CPA Canadian Regional Seminar
The 35th Canadian Regional Seminar of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in St. John’s, Newfoundland from October 31 to November 3, 2013. The Seminar included five business sessions over two days. A total of 43 delegates participated including representatives from the House of Commons, each of the ten provinces and one of the territories (Nunavut). The host for the Seminar was Ross Wiseman MHA, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Newfoundland & Labrador.
The first business session dealt with Urbanization and Demographics. The presenter was Dr. Robert Greenwood from the University of Warwick. He has served as a Director and Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy in Economic Development departments in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Saskatchewan and has taught, consulted, published and presented extensively on the issues. The Chair of the session was Douglas Horne, Deputy Speaker of the British Columbia Legislature.
The second topic was Climate Change presented by Jackie Janes. She has spent over 12 years working on climate change, including as an international climate change negotiator for the British Government, heading up a team responsible for improving the energy efficiency and reducing emissions in the UK, and as the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Special Advisor and Head of the Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading, a central agency in Executive Council. The Chair for the session was Deborah Deller, Clerk of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.
The third session was on Population Aging: A Paradigm Shift: Crisis or Opportunity? The presenter was Suzanne Brake who has developed and taught a number of courses at Memorial University in and is actively involved in the ongoing implementation of the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework. She is currently the Director of the Aging and Seniors Division of the Newfoundland Department of Health and Community Services. The Chair for this session was Dale Graham, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.
The fourth session was on the topic of Enhancing Financial Accountability. Panelists were Deputy Speaker Horne of British Columbia, Neil Ferguson, Clerk of the Nova Scotia Legislature and David Cochrane, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Press Gallery and provincial affairs reporter for CBC. The Chair was Wade Verge, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland & Labrador.
The final session was on Parliamentary Customs and Modern Expectations: Can they co-exist? The presenter was Patricia Chaychuk, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. The session was chaired by Speaker Gene Zwozdesky of Alberta.
In addition to the working sessions the seminar offered a few opportunities for delegates to sample Newfoundland hospitality. These included the opening reception at Government House hosted by Lieutenant Governor Frank F. Fagan. There was also a trip to Bay Roberts Cable Building National Historic Site built in the early 19thcentury to serve as the main relay between the North American and European networks of Western Union Telegraph Company. The building now contains the Bay Roberts Town Hall as well as the “Road to Yesterday” Museum, and the Christopher Pratt Art Gallery.
There was also an evening dedicated to celebrating Newfoundland & Labrador culture through skits, music and a sampling of some catch of the sea, all in a casual setting hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion at Bay Roberts Waterfront.
New Speakers in Nova Scotia and Nunavut
The two newest Speakers in the Canada are both newly elected members to their respective legislatures.
In Nova Scotia Kevin Murphy, MLA for Eastern Shore was elected as Speaker of the Nova Scotia Legislature on October 24, 2013. He ran for office for the first time in the provincial election of October 8.
Speaker Murphy is a graduate of St. Mary’s Unversity (B. Comm 1992). He owned and operated KSM Entertainment Pro DJ Services from 1989-2007 and now owns and operates Shop the Shore. He has been involved with a number of community organizations including the Eastern Shore Recreation Commission, the Musquodoboit Harbour Volunteer Fire Department, the Eastern Shore Jr Mariners Hockey Club, the Rick Hansen Foundation, the Kevin Murphy Hockey Fund, the Canadian Paraplegic Association (NS), Metro Transit Access-a-Bus-Advisory Committee, and Twin Oaks/The Birches Health Care Charitable Foundation.
He becomes the first paraplegic to be elected Speaker in Nova Scotia. He replaced Gordie Gosse in the Chair.
In Nunavut the new Speaker is George Qulaut MLA for Amittuq. He was chosen Speaker by acclamation on November 16, 2013 after running for the legislature for the first time in the October 29 election.
From 1994 to 1999, Speaker Qulaut was part of the Nunavut Implementation Commission. He spent 14 years as operations manager for the Eastern Arctic Research Lab, dealing with researchers and scientists from all over the world. He also spent three terms as Igloolik director with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association. He has worked with the national historic sites and monuments board, and on the oral history project in Igloolik, and is very concerned about preserving Inuit language and culture. He replaces Hunter Tootoo who did not seek re-election to the Assembly.