Each year a different province or territory
hosts the Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association. This year the conference is being held in Newfoundland and again
the Canadian Parliamentary Review is publishing a feature article on the
parliamentary tradition in the host province. We also have a book review of
Senator Frederick Rowe's recent work on Newfoundland's history.
One item on the conference agenda is the
protection of confidential communications of Members of Parliament. As this
question is of interest to all parliamentarians we are publishing one of the
background papers prepared for delegates.
The Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of
Assembly, Arthur Donahoe, has contributed an article on new rules of procedure
in that province. One objective of the review is to serve as a vehicle of
communication whereby parliamentarians in one part of the country can keep
informed about developments in other legislatures. As procedural changes or
proposals are introduced elsewhere we hope that other members will also be able
to find time in their busy schedules to contribute to the review.
The article by Tommy Douglas is the first in
what we hope will be a series of reminiscences by former parliamentarians. The
practice of memoir-writing is less developed among Canadian politicians than
those of many other countries. This is unfortunate since well-written memoirs,
aside from their human interest, can give one generation insights into how
previous generations of public officials dealt with similar problems or
situations. In this way, as much as by pure scientific research. the sum total
of society's knowledge is increased.
Mr. Douglas' article illuminates traditions
that lie at the very heart of our parliamentary system. Rules of procedure and
even constitutions change. Men of greater or lesser ability come and go. But
parliamentary democracy is essentially a way of thinking and acting. Former
members, particularly those of long experience, have an ideal perspective from
which to distinguish the important from the peripheral and to pass their
accumulated wisdom on to present day members. We hope this article and other
similar ones will be of interest to parliamentarians as well as to those who