The Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Her Excellency Rt Hon. Mary Simon, Governor-General of Canada, has urged Commonwealth Parliamentarians to work together to uphold democratic principles and the values of the Commonwealth as she opened the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (65th CPC) for over 600 delegates in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The CPA Vice-Patron said:
“The Commonwealth is not merely a name, but a goal. A society of nations that work together with common objectives.” To read her full speech please click here.
One of the largest annual gatherings of Commonwealth Parliamentarians, the conference will address key global issues and solutions on a theme of ‘Inclusive, Accessible, Accountable and Strong Parliaments: the Cornerstone of Democracy and Essential for Development’.
MPs and parliamentary staff will benefit from professional development, supportive learning and the sharing of best practice with colleagues from across the Commonwealth together with the participation of leading international organisations. The conference will explore a wide range of workshop topics from responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling climate change and achieving the sustainable development goals to accessibility and technology for Parliaments and building gender sensitive Legislatures.
Delegates to the 65th CPC were welcomed by the CPA President (2019-2022), Hon. Anthony Rota, MP, Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada who said at the opening ceremony:
““During this conference, we will continue to learn from each other about how we can make our respective Parliaments more inclusive, accessible, accountable and stronger. The conference program is full of opportunities to network and expand our understanding about how to promote the values of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which is to say our values.”
Senator Hon. George Furey, Speaker of the Senate of Canada read the goodwill message to the conference from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Head of the Commonwealth.
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg paid tribute to the late CPA Chairperson, Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka from Cameroon and highlighted the key agenda items for the conference.
The Speaker of the Nova Scotia Legislature, Hon. Keith Bain, MLA said:
“On behalf of the Canadian Region of CPA, we are proud to welcome you to Halifax for this gathering of Parliamentarians. We hope that throughout the conference, the exchanges and workshops will be fruitful and that relationships will be forged and hopefully continue to flourish when you return home.”
Delegates heard from a number of musical and dance performances during the opening ceremony including an indigenous blessing and drummers, THR!VE choir for girls, Legacy Circus, BreakSpace breakdancing group and members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The 65th CPC is being attended by Speakers, Presiding Officers and Members of Parliament from across the membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The CPA is the only parliamentary association to bring together national, state, provincial and territorial Legislatures. The CPA’s membership of 180 Parliaments and Legislatures across the Commonwealth.
The CPA Canada Region has hosted the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference six times in its history with the most recent in 2004 in Toronto, Ontario.