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CPA Activities: The Canadian SceneCPA Activities: The Canadian Scene


New Speakers Elected

Manitoba: Honourable Harry Edward Graham, MLA Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. (Elected Speaker at a special session of the Legislative Assembly on November 24, 1977)

Member for Birtle-Russell. Born 1921 at Foxwarren, Man. S. of George Malcolm Graham and Margaret Leckie, both Scottish. Ed. at Foxwarren Consolidated School 525 and Univ. of Man. Married 1951 to Velma Louise Murdoch of Binscarth, Man. Five children. A farmer. Past Pres. Marquette P.C. Assn. ViceChairman Russell Dist. Hospital. Mem. P.D.D.G.M. Binscarth Lodge 101 A.F. & A.M. and Toastmasters International . First elected to Man. Legis. at by-election, 1969; Re-elected g.e. 1969, 1973 and 1977. Party pol.: R.C. Rel: United Church. Address: Binscarth. Man. ROJ OGO

British Columbia: Honorable Harvey Wilfred Schroeder MLA Speaker of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly (Elected Speaker on March 30, 1978)

Member for Chilliwack. Social Credit Party. Former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. First elected to Legislature 1972. Born 1933 . Married, three children. Graduated in Theology in Saskatchewan, 1958. Cost accounting with Canada Packers; Retail merchandising; established Palm Interiors of Chilliwack, 1954; Television and Stage production; public relations. Interests/ Recreations: Sports, cultural arts and antique automobiles.

Honorary Life Memberships

At a general assembly of the Canadian Branch of CPA, April 11, four very long-standing members of its Executive received an Honorary Life Membership to acknowledge their valued services to CPA and to Parliament. Three of them are retiring this year: from the Senate, Hon. Alan A. Macnaughton; and from the House of Commons, Messrs. T.C. Douglas and Heath Macquarrie. The other Honorary Life Member was Senator, the Hon. Allister Grosart.

Senator The Honourable Alan A. Macnaughton, PC, QC Member of the CPA since 1949. Speaker of the House of Commons (1963-65). During his term in office, gave tremendous support to Parliamentary Associations; responsible for the setting up of Parliament's Parliamentary Relations Secretariat.

Mr. T.C. Douglas, M.P. Member of the CPA Branch since 1935. Premier of Saskatchewan (1944-61). Federal Leader of the NDP, (1962-71) Active member of Canadian Parliamentary Caribbean Committee.

Mr. Douglas was unable to attend the Assembly due to illness and the award was presented in his name to Mr. Stanley Knowles by Dr. Maurice Foster, Chairman, CPA Branch.

Mr. Heath Macquarrie, M.P.

Active member of the Branch since 1957 ; chairman of the Branch in the 1960's. Chairman of the Canadian Parliamentary Caribbean Committee since 1970.

Senator The Honourable Allister Grosart Vice-Chairman (1965-70) Chairman (1970-73) Canadian Branch; Canadian Regional Councillor and financial and constitutional adviser, international executive of CPA. Finance chairman, 23rd CPA Conference.

Obituary

The Canadian Regional Council will be missing a familiar face and a good friend who has been active in the Association for the past 8 years. Cecil A. Miller was the dean of the Council and will be remembered by many of his CPA colleagues in Canada who attended the very successful 17th CPA Regional Conference in Charlottetown, in 1976.

Appointments

Ms Elizabeth (Bettie) M. Duff was appointed Clerk of the Newfoundland House of Assembly on October 13, 1977, to replace Mr. Hugh F. Coady.

Native of St. John's, Newfoundland; daughter of William and Mary Duff (dec .) ; graduate of The College of Our Lady of Mercy, St . John' s entered the Public Service in 1950, served in various posts; member of the St. John' s Roman Catholic School Board.

Mr. Hugh F. Coady, BA, LL.B.

Born 1932 at St. John' s, Nfld . Ed . Universities of St. Francis Xavier and Dalhousie (Halifax) Married. A lawyer. Sec. Cdn. Prov. delegations, CPA, Nassau, 1968, St. John's, 1969. Founding member Assoc. of Clerks-at-the Table, 1969. Apptd. Clerk Asst. 1967; Clerk of House of Assembly, 1968-77 .

On April 20, 1978, the Prime Minister's Office announced the appointment of Major-General M. Gaston Cloutier, Cmm, Cd, O.St.J., as Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons to replace retiring Lieutenant-Colonel D.V. Currie.

Born 1935, Drummondville, Que. Ed. Mount Allison Un. (BA), Un. of Ottawa and of Liège. Enlisted in RCAF, 1952. Appointed Chief of Protocol, CAF Europe, Executive Assistant to Commander, Air Div., Europe, 1966. Graduated from Canadian Forces Staff College, Toronto, 1968. Co-ordinator NATO Ministerial Conference, Ottawa, 1970. 1970 to 1978, Executive Assistant to last 5 Ministers of National Defence. Officer of the Order of St. John (1977); Commander, Order of Military Merit (CMM, 1977). Promoted to rank of Major-General, 1975, Married, two children.

Lieutenant -Colonel D V . Currie, VC

Born 1912, Sutherland, Sask. Married, one son. Won the Victoria Cross in 1944 while serving as a major with the 29th Canadian Armoured Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) at St. Lambert sur Dives. His citation said his 11 gallant conduct and contempt for danger set a magnificent example to all ranks under his command". Sergeant-at-Arms, 1960-78.

Brian Land:

The Honorable John E. Stokes Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, has announced the appointment of PROFESSOR R.B. LAND, 50, to the newly created position of Director of the Legislative Library, Research and information services. Professor Land, who will be appointed by Order-in-Council and report to the Speaker, is a former Dean of the Faculty of Library Science at the University of Toronto where he now serves as a Senior professor. Professor Land's appointment reflects the decision of the Legislature to implement a major reorganisation of the Library based on recommendations made by the Ontario Commission on the Legislature including the formation of a Research department and improved reference services to more clearly orient library services to members. Professor Land, who holds graduate degrees from the University of Toronto in Library science, political science and public administration, has held various senior administrative posts at the University, and is a former President of the Canadian Library Association. He is the author of over 40 articles and books. Professor Land will take up his appointment on September 1.

The First Atlantic Parliamentary Conference: St. John's, Newfoundland:

The House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador will be host to the First Atlantic Parliamentary Conference which will take place in St. John' on June 20, 21 and 22, 1978. Each of the four Canadian Atlantic Provincial Legislatures will send five of its elected Members and one Table Officer to attend the conference. The discussions will centre mostly on the development of parliamentary procedure and internal organisational questions in the parliaments of the four Atlantic Provinces .

The Hon. Renaude Lapointe, Speaker of the Senate, has been invited to open the First Atlantic Parliamentary Conference. Sir Robin Vanderfelt, KBE, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, will also attend the conference.

"It seems that the idea of a regional seminar of the Atlantic Provinces first developed at the 1976 Canadian Regional Seminar in Ottawa, mostly from views expressed by a number of Members to the effect that opportunities to meet and discuss matters of parliamentary interest were insufficient and many members could well serve up to three terms without ever having the opportunity to participate in any serious form of parliamentary discussion. Besides, within a geographically large region such as Canada, with a number of branches, the concept of having seminars on a subregional basis should be fully explored."

"After further discussion, the four Atlantic Speakers decided in October 1977, to have a conference with a basic agenda dealing with the Development of Parliamentary government and institutions in the four Atlantic provinces where, in terms of North American experience, it appeared quite early". (Excerpt from a presentation by the Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland at the Canadian Regional Council Meeting, February 1978.)

Quebec City Conference on The British Parliamentary System (Under the auspices of CPA)

A conference based mainly on the evaluation of the British Parliamentary System is being organised by the Quebec Branch of the CPA. It will take place in Quebec City, October 18, 19 and 20 next. It is believed that besides parliamentarians from all Canadian provinces, other participants such as political science experts -and academics in Canada and outside the country, will be invited to take part in the proceedings.

The proposal to hold such a conference was first put forward by the Speaker of the Quebec National Assembly, at the annual meeting of the Canadian Regional Council, last February in Ottawa, and adopted by the council as a whole.

Focus on Alberta

Reprinted from Alberta's Legislative Building, Government of Alberta Publication
The CPA Branch of Alberta will be host, this year, to the Eighteenth Canadian Regional Conference of the CPA, August 13 to 19. Some eighty parliamentarians from the various Canadian Branches of the CPA are expected to attend.

Alberta How it all started

In 1882, the Provisional District of Alberta was created by Order-in-Council of the Northwest Territories . The District obtained provincial status in 1905. The Marquis of Lome was Governor General of Canada at the time the District was formed. His wife, daughter of Queen Victoria, was Princess Louise Caroline Alberta; the Province was named in her honour.

On March 15th, 1906, the first Alberta Legislature was convened in the old Thistle Rink in Edmonton. The new government had the difficult task of selecting a capital city for the province. The debate was heated, with several communities being considered, but eventually Edmonton was chosen by a vote of 16 to 8.

Once Edmonton was selected, the Legislators had little difficulty deciding on the actual site for the new government building. The location on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River combined physical prominence and historical significance. This was the site of Fort Edmonton, a fur trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1830. The building was placed on the spot formerly occupied by the "Big House", the official residence of the Fort's Chief Factor. Some parts of the Fort, including the palisades and bastions, remained below the new Legislative Building until 1915, when they were removed to make room for a bowling green.

Alberta's Legislative Building was designed by A.M. Jeffers, architect. His creation was a building that Albertans have been able to point to with pride. Excavation began in 1907, but work proceeded slowly because of problems with quicksand. Despite the delay, construction was well underway by 1909 and in that year, the cornerstone was laid by Canada's Governor General Earl Grey. The building was officially opened on September 3rd, 1912 by the Duke of Connaught, then Governor General of Canada.

Although the Legislative Building was not complete until 1912, the first session of a Legislature was held in the building in November 1911.

The appearance of the building is enhanced by the impressive grounds surrounding it. There are 32 acres of lawn and flower beds. The Legislative grounds are not only attractive, but are also used by thousands of people every year. Two particular features encourage wide use. The bowling greens, constructed in 1923 and 1932, are available to various lawn bowling clubs. The bandshell is used for public ceremonies and concerts.

The greenhouse, situated immediately south of the Legislative Grounds, is another attraction for visitors. All of the flowers for the grounds, plus those used in Government buildings, are grown there.

The Alberta Flag bears the Arms of Alberta on a royal ultramarine blue background. It became the official flag in 1968, when the Flag Act was proclaimed. The floral emblem of Alberta is the wild rose (Rosa Acicularis) This f lower grows profusely in all parts of the province, and was chosen in the Floral Emblem Act of 1930. The provincial mace is the traditional symbol of the Legislative Assembly's authority. The history and culture of Alberta are reflected in the design of the mace. It features the crown, the wild rose, sheaves of wheat, buffalo heads and armorial arms. Gems (Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, Beryl, Emerald, Ruby, Topaz, and Aquamarine-) surround the crown.

Edmonton Games

The 11th Commonwealth Games will take place in Edmonton, August 3-12. Although five new sports facilities have been built, including the spectacular 42, 500-seat Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton' s claim to the 1978 Games was strengthened by the many facilities it had on hand, including a self-contained village for the athletes in the University of Edmonton's Lister Hall. By May 5, 43 full members of the Commonwealth, dependencies and associated states of member nations had indicated they would be sending athletes to Edmonton.

Canada has been host to the Games twice before: in Hamilton in 1930 and in Vancouver in 1954.

The Agenda for the Eighteenth Regional Conference

Apart from internal regional CPA matters, the question of the "Expanding Role of the CPA" will be discussed as well as questions of general interest. These general matters will center on energy, procedural reform, ministerial accountability & freedom of information, Parliament & the Ombudsman, and financial control

Focus on Jamaica

Information Supplied by the Jamaican High Commission in Ottawa and the Statesman Yearbook, 1977-78

This year, the 24th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference will take place in Jamaica, September 19 to 30. Parliamentarians from some 110 legislative chambers in member nations, their states and provinces, associated states and dependencies will be invited by the Parliament of Jamaica

General Facts on Jamaica

Jamaica is situated in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba. With an area of 4411 square miles, it is the third largest island in the Caribbean. The topography consists of coastal plains divided by the Blue Mountain range in the East with hills and limestone plateau occupying the central and western areas of the interior.

Temperatures vary from about-270C (800F) to 320C (900F) on the coast to as low as 40C (400F) on the highest mountains. The main rainy season occurs between August and November.

Kingston is the largest city and the capital of Jamaica. The population of the amalgamated parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew (the "Corporate area") was estimated at 614,000 in December 1975. Other cities are Montego Bay, the leading tourist resort; and Spanish Town, a former capital of the country.

The total population of Jamaica in December 1976 was 2,085, 200 . The principal ethnic groups inhabiting Jamaica include African, European, East Indian, Chinese, with the majority of African origin.

English is the official language of Jamaica. However, most of the population speak an English-based creole language (Jamaican Creole) or a hybrid of the creole language and English (Jamaican Creole English).

The majority of the population are Christian, but there are also Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Bahai communities. There are numerous Pentecostal, Christian and Christian Brethren minority churches. There are also a significant number of Rastafarians an indigenous sect that asserts the divinity of Haile Selassie I, the late Emperor of Ethiopia.

History in Brief

c.700-1000 AD

Arawak (Taino) Indians from South America arrive and settle in Jamaica.

1494

Christopher Columbus lands at Dry Harbour.

1509

First Spanish settlement established ; Arawaks enslaved by Spaniards.

1517.

African slaves imported for first time, to replace Arawak population decimated by earlier attacks by Carib Indians, now by overwork by Spaniards and introduction of European diseases.

1640

Sugar introduced as a crop .

1665

English forces wrest Jamaica from Spanish; fleeing Spaniards let slaves loose to harry English; freed slaves later to win fame as freedom-fighting Maroons.

1662

Jamaica given constitution based on English model with a Governor, nominated Council and elected House of Assembly; capital sited in Spanish Town.

1670

Treaty of Madrid confirms England's ownership of Jamaica.

1673

First Census - population 17,'f72.

1739

Treaty ends war between Maroons and British; considerable measure of self-government won by Maroons.

1834

Slavery abolished; apprenticeship system introduced; Jamaica Police Force established.

1838

Apprenticeship system ends.

1845

First contingent of indentured labourers arrive from India; Jamaica Railway formed.

1866

Jamaica deprived of self rule; Crown-colony government introduced.

1927

Marcus Garvey (now National Hero) returns to Jamaica from U.S.A. to develop black consciousness.

1938

Emergence of modern trade unionism and political movement; foundation of the People's National Party; emergence of Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley (now National Heroes).

1943

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) founded.

1944

New Constitution; first elections under universal adult suffrage.

1048

University College of the West Indies established .

1952

National Workers Union (NWU) founded; Bauxite,mining begins.

1957

Internal self-government introduced with a Parliament based on Westminster model.

1958

West Indies Federation established with Jamaica a member.

1961

Referendum; Jamaica votes to withdraw from Federation.

1962

Independence (August 6); Jamaica becomes member of United Nations and UN specialised agencies and Commonwealth of Nations.

1969

Jamaica joins Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA); joins Organisation of American States (OAS)

1973

Jamaica signs the Guyana Accord which creates the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).

1975

National Minimum Wage introduced.

1976

Equal pay for men and women introduced; Status of Children Act abolishes status of "illegitimacy"

 

 

Government

On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became an independent, unitary, monarchical state with a structure of government similar to that of other monarchical states of the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister is Michael Norman MANLEY, (son of late Norman W. Manley, Q.C. Prime Minister of Jamaica 1955-62). Born 1923; journalist and Trade Unionist.

All citizens 18 years old and over are entitled to vote. The People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) consistently dominate Jamaican politics at both central and local government levels. At a general election on December 15, 1976, the PNP won 47 seats and the JLP the remaining 13.

Parliament, the supreme authority in the land, comprises Her Majesty the Queen, represented by the Governor-General, the House of Representatives (elected "lower" House) and the Senate (appointed 11 upper" House).

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) was established in 1962. It consists of a Regular and a Reserve Force. The Air Wing of the Jamaica Defence Force was formed in 1963, trained successively by the British Army Air Corps and Canadian Air Force personnel .

A person is entitled to be a citizen if born in Jamaica; born outside Jamaica of a Jamaican father; married to a Jamaican citizen; or if a former citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies naturalised or registered in Jamaica.

Parliament has supreme power over the granting of citizenship if it is not automatic by birth.

Jamaica's legal and judicial systems are based on English common law.

The Economy

Historically, the economy of Jamaica has been mainly agricultural with dependence on the production of a few staple export crops, particularly sugar and bananas. New economic development began with ' bauxite mining after 1952. Jamaica has become the world's second largest producer of bauxite which is used in the production of aluminium. The deposits are worked by one Canadian and five American companies.

The tourism industry is an important factor in the economy of the country.

Significant increases in output (or export) of bananas, pimento, ginger, eggs and vegetables occurred in 1976, whereas large declines in output were recorded for cocoa, coffee, rum, copra and root crops. The relatively poor performance of the agriculture sector in 1976 is largely attributable to severe drought conditions during the year.

The recent international and domestic recession has resulted in increasing the average unemployment rate to 22.4 per cent in 1976 from 20.4 per cent in 1975.

In September 1973, the Government's free-education policy came into effect. Under this policy,

no tuition fees are charged in any government grant-aided high school or technical school .

The Government also pays for tuition and boarding on campus for all Jamaicans at the University of the West Indies (UWI), the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) and the Jamaica School of Agriculture.

An adult literacy campaign, the JAMAL programme, started in 1972, aims at eradicating illiteracy in the population, which then stood at approximately 400, 000, or about 40 per cent of the adult population. By August 1977 the programme had made some 16 0, 000 functionally literate.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (formerly the Jamaica Festival Commission), established in 1963, supervises the cultural activities of the entire country through annual competitions in art and craft, dance, speech and drama, music, writing, photography and culinary arts . Displays and exhibitions of all these arts and crafts form part of the annual independence celebrations. The Commission also promotes short-term training courses among the thousands of Festival participants each year.

Jamaica has won many Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals. It will participate in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton by sending a team of over 60 athletes for at least four disciplines: track and field, swimming, cycling and shooting.

National Symbols

The national bird is the "doctor bird" or swallowtail humming bird" which lives only in Jamaica and is one of the most outstanding of the 320 species of humming birds. The national flower is the flower of the lignum vitae tree ( wood of life") ; it is believed to have medicinal properties. The national fruit is the ackee an edible fruit originally imported from West Africa. The national tree is the blue mahoe one of Jamaica's primary economic timbers.

The Commonwealth Today: Department of External Affairs, Reference Paper 95 (1976)

The Commonwealth evolved from the British Empire through a gradual process that began in the 19th century. Many important developments first occurred in relation to what is now Canada. One of the key recommendations in Lord Durham's Report was that full self-government should be granted- to the governments in the Canadian colonies in all matters of concern to them. Thus, authority was reserved to the Imperial Government only in those fields considered necessary to maintain imperial unity such as foreign relations, commerce, determination of the constitution and disposal of public lands. All other powers and functions, including the expenditure of public funds, were transferred to the colonial governments, to be exercised by executive councils responsible to elected legislative assemblies, and exercised only so long as they retained the support of the majorities in these assemblies.

In 1867, Canada became the first self-governing dominion; Australia achieved dominion status in 1901, New Zealand in 1907 and South Africa in 1909.

After the First World War, Canada, supported on occasion by the other dominions, succeeded in asserting its independence from the imperial power by a series of agreements and precedents that in turn became the basis for further political developments. Beginning with Versailles in 1919, the dominions successfully asserted their claim to separate representation at international conference. This new relationship was set out in a communiqué from the Imperial Conference of 1926. It defined Britain and the dominions as "autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic and external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations". The Statute of Westminster of 1931 gave legal effect to the substance of the decisions reached in 1926 and established the legislative equality of the dominion parliaments with the British Parliament.

As the colonies within the British Empire assumed self-government and independence, similarities of language, habits, institutional traditions and working methods convinced many national leaders of the value of maintaining some form of association in its place. The fruit of that belief is the modern Commonwealth. The Commonwealth (or Commonwealth of Nations, as it is also called) is a voluntary association of 36 independent countries from six continents and five oceans. (see map overleaf).

The essential functions of the Commonwealth can be put in two words: consultation and co-operation. Members have, however, complete freedom to belong to any grouping, association or alliance, or, of course, to remain non-aligned.

The Commonwealth, it should be remembered, is an international association and not, like the United Nations or the Organisation of American States, an international organisation. It has changed slowly in response to individual stimuli and initiatives and has, at the request of member governments, undertaken a variety of activities and programs in many areas c' its operations.

In its widest sense, the Commonwealth is understood to include member states and self-governing states associated with a Commonwealth member for the purpose of foreign policy and defence; protected states; trust territories administered by a member on behalf of the United Nations; and territories still dependent on a member. Including dependencies, the Commonwealth embraces well over 860 million people .

Associated States Within the Commonwealth

The term "associated state" means a country that has attained full internal self-government while Britain retains ultimate responsibility for its external affairs and defence. The association is a free and voluntary one; an associated state may choose independence at any time.

 

Associated States

 

Antigua

St. Vincent

New Zealand Self-Governing Territories (Pacific Ocean):

Dominica

 

British Protected State:

Cook Islands - Niue

St. Christopher

Brunei (North-west coast of Borneo)

 

Nevis & Anguilla

British Self-Governing Territories (Pacific Ocean) :

 

St. Lucia

Gilbert Islands - Solomon Islands

 

Dependent Territories

In Commonwealth terminology, the phrase "dependent territories" designates some 25 remaining colonies and trust territories exercising self-government to a greater or lesser degree. Most of these are dependencies of Australia and New Zealand. New members are drawn from associated states and dependencies that may on independence apply to heads of Commonwealth member governments for full membership in the Association.

Ascension (South Atlantic)

Falkland Islands (South Atlantic)

 

Belize (Central America-formally

Gibraltar (South-west coast of

Spain)

Turks and Caicos Islands

(West Indies)

 

British Honduras)

Hong Kong (South-east coast of China)

Tuvalu (Central Pacific Ocean)

(Dependencies of Australia

Bermuda (Western Atlantic Ocean)

Montserrat (Eastern Caribbean Sea)

Australian Antarctic Territory Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) Cocos Islands (Indian Ocean) Norfolk Islands

(South Pacific Ocean)

(Dependencies of New Zealand)

Ross Dependency (Antarctic) Tokelau Islands

(Central Pacific Ocean)

(Anglo-French condominium)

New Hebrides

(Western Pacific Ocean)

British Antarctic Territory

Pitcairn (South Pacific Ocean)

 

British Indian Ocean Territory

St. Helena (South Atlantic Ocean)

 

British Virgin Islands

Tristan Da Cunha

(South Atlantic Ocean):

 

 

 

 

 

In 1976, Commonwealth governments agreed that, from 1977, the second Monday in March would be observed as Commonwealth Day in all member countries. Commonwealth Day is not a statutory holiday; rather it is intended as an educational event. This year, across Canada, schools, public libraries and Royal Commonwealth Society Branches were provided with Commonwealth Day posters and information material to assist in planning special events to mark Commonwealth Day.

The Commonwealth has become an increasingly useful vehicle for inter -governmental consultation at all levels. At the topmost level are the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, now held at two-year intervals, which rotate among the capitals of member countries. The last such meeting was in London, June 8 to 16, 1977

At the ministerial level, there are a number of Commonwealth meetings held on a regular basis. Finance ministers, for example, confer every year, immediately before the meeting of the World Bank, in order to review and discuss recent developments in the international economy. In addition, there are regular meetings of ministers of law, health and education, as well as meetings of other ministers when circumstances warrant them.

In 1965, Commonwealth heads of government decided to establish the Commonwealth Secretariat to facilitate communication between member governments and to administer programs of co-operation. Since its establishment, it has become the centre for multilateral communication between Commonwealth governments. The Secretariat also serves as the focal-point and link for many of the Commonwealth's functional institutions.

The first Secretary-General of the Commonwealth was Arnold Smith, a Canadian diplomat who relinquished this post in July 1975 after ten years' service. His successor, Shridath S . Ramphal, who was formerly Foreign Minister and Justice Minister of Guyana, has already shown his dedication to an outward looking, active Commonwealth. The Secretariat is staffed by Officers from 20 Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Secretariat one of the senior "official" government-funded institutions along with that of the Commonwealth Foundation. Like the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Foundation's establishment was approved in 1965 by the Commonwealth heads of governments to administer a fund for fostering and increasing exchanges between professional organisations and societies in Commonwealth countries. Among the many other government-funded institutions, let us list the following:

Commonwealth Advisory Aeronautical Research Council

Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux

Commonwealth Air Transport Council

Commonwealth Defence Science Organisation

Commonwealth Forestry Institute

Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation

Commonwealth Institute

Commonwealth Legal Advisory Service

Commonwealth Committee on Mineral Processing

Commonwealth Committee on Resources and Geology

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

Commonwealth Scientific Council

Commonwealth Telecommunications Council

Commonwealth Youth Program

More recently, the Commonwealth Foundation has directed its attention to encouraging the development of non-governmental associations in a number of professional fields through financial assistance. There are more than 200 such organizations active in the fields of architecture, arts, chambers of commerce, education, engineering, the handicapped, law, libraries literature and language studies, medicine, news media, students, war veterans, and many other groupings of the people of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is among this category of organizations.

Solomon Islands Soon to Become Independent

In 1974, the estimated population was 184,500, made up of Melanesians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Europeans, Chinese and others. The official language is English, but each tribe has its own language and there are numerous dialects.

The Capita, Honiara is located on Guadalcanal Island) . The territory consists of a double row of mountainous islands. The total land area is approximately 11,500 square miles. -The highest named mountain is Mount Makarakombou on Guadalcanal Island. There are no navigable rivers. The climate is equatorial with small seasonal variations defined by the trade winds. The mean annual temperature at the capital is about 800F.

The Solomon Islands were so named by the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana following his discovery of the archipelago in 1568. Tasman discovered Ontong Java in 1643 but it was not until 1767 that European explorers sailed through the Solomon Islands with increasing frequency. The European explorers had, however, still made no impression on the lives of the indigenous inhabitants. In 1942 there came invasion and occupation by the Japanese, counterattack and battle, air-raids and finally occupation by United States and Allied forces, mainly in the Central and Western Districts. Many islanders joined the Defence Force that took part in active battle, where they were employed as guides or patrolling behind enemy lines.

Under the Solomon Islands (Amendment) Order 1975, the Solomon Islands received Internal Self-Government on 2nd January 1976. The Order provided for the Chief Minister to be President of the Council of Ministers, in place of the Governor, who is bound henceforth to act in accordance with advice given to him by the Council of Ministers in most internal matters. The Governor, however, retains responsibility for defence, external affairs, internal security and the Public Service, and enjoys certain discretionary powers . The British Government and Solomon Islands' ministers had discussions in May 1975, which produced a program for the Solomon Islands to attain its independence in 1978.

The main crop of the Solomon Islands is copra. Rice is being grown successfully on the Guadalcanal Plains. After copra, the main product is timber and there is a small local production of consumer goods such as biscuits and mineral waters .


Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 1 no 1
1978






Last Updated: 2014-04-30