Two Parliamentary Conferences on Parliament in Quebec
A special conference bringing together parliamentarians and students of parliament from several countries was held in Quebec City from October 9-12, 2002. The conference was organized by the Amicale des anciens parlementaires du Quebec and the present members of the Quebec National Assembly. There were approximately 175 participants.
The opening ceremony included a welcome from Speaker Louise Harel. Andre Boulerice, Minister for Relations with the Citizens and Immigration spoke on behalf of Premier Bernard Landry, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay spoke on behalf of the Leader of the official Opposition. Pierre de Bellefeuille, the Conference Chair and Denis Hardy, President of the Amicale des anciens parlementaires du Quebec also welcomed delegates.
The Opening session featured a presentation by Beatriz Elena Paredes Rangel, President of the House of Deputies of Mexico.
The topic for the first plenary session was "What at the Roots of the Malaise Afflicting our Democracies?" The panel consisted of Matthias Rioux, MNA, Bernard Cassen, General Manger of the Le Monde diplomatique, and Serge Cantin, Professor of Philosophy at the Universite du Quebec at Three Rivers.
The second plenary session was devoted to the question of whether parliament's decline is irreversible. The panel was made up of Professor Louis Balthazar, Denis Marshall, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Professor Alan Rosenthal of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
The third plenary session dealt with party discipline and featured Jacques Brassard, former MNA and cabinet minister, Gilles Lesage a freelance journalist in Quebec and Nathalie Rochefort, MNA.
The fourth session asked the question "Should Ministerial Responsibility be Limited". The speakers were Jean Garon, Mayor of Levis and former MNA, Victor Goldbloom, former MNA and Senator Jean-Claude Rivest.
The fifth session asked "Can Parliament be Reinvented". It featured presentations by Richard Guay, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Claude Ryan, former MNA and cabinet minister; and Caroline St-Hilaire, MP.
The sixth session looked at "Resurrecting the Citizen in the Age of the Internet". The speakers were Jacques Dufresne, philosopher and writer from Quebec and Olivier Giscard d'Estaing, Chairman of the Action Committee for a World Parliament.
The closing session featured an address by Philippe Seguin, former...