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Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association


Ms. Alexandra Mendès M.P. attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Working Group on Status meeting in London, United Kingdom, on behalf of the Canadian Branch of the CPA from June 8 to 11, 2018.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretariat (CPA) hosted the CPA Working Group on Status in London, UK for members to discuss the status of the Association, at the request of the Executive Committee following its last meeting in Mauritius in March 2018.

The Working Group’s Report provides the proposed Application to the UK Government. This comprises a ‘Business Case’ setting out the basis for a change of status. Subject to the agreement of the Executive Committee, this Business Case will be submitted to the UK Government by the end of 2018.


It is recommended that the Executive Committee:

Approves the proposed application comprising the ‘Business Case’ to the UK Government for a change of status of the Association and agrees that it should be submitted to the UK Government by the end of 2018.

Agrees ‘in principle to establish a Governance Working Group that will meet in 2019 to discuss the proposed new governance arrangements.


On the issue of the Association’s status, the Executive Committee at its last meeting in Mauritius in March 2018 recommended the establishment of a small Advisory Working Group to be composed of the Secretary-General and some former members of the 2017 Working Group on Status, namely, the representatives from Africa (Hon. Justice Muturi), BIMR (Hon. Roberta Blackman-Woods), Canada (Hon. Alexandra Mendes) and South-East Asia (Hon. Kiandee). The Hon. CPA Treasurer Mrs. Dunne would serve as an Ex officio Member. Legal and financial experts would also be co-opted to the group to provide expert advice. The terms of Reference provided that the Working Group prepare a business case for reconstituting the change of status to be submitted to the UK Government through the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee agreed that any associated costs of constituting the Advisory Group, including travel to CPA Headquarters Secretariat to meet, would be borne from the 2018 budget.

It was also informally discussed that another Working Group would need to be established after the business case is established and submitted to look at the constitutional implications, including drafting the necessary constitutional reforms flowing from the change of status.

Development of the Business Case

A meeting of the co-opted Members of the CPA Expert Committee on Status took place in London on June 9th, 2018 and all the co-opted members agreed by the Executive Committee were in attendance except Hon. Kiandee (SE Asia) who was unable to confirm his attendance:

1. Africa Region (Hon. Justice Muturi),

2. British Islands and Mediterranean Region (Hon. Roberta Blackman-Woods),

3. Canada (Ms. Alexandra Mendes)

4. Australia (Hon Russell Wortley)

5. The Hon. CPA Treasurer Mrs. Dunne - an Ex officio Member.

The Working Group, under the chairperson Hon Wortley, held a very constructive and collegial meeting and considerable progress was made in identifying the way forward and the content of the ‘business case’ required by the UK Government.

Following the meeting the Secretary-General worked with the CPA external lawyer and Dr. Roberta Blackman Woods, MP (UK), to prepare the draft of the business case taking into account the very useful steer from Dr. Blackman Woods as to how to frame and position the submission so that it is best received by the UK Government, bearing in mind that the consistent position of the UK Government is that it will not be able to look at the CPA request until after BREXIT which is at end of March 2019.

The proposed ‘Business Case’ agreed by the Working Group for reconstituting the CPA from a UK charity to an international inter-parliamentary organisation to be submitted to the UK Government, subject to agreement of the Executive Committee is attached at Annex A.

In addition, the CPA UK Branch has established a small core group under CPA UK Chairperson, Hon. James Duddridge, MP to champion the business case across Westminster once it is submitted to the UK Government.

Next Steps

After the Executive Committee considers and approves the proposed application to the UK Government for a change of status of the Association, the business case will to be submitted by the Hon CPA Chairperson to the UK Government via the Minister responsible for the Commonwealth and United Nations, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Governance Working Group

The Secretary-General proposes that another working group will need to be established in 2019 to draft the new governance arrangements that will sit under the new international legal structure. Accordingly, the Executive Committee is respectfully requested to give an ‘in principle’ agreement to establish a Governance Working Group that will meet sometime in 2019.

The exact modalities and Terms of Reference of the Working Group will be submitted to the Executive Committee at its mid-year meeting in 2019. The reason for the deferral being that it would be premature at this meeting to define the Terms of Reference for the new Governance Working Group in advance of a response and reaction of the UK Government on the business case being received by the CPA. At that point it is submitted that the CPA will be in a much better position to frame the Terms of Reference. In anticipation of establishing the Governance Working Group in 2019 a financial provision has been included in the Draft 2019 budget.

Respectfully submitted,

Yasmin Ratansi, M.P.
Chair of the Canadian Branch of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)