Below is a list of recent Parliamentary activities attended by Members of Parliament.
1. 127th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and related Meetings. Quebec City, Canada, October 21-26, 2012.
Member: Mrs. Nela Khan – Deputy Speaker, Member for Princes Town.
Since the founding of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Canada has had the privilege of hosting the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union three times. The Assembly was held for five days including the annual session of the Committee on UN Affairs and panel discussions on the issues covered by the three standing committees. More than fifteen hundred (1500) delegates from up to one hundred and sixty-two IPU member Parliaments, along with representatives from associate members and observer organizations were in attendance.
The Assembly provided delegates with the unique opportunity for a considered debate and a better understanding among nations on a range of current and emerging issues. It provided delegates with the opportunity to participate in panels on topics relating to youth participation, post-conflict reconstruction, parliamentary immunity, multilateralism and parliamentary diplomacy, and peak oil and energy security. A special Gender Partnership Group session on gender sensitive parliaments, with a view to developing a Plan of Action was also held.
Topics listed for panel discussion included:
- Creating Opportunities for Youth in Today’s Global Economy
- Building Peace after Conflict
- The use of media, including social media, to enhance citizen engagement and democracy
- Enforcing the responsibility to protect: the role of parliament in safeguarding civilians’ lives
- Fair trade and innovative financing mechanisms for sustainable development
- Multilateralism and the Role of Parliamentary Diplomacy
2. Joint Seminar of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), World Bank Institute (WBI), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Vienna, Austria October 29 to 31, 2012
Member: Hon. Dr. Roodal Moonilal – Minister of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs
The Seminar sought to build upon the global discussion which commenced during the international parliaments and extractive industries conference organized by the Revenue Watch and Parliamentary Centre in 2011. The target audience was a group of up to thirty-five (35) Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Staff, Parliamentary Strengthening Practitioners, and Extractive Industry Practitioners from developing and developed countries.
The Seminar aimed to:
- Enhance awareness of prevailing issues by sharing recent research and experience related to the natural resources sector
- Identify good practice with respect to parliamentary engagement with the extractives sector, emphasizing how parliaments can perform their primary functions (representative, legislative, and oversight) in order to improve governance of the natural resources sector; and
- Share knowledge and experience around strategies parliaments and development agencies can employ to build sustainable parliamentary capacity
Topics discussed included:
- The Commodities Market, recent boom, impacts and trends
- Tax policy and revenue
- Macro-Economic Policy choices
- Diversification, options and best practices
- Monitoring contracts to increase transparency in extractive industries
- Using Parliamentary Oversight Tools to Enhance Accountability of the Extractive Sectors
- Conflict, Safeguards and Climate Change
- How practitioners can work with Parliaments in promoting good governance of the extractives sector
3. Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)/World Bank Institute Study Group on Public Accounts Committees British Columbia, Canada. November 6 to 10, 2012.
Member: Mr. Colm Imbert, MP
In 2001 the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association recognized the role played by committees in parliamentary oversight and commissioned a study group to consider how Public Accounts Committees (PACs) function in parliaments of the Commonwealth.
This was followed in 2002, with the publication of ‘The Overseers: Public Accounts Committees and Public Spending’ which examined the role Public Accounts Committees play in parliamentary scrutiny and good governance. This highly acclaimed book includes an in-depth exploration of the work and working practices of PACs, highlighted that strong parliamentary scrutiny regimes are an essential part of combating corruption and promoting good governance.
Since 2001, there have been many developments and this new Study Group aims to examine the progress made over the past decade in the work and functioning of PACs in the Commonwealth and beyond. It will also look at emerging patterns of committee process as well as innovations to help PACs better respond to the challenges they face in safeguarding their contribution to financial scrutiny.
This year’s Study Group will adopt an interactive format designed to capture the experience of participating Parliaments, identify practical examples of good Public Accounts Committee practice, peer review global research on emerging PAC practices, and provide guidance on new avenues for inquiry. This format will allow Members to share their experience using collaborative focus group discussions on a series of topics.
Topics listed for discussion at the upcoming Study Group include:
- Importance of Public Accounts Committees in Legislative Oversight and Public
- Financial Management
- Recap: “The Overseers” Structure of Public Accounts Committees
- Current Challenges, Emerging Trends – Organizations and functioning Public Accounts Committees
- Capacity and Performance of Public Accounts Committees – How oversight is practiced
- Critical Issues – Small States and Fragile States, Regional Associations
- Engagement with the Public