High atop the Manitoba Legislative Building, 250 feet above ground, the statue called “Eternal Youth and the Spirit of Enterprise” (or as it as come to be affectionately known by Manitobans, the “Golden Boy”), stands proudly facing north. A symbol so important and full of meaning for our province’s past, present and future, on November 21, 2019, the statue marked 100 years of looking down upon us, a witness to many of the most important events in Manitoba history.
As part of the construction of Manitoba’s third Legislative Building, which started in 1913, the Manitoba Government commissioned French sculptor Georges Gardet to create a set of five bronze statues that would be featured prominently in and on the building. The most notable of these statues, the Golden Boy, was created with the intent of resting in a place of honour at the very peak of the building which would become the centre of the province’s political life. During World War I the statue was cast in bronze in a French foundry and then placed in a ship’s hold for transport to Canada. However, it took a year of travel to make its way to North America; the ship was commandeered to transport Allied troops and supplies across the Atlantic Ocean and within the Mediterranean Sea, its precious cargo used as ballast. Despite the dangerous missions, both the ship and the Golden Boy made it at last to New York. The statue was then shipped by train to Winnipeg and placed atop the Legislative Building on November 21, 1919. With this installation, the tip of its torch was the tallest point in Winnipeg in 1919.
Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia, Fifth Edition. Editor: Kate Ryan-Lloyd, Acting Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Assistant Editors: Artour Sogomonian, Procedural Clerk; Susan Sourial, Clerk Assistant, Committees and Interparliamentary Relations; and Ron Wall, Manager, Committee Research Services.
On March 2, the Legislative Assembly unanimously appointed Kate Ryan-Lloyd Clerk of the Legislative Assembly following the recommendation of a special committee. Since that time, there have been two additions to the newly-established Clerk’s Leadership Group. They are S. Suzie Seo, who assumed the functions of Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel on a permanent basis in April 2020, and Artour Sogomonian, who was appointed to the new position of Clerk Assistant, Parliamentary Services in May 2020.
Ms. Ryan-Lloyd has served the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for many years, beginning in the Legislative Library, then the Parliamentary Committees Office and had served as Acting Clerk since November 2018.
Employing research from his doctoral dissertation, the author breaks with the consensus position that the first meeting of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada on December 17, 1792, marks the beginning of parliamentarism in Quebec. Instead, he traces a rudimentary form of parliamentarism back to 1764 and shows how it developed over nearly 30 years.
On December 17, 1792, the first members of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada met in the chapel of the episcopal palace in Quebec City. This historic event is considered the beginning of parliamentarism in Quebec. But I must break with this consensus interpretation. In my doctoral dissertation on the origins of parliamentarism in Quebec, entitled Aux sources du parlementarisme dans la Province de Québec, 1764–1791, I show that the foundations of parliamentarism in the province precede the Constitutional Act of 1791.1
Fifty individuals with visible minority origins won their way into Parliament in the federal election of October 31, 2019 – the largest number of such MPs ever to be elected. However, the achievement is tempered somewhat by the fact that the increase from the 2015 election is fairly modest and the population-based deficit in representation is about where it had been in that previous election. On the other hand, when candidates are taken into consideration, the picture that emerges for 2019 is somewhat more positive. The evidence points to the parties, at least in their local guises, continuing to do more to champion visible minority candidacies. Indeed, it is possible that the candidate data yield a better indication of the openness of the electoral process to minorities than simply a tally of the number of visible minority MPs elected.
The political history of Quebec has many examples of parliamentarians with family connections. In some instances, family members even sat at the same time. This was the case for Quebec Premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau and his son Robert, who both sat in Quebec’s Legislative Assembly from 1930 to 1936.
Siblings also sat at the same time on several occasions: brothers Daniel and Pierre Marc Johnson sat together from 1985 to 1987, representing different parties. Their father was Daniel Johnson Sr., who had served as Premier of Quebec from 1966 to 1968. Interestingly enough, both brothers also served as Premier. In another case, sisters Hélène and Françoise David sat in the National Assembly from 2014 to 2017: one in government, one in opposition.
Two general elections have been held since the 2015 Reform Act was passed by Canada’s Parliament. In this article the authors assess its success in rebalancing the relationship between individual MPs and their parties, discuss why many MPs remain reluctant to openly challenge their leaders’ authority, and conclude that institutional or legislative changes alone will likely not change the culture that has permitted power to be concentrated in a leader’s office.