphane Bédard, and Premier Philippe Couillard, also took the floor during this commemorative ceremony.
Following a brief summer break that began on July 3, after the examination of the estimates of expenditure, the standing committees resumed their activities in August. The Committee on Citizen Relations (CCR) set the current period of work in motion on August 19 by hearing four groups during special consultations and public hearings held on Bill 2, An Act to amend the Educational Childcare Act.
The next day, on August 20, the Committee on Planning and the Public Domain (CPP) held special consultations and public hearings on Bill 3, An Act to foster the financial health and sustainability of municipal defined benefit pension plans. This bill, which affects 170 plans, proposes the equal sharing of costs and the sharing of future deficiencies between the active members and the municipal body. It further proposes to limit the employer’s contribution to 18 per cent of the overall payroll and to prohibit automatic indexation. In all, the CPP heard 28 groups over a five-day period.
On September 9, the Committee on Labour and the Economy (CLE) exchanged views with six groups during special consultations and public hearings on Bill 8, An Act to amend the Labour Code with respect to certain employees of farming businesses. This bill defines the rights of association in farming businesses that employ fewer than three employees.
The Committee on Institutions (CI) carried out two orders of accountability in compliance with the Standing Orders. First, in accordance with the power it has under Standing Order 294.1 to hear persons appointed by the National Assembly, the Committee held a public hearing on the Public Protector. The Public Protector, Raymonde Saint-Germain, presented a status report, underlined the challenges faced by the organization and answered members’ questions. Following this hearing, the Committee adopted an order of initiative for the purpose of hearing Hydro-Québec on the possibility of its becoming subject to the Public Protector’s power of intervention. The Committee will hear the Government corporation in October 2014. Second, in pursuance of Standing Orders 293.1 and 294, the CI examined the policy directions, activities and administrative management of the Coroner.
Finally, the Committee on Public Finance (CPF) held an election to fill the vacant position of vice-chair following the resignation of Mr. Dubé, Member for Lévis, on August 15, 2014. The Member for Beauce-Nord, André Spénard, was elected to this office. It should be noted that in accordance with the amendments made to the Standing Orders for the duration of the 41st Legislature, the CPF has two vice-chairs.
Cédric Drouin and Sylvia Ford
Parliamentary Proceedings Directorate
It was a rewarding summer for the Legislative Assembly. Members and staff were pleased to welcome delegates from across Canada and a number of internationally-distinguished guests as hosts of the 52nd Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The conference, which took place in Fredericton from July 20-26, invited over 80 delegates and their families to enjoy the province and participate in discussions touching all Canadian legislatures. Business sessions included such topics as pension plan reform, the importance of debating social issues in parliament, the role of the Senate and possible reform, the recent flooding in the prairie provinces, the role of a backbench member, the Speaker in schools program, democratic engagement of people with disabilities, and emergency service measures in the Yukon. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians also held business sessions including family violence research and the rise of women’s issues as normative discourse in legislatures.
Prior to the dissolution of the Legislature in August, the Legislative Assembly reconvened for a one-day sitting on July 29. Justice Minister Troy Lifford introduced Bill 92, An Act to Amend the Pension Benefits Act. The legislation enabled retirees under the Fraser Papers’ pension plan to benefit from increased pension payouts and to have their plan converted to a shared risk pension model. The 57th Legislative Assembly subsequently dissolved on August 22. At dissolution, the standings in the House were: 41 Progressive Conservatives; 13 Liberals, and one Independent.
New Brunswickers elected a new government on September 22. The results of the provincial election gave the Liberals a majority government with 27 seats, while the Progressive Conservatives won 21. The Green Party won their first seat in New Brunswick’s history by electing their leader, David Coon. In total, 21 new members were elected.
On October 7, Brian Gallant, the Liberal Member for Shediac Bay-Dieppe, and the province’s 33rd Premier, was sworn into Office along with 12 Ministers in a ceremony held in the Assembly Chamber. The Executive Councillor’s Oath was administered by Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas.
Premier Gallant was elected Leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party on October 27, 2012, and first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a by-election held on April 15, 2013, to represent the riding of Kent.
Premier Gallant’s Cabinet consists of the following Members: Stephen Horsman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Public Safety, Solicitor General, Minister of Justice; Denis Landry, Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Human Resources; Donald Arseneault, Minister of Energy and Mines; Rick Doucet, Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries; Victor Boudreau, Minister of Health; Ed Doherty, Minister of Government Services; Brian Kenny, Minister of Environment and Local Government; Bill Fraser, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture; Roger Melanson, Minister of Finance, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure; Francine Landry, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; Cathy Rogers, Minister of Social Development, Minister of Healthy and Inclusive Communities; Serge Rousselle, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Attorney General.
Premier Gallant announced the appointment of Hédard Albert as Government House Leader and Government Whip; Bill Fraser as Deputy Government House Leader; Daniel Guitard as Deputy Government Whip; and Monique LeBlanc as Government Caucus Chair. Premier Gallant also nominated Lisa Harris and Bernard LeBlanc as Deputy Speakers. Their nominations must be formally ratified by the House.
The former Premier, David Alward, stepped down as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on September 23. Alward was first elected in the 1999 provincial election, and was re-elected in 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2014. He was elected Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2008, and became the 32nd Premier of New Brunswick in 2010.
Bruce Fitch was named Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on October 18, and will take on the position of Leader of the Official Opposition. Mr. Fitch, a former Cabinet Minister in the Lord and Alward governments, was first elected to the New Brunswick legislature in the 2003 provincial election, and was re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
The Official Opposition announced the appointment of Madeleine Dubé as Opposition House Leader; Carl Urquhart as Opposition Whip; and Pam Lynch as Opposition Caucus Chair.
On October 14, newly elected Liberal MLA Gary Keating resigned from his position. Mr. Keating was elected in Saint John East by a margin of less than 10 votes. A by-election is scheduled for November 17.
On October 23, a ceremony was held in the Legislative Assembly Chamber for the installation of the new Lieutenant-Governor, Jocelyne Roy Vienneau. Her Honour served as the vice-president of the Université de Moncton’s Shippagan campus, the CEO of the Bathurst campus of the New Brunswick Community College system and the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Education. She was appointed as the 31st Lieutenant-Governor and replaces Mr. Nicholas, who served as Lieutenant-Governor since 2009.
On the morning of October 24, Members of the 58th Legislative Assembly took their Oath of Allegiance and signed the Members’ Roll during a ceremony in the Chamber, presided over by the new Lieutenant-Governor.
On the afternoon of October 24, the House convened for the election of Speaker. Liberal MLA Chris Collins was elected on the first ballot. Speaker Collins was first elected as the Member for Moncton East in a by-election held on March 5, 2007, after serving on Moncton City Council. He served as Government Whip and was named Minister of Local Government in January of 2010. Re-elected in September of 2010, he served as Education critic for the Official Opposition and has also acted as critic for Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; Environment; Energy; and Justice.
The First Session of the 58th Legislative Assembly is expected to open with the Speech from the Throne on December 3.
Committee Clerk, Research Assistant