New Nunavut Speaker
On May 28, 2019, Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak was elected Speaker of the Nunavut Assembly. Mr. Mikkungwak, who was elected in a secret ballot over MLAs Paul Quassa, Tony Akoak and Pat Angnakak, replaces former Speaker Joe Enook who passed away in March. “Having served as Deputy Speaker for our late Speaker, I am deeply touched,” Mr. Mikkungwak said. “My colleagues, it’s evident that we will work well together on behalf of Nunavummiut. I also humble myself for being elected as Speaker.” First elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017, in addition to his role as Deputy Speaker, Mr. Mikkungwak also served as Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole.
Prior to entering politics Mr. Mikkungwak worked
as an inspector for the Kivalliq Inuit Association, an
alcohol and drug specialist for Nunavut’s Department
of Health and Social Services, a court interpreter, and
deputy mayor of Baker Lake.
New Alberta Speaker
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper
was selected Speaker of the 30th Alberta legislature
on May 21, 2019 in a secret ballot over Edmonton-
Manning MLA Heather Sweet, who served as deputy
chair of committees in the previous assembly. Mr.
Cooper, who at 39 is the youngest Alberta Speaker in
more than 80 years, has a reputation in the Assembly
for his sense of humour and his love of parliamentary
Hon. Simeon Mikkungwak Hon. Nathan Cooper
30 CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW/SUMMER 2019
“I think the thing that I hope to do is strike the right
balance of being a Speaker who has a keen sense of
when to interject and when to allow the members
of the assembly to continue in the cut and thrust of
debate,” he told reporters, noting he would “try his
very best Dad voice” when dealing with unruly MLAs.
Mr. Cooper said he planned to apply the rules
consistently while hoping debates would be “vigorous,
thoughtful and amicable.”
While working to remain order in Assembly, Mr.
Cooper explained that he did not view the legislature
as a workplace like any other. “This is the peaceful
way we do battle,” he said of Assembly debates. “We
are doing battle for ideas in democracy.”
New PEI Speaker
Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie was elected
Speaker of the PEI Assembly on June 13, 2019 in a
secret ballot over MLA Hal Perry. Mr. Perry became
deputy speaker. Speaker LaVie, who replaces retiring
Speaker Francis “Buck” Watts, said his admiration for
Speaker Watts and other previous Speakers inspired
him to seek the chair.
First elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA in
2011, Speaker LaVie has won re-election twice. While
sitting in Opposition, he served as critic for fisheries
and agriculture, and as the Opposition whip.
“I want to thank you all for showing me your
support,” Speaker LaVie said following his election.
“It’s a real honour to sit in the Speaker’s chair….
Everyone is equal inside these rails.”
A local lobster fisher, Speaker LaVie is very active
in his community. He serves as Chief of the Souris
Fire Department and is a long-time volunteer with the
Eastern Kings Sportsplex.
New Clerk of the Alberta Assembly
On May 24, 2019, Speaker Cooper appointed
Shannon Dean as the new Clerk of the Alberta
Assembly. Dean, who is the first woman to be named
to the position, replaces Merwan Saher.
After earning a Bachelor of Commerce from the
University of Alberta in 1987, Ms. Dean attended
Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and
graduated in 1991.
During her more than 20 years at the Alberta
Assembly, Ms. Dean has held numerous positions
including Senior Parliamentary Counsel, Law Clerk,
and Director of House Services. She also served as
Acting Clerk following former Clerk Rob Reynolds
Noting her extensive experience working in nonpartisan
roles for the Assembly, Speaker Cooper said
he believes the Legislative Assembly Office should be
“very pleased to work under the leadership of Ms.