Since 1969 the Speakers and Presiding
officers of Commonwealth Parliaments have met biennially to discuss common
problems. These conferences provide an opportunity for members of a very
special profession to meet, get acquainted and consider such questions as the
influence of the Speaker on procedural reform, the use of the casting vote, the
role of the Speaker in one party states, the continuity of the Speaker's office
and many related subjects. A Canadian Speaker, Lucien Lamoureux, was
influential in establishing Speakers' Conferences on a regular basis. The first
such meeting was held in Ottawa and now, twelve years later, Commonwealth
Speakers are once again meeting in Canada.
To mark this occasion the Canadian
Parliamentary Review is publishing two articles relating to the Speakership.
One was written by the present Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. It sheds
light on some traditional concerns facing presiding officers, particularly the
problem of maintaining relations with constituents. The other looks at the
Speakership in a Canadian province, British Columbia, and particularly the role
of the British Columbia Speaker in procedural reform.
In this issue we are publishing a revised
version of a speech given by a delegate to a recent Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association seminar. It is hoped in this way the review can give wider
distribution to some of the interventions made at CPA meetings. The full
proceedings are usually available only, to participant., and to legislative
libraries. There is also an article and some comments relating to questions of
procedure. privilege and parliamentary reform.
Articles appearing in the Canadian
Parliamentary Review are necessarily non-partisan but that does not mean they
may not be critical. Parliament and the provincial legislatures have evolved
considerably in the past decade. A publication such as the Canadian
Parliamentary Review could not have existed ten years ago. Its growth reflects
the existence of an increasing number of persons across Canada who take
seriously their work as parliamentarians, parliamentary, staff or students of
parliament. Constructive criticism by such persons can only help legislative
institutions to flourish and that is the primary objective of the review.