CPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

Article 12 / 12 , Vol 34 No 4 (Winter)

CPA Activities: The Canadian Scene

33rd CPA Canadian Regional Seminar New Brunswick

Despite all the recent provincial and territorial elections, the 33rd Canadian Regional Seminar of the CPA was held in Fredericton from November 3-6, 2011. Twenty-one legislators from the Senate and from nine provinces and territories attended.

The seminar was hosted by Speaker Dale Graham of New Brunswick. Other Speakers present included Bill Barisoff of British Columbia, Gordie Gosse of Nova Scotia, Hunter Tootoo of Nunavut and Steve Peters of Ontario.

The first session on Decorum in the House was led by Speaker Peters. Fatima Houda-Pepin of Québec presented a paper in the second session entitled: Do Political Parties Promote Democracy and Parliamentary Freedom of Expression? She looked at recent changes in the Québec Standing Orders which define the confidence convention thereby allowing freer discussion and voting on matters that are not defined as confidence votes.

The third session featured a presentation by Linda Reid of British Columbia who looked at the changes in legislatures over her twenty years in public life. She focused particularly on the role of women and on the participation of youth.

The fourth session was on the Role of the Independent member and featured a presentation by Vicki Huntington of British Columbia who is one of the rare members to have been elected and remain as an independent member of the legislature.

The final session was a roundtable on Managing the House in Fiscally Challenging Times. It was chaired by Speaker Graham. Several delegates discussed what their legislatures were doing to control expenses.

In addition to the business sessions there was lobster dinner at the Fredericton Golf Club and an opening and closing dinner hosted by Speaker Graham. Delegates thanked the Speaker and the conference co-ordinator Lori Catalli Sonier, for a very productive seminar.

Ninth Canadian Parliamentary Seminar, Ottawa

The 9th Canadian Parliamentary Seminar organized by the Canadian Branch of the CPA was held in Ottawa from October 16-22. The host was Russ Hiebert, Chair of the Canadian Branch. International delegates attended from Kenya, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, United Kingdom, Wales, India, New South Wales, and Khyber Paktunkhwa, Pakistan.

The Canadian Region was represented by delegates from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. CPA Headquarters was represented by David Broom, Director of Finance and Administration who spoke about the Commonwealth and the Role of the CPA.

Other topics and speakers were:

  • The Operation of the Parliament of Canada

Gary O’Brien, Clerk of the Senate

Audrey O’Brien, Clerk of the House of Commons

  • The Canadian Political Scene

Joan Fraser, Senator

Michael Chong, MP

  • Financing Elections

David Smith, Senator

Patrick Brown, MP

  • The Role of Party Caucuses

Guy Lauzon, MP

Joe Comartin, MP

  • Parliamentary Committees: What Works and What Does Not Work

Raynell Andreychuk, Senator

Joe Preston, MP

  • How an MP’s Office Works

Bev Shipley, MP

Brian Masse, MP

  • Democracy, Human Rights and Development

John McKay, MP

  • Have the Media taken over the Representational Job of Parliamentarians?

Dean Allison, MP

Richard Cléroux, Parliamentary Press Gallery

  • Engaging Citizens: Resources and Tools

Dr. Carolyn Bennett, MP

  • Representing Pluralistic Constitutencies

Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Devinder Shory, MP

  • Parliament and Lobbyists

Tim Powers, Summa Strategies

Don Boudria, Senior Counsellor, Hill & Knowlton Canada

The final morning of the seminar was devoted to topics suggested by the delegates. Among these were: Implications of Climate Change and the Role of Parliamentarians (Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Sri Lanka); Unifying Diverse Views and Expectations (Dr. Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Singapore); The Commonwealth as a Watchdog of Democracy (Mangala Samaraweera, Sri Lanka); Social Media With Focus on the Youth Involvement (Dr. Lily Neo, Singapore); Natural Disaster Management, (Dr. Jhansi Lakshmi Botcha, India); Tackling Inequality: Models Employed (Dr. Roberta Blackman-Woods, United Kingdom); The Petitions Process in the National Assembly of Wales (William Powell, Wales); Challenge of Poverty and Democracy (Dr. Sira Ubwa Mamboya, Zanzibar); What Does Democracy Mean for the Poor and Deprived Sections of the Population? (Shariq Sharief-Uddin, India); and Educating the Population (Saquib Ullah Khan, Khyber Paktunkhwa, Pakistan).

During the seminar delegates had an opportunity to watch Question Period in the House and Senate, attend a lunch hosted by Senator Donald Oliver, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate, a dinner hosted by House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer, a reception hosted by Pat Davidson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, Canadian Branch, and a farewell dinner hosted by Mr. Hiebert.

Before adjourning, all delegates expressed their appreciation to the seminar co-ordinator, Elizabeth Kingston, Secretary of the Canadian Branch for a highly successful event.

New Speakers

Since October there have been five provincial and two territorial elections. As a result there are now new presiding officers in Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.

Manitoba

In Manitoba the new Speaker is Daryl Reid. He has represented Winnipeg Transcona in the Legislative Assembly since 1990. Before entering politics he was active in the trade union movement including four years as national president of his railway employee association.

He has been re-elected five times and has sat on both the government and the opposition side of the House. Among other things he has served as critic for Transportation and Labour and the Workers Compensation Board. He led a task force into Manitoba’s system of issuing drivers licenses, and chaired a series of public meetings into the status of the province’s roads, rails and runways. In 2003 he chaired committees that selected a new ombudsman and a new Auditor General for Manitoba.

He was elected Speaker on October 20, 2011 defeating two other candidates in a secret ballot. He replaces George Hickes who retired after twelve years in the Chair.

Northwest Territories

Jackie Jacobson was elected to the Legislative Assembly on October 1, 2007 to represent the Nunakput constituency, and re-elected on October 3, 2011. He has been an active member of the Tuktoyaktuk community serving on the hamlet council as the mayor for two terms and as a hamlet councillor for two terms. He served as the secretary/treasurer of the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation for eight years, as a community recreation board member for three years, and as the Chair of the Tuktoyaktuk Housing board for four years. In addition, Mr. Jacobson served for six years as both member of the board and as the Chair of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, and Chair of the Human Resources Board with Norterra.

He was elected Speaker by acclamation on October 26, 2011 replacing Paul Delorey who did not seek re-election.

Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador the new Speaker is Ross Wiseman, MHA for Trinity North. He has been a member of the House since he was elected in a by-election on April 25, 2000. Prior to entering political life, he had a successful 15-year career in health administration with the Peninsulas Health Care Corporation and the former Clarenville Area Hospital Board. He also has extensive experience in the financial services industry, having held several branch and regional management positions throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

While a Member in the House he has held many positions including Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. He chaired the public consultations on the “Smoking Ban in Bars and Bingo Halls” resulting in a new Act entitled The Smoke Free Environment Act (2005). He chaired the Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors and also the Public Consultations on Healthy Aging, a process to assist Government in developing a Provincial Healthy Aging Plan.

In 2003 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health & Community Services and in 2007 he became Minister of Health & Community Services. He was appointed Minister of Business on July 9, 2009 and became Minister of Environment and Conservation in January 2011.

He was elected Speaker on October 27 replacing Roger Fitzgerald who retired.

Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island the new Speaker is Carol Bertram.

Ms. Bertram was first elected to the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly in September 2003 to represent District 17, Crapaud Hazel Grove. She served as Opposition Critic for Education, Tourism, the Status of Women and Community and Cultural Affairs. Re elected in the provincial general election on May 2007 in the new district of Rustico Emerald, she was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, and Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Acadian and Francophone Affairs. In January 2010, she was made Minister of Health and Wellness.

Formerly a school teacher at Central Queens Elementary School in Hunter River, Ms. Bertram is fluently bilingual and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, and a Bachelor of Education Degree from Mount St. Vincent University.

She was elected Speaker by acclamation on November 1, 2011 replacing former Speaker Kathleen Casey.

Ontario

In Ontario the new Speaker is Dave Levac. Born and raised in the riding of Brant, he taught elementary and secondary school for 12 years before becoming a principal in 1989. He was also active in community service and in 1997 was named Citizen of the Year by readers of The Brantford Expositor for having served as Coordinator for the Queen’s Visit to Brantford, Chairperson and Founder of Brantford’s Walk of Fame, Founder and Chair of the Walter Gretzky C.N.I.B. Celebrity Golf Tournament, and Vice-Chair of the Brant United Way Campaign.

In 1999 he turned to politics and was first elected to the Legislature as the Liberal member for Brant. In Opposition over the next four years, he served as Critic for the Office of Solicitor General, Correctional Services and Public Safety and Security. He was also Chair of the South Central Liberal Caucus. He was re-elected in 2003 and served as Chief Government Whip for four years.

For most of the 39th Parliament, from 2007-2011, he was a Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and later as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy.

During his time in the Legislature he has successfully sponsored or co-sponsored a number of private members’ Bill including the Firefighters’ Memorial Day Act, 2000; and Sabrina’s Law, 2005.

The new Speaker has been active in interparliamentary activities having served as the government representative for the Council of State Government/Eastern Region Committee and Vice-Chair of the Ontario-Quebec Parliamentary Association established to foster the development of interparliamentary cooperation between the Assemblies of Quebec and Ontario.

He was elected Speaker on November 21, 2011 defeating three other candidates, Donna Cansfield, Kevin Flynn and David Zimmer. He replaces Steve Peters who retired.

In the autumn issue it was reported that Kate Ryan-Lloyd was appointed Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia on September 1, 2011 replacing Robert Vaive. In fact, Robert Vaive continues in his position as Clerk Assistant. Kate Ryan-Lloyd’s title is Deputy Clerk and Clerk of Committees.