OBJECTIVE: The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) was founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association. Evolving with the Commonwealth, the CPA adopted in 1948 its present name and changed its rules to enable all member branches to participate as equals in the Association's management.
The CPA provides the primary means of regular consultation between members of the Commonwealth Parliaments. As the parliamentary wing of the Commonwealth, it seeks to foster the study of and respect for parliamentary institutions. It pursues these objectives by means of annual Commonwealth parliamentary conferences and regional conferences; the interchange of delegations; seminars; and publications, notably The Parliamentarian; and through the work of the Parliamentary Information and Reference Centre in London, U.K.
STRUCTURE: Since its inception when members from five Dominion Parliaments met in London to discuss foreign policy and began talking about their shared parliamentary heritage, the CPA has mirrored the growth of the Commonwealth. It has grown to an organization of over 16,000 members in 172 parliaments and legislatures in the countries, states, provinces and territories in 51 of the Commonwealth's 54 countries.
Canada is in itself one of the CPA's regions with 14 branches composed of the provincial and territorial legislatures, and the federal Parliament. Within the Canadian Region, there is an active program of exchanges, conferences and seminars for Canadian legislators. The Canadian Region sponsors its own publication, the
Canadian Parliamentary Review.