CPA Activities: The Canadian Scene
47th Canadian Regional Conference
The 47th Canadian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in Toronto from July 19-24, 2009. Approximately 90 delegates and observers from every Canadian jurisdiction except Nunavut attended. There were a number of parliamentary guests including Baroness Lindsay Northover, from the House of Lords, Ian Davidson MP from the British House of Commons, Nell Parsanlal, MP from Trinidad and Tobago and Kashmala Tariq, Member of the National Assembly from Pakistan.
The Official Opening was chaired by the host of the Conference. Speaker Steve Peters of Ontario. The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David C. Onley welcomed the delegates and officially opened the Conference. Also speaking suring the opening were the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, William F. Shija, the Chair of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (Canadian Region) Maria Minna and Baroness Northover.
A number of Canadian Speakers were in attendance including: Don Toth (SK), Roger Fitzgerald, (NL), Roy Boudreau (NB), Kathleen Casey (PE), Kenneth Kowalski (AB), Charlie Parker (NS), Bill Barisoff (BC) Ted Staffen (YK), and Paul Delory (NT).
Speaker Toth chaired the first session which featured a presentation by Art Johnston of Alberta on Protecting the Public: Alberta's Safe Communities Project.
The second session was on the topic of Immigration, Integration and Intercultural Relations: The Quebec Experience with a presentation by Fatima Houda-Pepin of Quebec. It was chaired by Senator Raynell Andreychuk.
The third session was an Update on the Economic Recovery with presentations from Bev Shipley of the House of Commons and Warren Michelson of Saskatchewan. The chair was Etienne-Alexis Boucher of Quebec.
The fourth session, chaired by Speaker Peters, was a presentation by Terry Fallis, Winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for his book The Best Laid Plans. He read some excerpts from his book and discussed the importance of humour in politics.
The Role of Private Members' Bills was the topic of the fifth session. Linda Jeffrey was the presenter with Speaker Fitzgerald in the chair. Technology in the Legislature was the topic of the sixth session. Edward Buckingham of Newfoundland and Labrador made the presentation. Bruce Crozier of Ontario was the chair.
Speaker Boudreau chaired the seventh session on Creating Welcoming Communities. The presenter was Teresa Woo-Paw of Alberta. The final session was on Balancing Security and Public Access at the Legislature. Speaker Casey made the presentation while Mr. Davidson of the British House of Commons was in the chair.
During the week delegates had an opportunity to visit the Niagara Region and to attend a baseball game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. Delegates were effusive in their praise for Speaker Peters, Clerk Deborah Deller, Zina Decker and other members of the organizing committee for a very successful conference.
On Sunday July 19, the Canadian Region of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians held their annual conference. A Steering Committee meeting chaired by Maria Minna MP was held in the morning. It looked at the work done by the Group over the last year and adopted a work-plan and outreach programme for the upcoming year.
It was followed by several business sessions. Hedy Fry MP spoke on the issue of Gender Analysis and Budgeting. She looked at what had been done, particularly by federal government departments over the last several years.
Flora MacDonald, a former Minister, discussed her recent efforts to improve education and build schools in Afghanistan, a country she has visited eleven times over the last several years. …