New Speaker in New Brunswick
Chris Collins, Liberal MLA for Moncton Centre, was elected Speaker of the New Brunswick Legislature on October 24. Collins replaces retiring Progressive Conservative MLA Dale Graham. Prior to coming to the Assembly via a 2007 by-election, Collins had been a member of Moncton city council. He was re-elected to the Legislature in 2010, when he served as the opposition critic for Education, Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, Environment, Energy, and Justice. Outside of politics, Collins has been an advocate for families with sick children. In 2013, Collins, whose son Sean passed away from cancer at the age of 13 in 2007, cycled across Canada raising $100,000 for children with cancer.
Telling MLAs that he was “honoured and deeply humbled” to be elected Speaker, Collins promised to his best “to uphold the traditions of this office and the good functioning of this chamber” over the coming sessions.
36th Canadian Regional Seminar
From October 16-19, Halifax’s Delta Barrington hosted the CPA’s annual Canadian Regional Seminar. Over the course of five business sessions and three networking sessions, delegates from across the country discussed aspects of parliamentary procedure and professional development.
In a session chaired by Ontario MPP Rick Nicholls on October 17, Saskatchewan Speaker Dan D’Autremont, Newfoundland and Labrador Speaker Wade Verge and Nova Scotia Speaker Kevin Murphy discussed the ever increasing administrative roles of the parliamentary speaker. Donald Naulls, an associate professor in Saint Mary’s University’s Political Science Department outlined the role of Canadian assemblies in modern government in a session chaired by Nova Scotia MLA Terry Farrell. MP Joe Preston addressed recent House of Commons procedural reforms in a business session chaired by Alberta MLA Genia Leskiw.
On October 18, in a session chaired by Quebec MNA Gerry Sklavounos, Saskatchewan MLA John Nilson and Quebec MNA Sylvain Gaudreault discussed aspects of ongoing professional development for parliamentarians. A final session, chaired by PEI MLA Sonny Gallant, and featuring presentations by Mr. Sklavounos and Halifax Immigration lawyer Elizabeth Wozniak, focused on the integration of immigrants into Canadian society. Following this presentation, delegates were invited to visit the nearby Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. One million immigrants, refugees, war brides, evacuee children and displaced persons came through this gateway to Canada from 1928 to 1971.
William Shija, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, passed away on October 4, on the eve of the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
A former Minister and Member of Parliament in Tanzania, Dr. Shija became the first black African Secretary-General in the Association’s history when assumed the office on January 1, 2007. He is survived by his wife Getruda Peter Shija and five children. Dr. Shija’s passing was a shock to many and a particular blow to the staff at CPA HQ who owe so much to him.