First Canadian Regional Conference
was the site of the 2002 Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association. It brought together some 90 legislators and
observers from every federal, provincial and territorial assembly. The
Conference was opened by the Lieutenant-Governor, Marilyn Trenholme
host of the Conference was Speaker Bev Harrison of New Brunswick.
Other speakers in attendance included Lloyd Snow (Newfoundland and
Labrador), Murray Scott (NS), Mildrid Dover (PEI), Gary Carr
(ON), Myron Kowalski (SK), Ken Kowalsky (AB), Kevin O’Brien (NT),
Dennis Schneider (YK) and Tony Whitford (NWT).
guests included Derek Conway, MP and John Robertson MP from the
House of Commons in the United Kingdom and Andrew Imlach, Director of
Information Services with the CPA Secretariat in London.
business agenda featured nine topics. Suzanne Tremblay, MP led off a
lively discussion of the relationship between the executive and the legislative
process by which party leaders are chosen was the subject of another session.
The lead speaker was Harry Van Mulligan of Saskatchewan.
session on Members’ Remuneration offered those in attendance an opportunity to
reflect upon changes made recently in the approach to members’ salaries and
pensions. Ted Arnott of Ontario and Ray Danyluk of Alberta
were the lead speakers on this issue.
prospects for electoral reform were examined in another session which featured
James Bagnall of Prince Edward Island and Jeannie Lea a former MLA
and presently on the Board of the Institute of Island Studies in Prince Edward
policy matters were also considered by the delegates. Russell Williams
of Quebec led a discussion of the Role of Government in the Control and
Marketing of Gambling. Another Quebec MNA, David Payne, presented a
paper on Interprovincial Trade. Sarmite Bulte, MP and Mel Knight
(AB) looked at the issue of Canadian-American relations since September 11. Jim
DeWolfe of Nova Scotia spoke on Nova Scotia’s smoke free legislation.
from the business sessions there were numerous opportunities to sample New
Brunswick hospitality including a dinner hosted by the Lieutenant Governor, a
visit to Kings Landing Historical Settlement, and a tour of La Dune de
Bouctouche. For many the highlight of the week was the visit to the Pays de
la Sagouine where delegates were treated to an afternoon of Acadian
theatre, music, and guided tours. This included a performance by Senator Viola
Léger who in her career as an actress has been bringing La Sagouine to
life for 30 years.
renowned novelist and playwright Antonine Maillet, creator of La
Sagouine, joined the delegates for a traditional lobster supper following