HOME > VISITOR Information > Glossary

  • A
    • Act (statute, law)
      • a Bill that has passed three readings and committee study and has received royal assent.
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    • Acting Speaker
      • a Member other than the Deputy Speaker who is called upon to take the chair in the absence of the Speaker. It is often the Deputy Chair of Committees, but any Member from any caucus may assume this role.
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    • address in reply to the Speech from the Throne
      • an address expressing the Legislature's thanks to the Lieutenant Governor for the throne speech.
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    • adjournment
      • the indefinite suspension of a debate or the sittings during a session or, at the discretion of the Speaker, the suspension of the House for a few minutes for any number of reasons; for example, when the business of the House is briefly adjourned before the Budget Address.
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    • Administrator
      • the Chief Justice of Alberta or designate who assumes the powers of the Lieutenant Governor in the event of the latter's incapacity to serve. The Administrator may read the throne speech and grant royal assent to Bills.
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    • Amendment
      • an alteration proposed or made in a motion or Bill. It must take the form of a proposal either to insert certain words in the motion or Bill, to leave out certain words or to leave out certain words and to substitute others.
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    • appropriation
      • a sum of money allocated by the Legislature for a specific purpose outlined in the government's spending estimates.
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    • appropriation bill
      • a Bill requesting the Assembly to approve the government's spending of public funds.
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    • Auditor General
      • the officer of the Legislature responsible for the independent examination of government spending and management practices. The officer reports to the Legislative Assembly, and the officer's budget is scrutinized by the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.
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  • B
    • backbencher (private member)
      • a member who is not in cabinet. Private Members are often called backbenchers because in an Assembly they traditionally sit in the back rows.
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    • bell
      • an electronic bell used to summon Members at the beginning of a sitting, for the taking of a vote or because the House lacks a quorum. When used with respect to a vote, it is a called a division bell.
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    • bicameral
      • a two-Chamber system of government. Canada's Parliament is bicameral, consisting of the House of Commons and the Senate. Each of Canada's provincial Legislatures is unicameral, having only one legislative Chamber.
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    • bill
      • a proposed law. To become law, a Bill must pass three readings and committee study and be given royal assent. A Bill may propose an entirely new law or amend an existing one.
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    • Black Rod
      • a ceremonial baton the Sergeant-at-Arms uses when accompanying the Lieutenant Governor on such occasions as Royal Assent or the Speech from the Throne.
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    • Blues
      • the unofficial transcript of proceedings of the House or any of its committees.
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    • budget
      • the government's estimated income and expenses for a fiscal year. Alberta's fiscal year is from April 1 to March 31.
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    • Budget Address
      • the speech made in the House introducing the government's fiscal plans for the coming year.
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    • by-election
      • an election held to fill a vacancy arising during a Legislature.
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  • C
    • cabinet (Executive Council, the government)
      • the executive branch of government, including the heads of government departments, led by the Premier and chosen from among elected members of the party holding the majority of seats in the Assembly. Cabinet is responsible for the administration of the government and the establishment of its policy.
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    • cabinet minister
      • a member of the executive chosen from among existing Members of the governing party; the head of a government department.
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    • cabinet policy committee (CPC)
      • a form of government committee comprised of members of the government caucus that meets to hear the views of those interested in particular issues and to recommend policies to Executive Council.
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    • caucus
      • all the elected members from one political party; a private meeting of this group.
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    • chair
      • the presiding officer at a meeting of the House, whether the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Acting Speaker, or at a committee, whose duties are in general to call upon Members to speak, to put the question, to preserve order in debate and to ensure the due observance of the rules.
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    • Chair of Committees (Deputy Speaker)
      • the member elected by the House at the beginning of each Legislature to serve as Deputy Speaker and preside over Committee of the Whole and Committee of Supply.
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    • chair′s ruling
      • the decision of the chair on the procedural acceptability of a matter before a committee of the whole House. Rulings range from reminders to members not to speak out of turn to complex questions of parliamentary privilege and may serve as precedents for future proceedings.
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    • Chamber
      • the room where the Legislative Assembly holds its sittings.
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    • Chief Electoral Officer
      • the officer of the Legislature responsible for the administration of provincial general elections and by-elections. The officer reports to the Legislative Assembly, and the officer's budget is scrutinized by the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.
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    • Clerk of the Assembly
      • the chief permanent officer of the Legislative Assembly, who has responsibility for keeping the Assembly's records and providing procedural advice and administrative support to the Speaker and Members. This position manages the Legislative Assembly Office and is equivalent to a Deputy Minister of a government department.
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    • Clerk Assistant and Director of House Services
      • the Table Officer responsible for assisting the Clerk, the safekeeping of documents of the Assembly and its committees and providing administrative support to all committees of the Legislature. This position substitutes for the Clerk in his absence.
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    • Clerk of Journals/Table Research
      • The Table Officer responsible for producing the Order Paper and Votes and Proceedings.
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    • Committee of Supply
      • the committee of all Members of the Legislative Assembly that meets to discuss the government's interim and supplementary budget estimates in detail and vote on the main budget estimates. It is presided over by the Chair of Committees or designate.
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    • Committee of the Whole
      • the committee of all Members of the Legislative Assembly that meets to discuss specific clauses of a Bill. Amendments to the contents of Bills are considered during this stage. The committee meets after second reading and before third reading and is presided over by the Chair of Committees or designate.
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    • committees of the whole House
      • committees comprised of all Members of the House; that is, Committee of the Whole and Committee of Supply.
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    • constituency
      • one of the voting districts into which the province is divided. The voters of each constituency elect one MLA to represent the interests of that area in the Legislative Assembly. Constituency boundary lines are examined every few years by a special body called the Electoral Boundaries Commission, which may set out changes.
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    • cross the floor
      • to change political allegiance in the Legislative Assembly. A Member usually crosses the floor to take a seat as an independent or among Members of his or her new party.
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    • Crown
      • Her Majesty the Queen in her role as head of state. The Queen is represented provincially by the Lieutenant Governor and federally by the Governor General.
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  • D
    • debate
      • debate may only take place in the House when a motion has been made and a question has been proposed from the chair.
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    • department (ministry)
      • a cabinet minister's area of responsibility, or portfolio, and the people who work for the department. The minister, who is head of the department, is a member of Executive Cabinet.
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    • Deputy Chair of Committees
      • the Member elected by secret ballot of the House at the beginning of each Legislature to replace the Chair of Committees when necessary and assume the role of Acting Speaker when required.
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    • Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees
      • the Member elected by secret ballot of the House at the beginning of each Legislature to replace the Speaker when necessary and serve as Chair of Committees.
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    • dissolution
      • the end of a Legislature either at the conclusion of its five-year term or by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor at the Premier's request. It is followed by a general election.
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    • division
      • a standing vote occurring in the Assembly or in the committees of the whole House when three or more Members stand after the Speaker or chair announces the results of a voice vote. The Members divide into two groups, the yeas and the nays, to establish a record of the vote. The division bell is rung to call all Members to the Chamber, and the recorded vote generally takes place 10 minutes later.
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  • E
    • emergency debate (debate under Standing Order 30)
      • a debate to discuss a matter of urgent public importance. The debate continues until all Members who wish to speak have spoken or the normal adjournment time is reached. No decision of the House results from this debate.
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    • estimates
      • the proposed expenditures for each government department, consisting of main estimates, tabled annually, and supplementary and interim estimates, tabled as required.
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    • Ethics Commissioner
      • the officer of the Legislative Assembly responsible for carrying out investigations and providing advice to Members regarding conflicts of interest. The officer reports to the Legislative Assembly, and the officer's budget is scrutinized by the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.
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    • Executive Council (cabinet, the government)
      • the executive branch, consisting primarily of the heads of government departments. Executive Council, headed by the Premier, is chosen from among elected Members of the party holding the majority of the seats in the Assembly. Executive Council is responsible for the administration of the government and the establishment of its policy.
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  • F
    • filibuster
      • a tactic to delay the business of the House; for example, by the use of excessively long speeches. Filibusters can be limited by the use of the rules of the Assembly.
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    • first reading (Introduction of Bills)
      • the first stage in the passage of a Bill. At this stage the Member making the motion for first reading gives a brief description and explanation of the Bill. No debate is allowed at this stage.
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  • G
    • general election
      • an election usually held at regular intervals in which candidates are elected in the constituencies of a nation or province. The Legislative Assembly Act requires that a provincial election be held at least once every five years, however, they usually are held more often.
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    • general revenue fund
      • the fund consisting of revenue generated from taxation and royalties. Its expenditures are approved by the Legislative Assembly during the estimates process.
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    • government
      • in the parliamentary sense the cabinet, or Executive Council, headed by the Premier.
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    • government Bills
      • Bills proposing laws which, if passed, will govern certain areas of our society. Before they are introduced, these Bills are approved by cabinet. Although they are sometimes amended, they nearly always pass because they are supported by the caucus with the majority of Members in the Assembly.
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    • Government Bills and Orders
      • the order of business when Members deal with Government business such as Government Motions, Bills, etc.
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    • Government House Leader
      • the government Member responsible for managing the government's business in the House, including the negotiation of scheduling with the House leaders of the opposition caucuses.
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    • government Members
      • Members belonging to the government party.
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    • government motions
      • Resolutions sponsored by Ministers which provide a way for the government to promote or clarify its policies, establish procedures, appoint officers of the Legislative Assembly, set up special committees or guide the order of business. They are not proposals for laws.
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  • H
    • Hansard
      • the official, substantially verbatim record of parliamentary debates and proceedings. Hansard is the name of the British family originally responsible for publishing the proceedings of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. Most Commonwealth jurisdictions produce a Hansard.
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    • Her Majesty′s Loyal Opposition (Official Opposition)
      • the party having the second-largest number of seats in the Assembly. It receives financial and procedural advantages over other opposition parties.
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    • hoist amendment
      • an amendment that defers second or third reading of a bill for a specified period of time.
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    • House
      • the Legislative Assembly; also used to refer to the Chamber.
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    • House leader
      • the Member of a caucus responsible for managing its business in the House.
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  • I
    • In camera
      • in private. When a committee meets in camera, the public is excluded and there is no Hansard transcription of that portion of the meeting. The committee passes a motion to go in camera and passes a motion to return to an open meeting.
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    • independent Member
      • a Member who is not a Member of a recognized political party. The person may be elected as an independent or may leave or be expelled from a party during the course of a Legislature to sit as an independent.
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    • Information and Privacy Commissioner
      • the officer of the Legislature responsible for administering the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The officer reports to the Legislative Assembly, and the officer's budget is scrutinized by the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.
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    • intersessional deposit
      • during an adjournment of more than 14 days any return, report or other periodic statement that is to be laid before the Assembly in accordance with an Act or resolution of the Assembly may be deposited with the Clerk and will be deemed to have been laid before the Assembly on the day it was deposited.
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    • Introduction of Bills (first reading)
      • the order of business when MLAs introduce bills. At this stage the Member introducing the bill gives a brief description of the bill and explains its purpose. No debate is allowed at this stage.
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    • Introduction of Guests
      • the order of business when MLAs introduce groups of students and other guests who are present in the galleries. Guests are generally seated in the public and Members' galleries.
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    • Introduction of Visitors
      • the order of business when MLAs introduce parliamentarians, diplomats and other official visitors who are present in the galleries. Visitors are generally seated in the Speaker's gallery.
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  • J
    • Journals
      • the complete, official, indexed record of a session. The Journals are compiled from the daily Votes and Proceedings of a session, incorporating any corrections and published in bound form under the authority of the Speaker.
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  • L
    • Legislative Assembly Office (LAO)
      • the independent, nonpartisan office, headed by the Speaker, responsible for providing services to all MLAs and the public, including recordkeeping, research, accounting, administration and electronic data processing. The Speaker is not a Member of cabinet, and the office is not a government department.
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    • Law (Act, statute)
      • a Bill that has passed three readings and committee study and received royal assent.
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    • Leader of the Official Opposition (Leader of Her Majesty'´s Loyal Opposition)
      • the leader of the party designated as the Official Opposition in the House.
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    • legislation
      • laws enacted by the authority of a legislative body.
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    • Legislative Assembly
      • a law-making body of elected representatives; sometimes called the House.
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    • Legislative Counsel
      • the branch of the Justice department responsible for drafting government legislation.
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    • legislative officer
      • an officer responsible to the Assembly, through the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices, for the carrying out of duties assigned by statute. Among those included in the designation are the Auditor General, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Ethics Commissioner, the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Ombudsman.
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    • legislative policy committees
      • all-party standing committees of Members of the Legislative Assembly, legislative policy committees may discuss bills and regulations that have been referred to them, review the main budget estimates of departments, or meet on their own initiative to consider issues within their mandates.
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    • Legislature
      • the law-making body in Canadian provinces consisting of the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly. Each general election results in a new Legislature.
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    • Lieutenant Governor
      • the provincial representative of the monarch and the head of state, a largely ceremonial position. The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Prime Minister for a five-year term and delivers the Speech from the Throne, grants royal assent, and approves orders in council.
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    • Lieutenant Governor in Council
      • consists of Lieutenant Governor and members of Executive Council, or cabinet.
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    • lottery fund
      • the fund consisting of revenue generated from gaming and lotteries. The fund is administered by the Gaming and Liquor Commission, and its expenditures are approved by the Legislative Assembly and disbursed through the commission.
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  • M
    • Mace
      • the ceremonial staff carried into the Assembly each day by the Sergeant-at-Arms at the beginning of a sitting. It is the symbol of the authority of the Legislative Assembly to make laws on behalf of the people. When the Assembly is sitting, the Sergeant-at-Arms places the Mace on the Table with the orb and cross facing the government side of the Chamber. When the Speaker leaves the chair and the Assembly sits as a committee of the whole House, the Mace is moved to brackets on the underside of the table.
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    • maiden speech
      • the first speech made in the House by a new Member.
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    • main estimates
      • the detailed spending proposals for each government department for the coming fiscal year.
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    • Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)
      • a person elected to the Legislative Assembly to represent one of Alberta's electoral districts.
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    • Members′ Gallery
      • one of two public galleries where guests can view the Chamber. The Members' gallery is on the Speaker's left and faces the front bench of the governing party.
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    • Members′ Statements
      • the order of business when two-minute statements are made by up to six private Members on matters of concern to their constituents or themselves.
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    • messages
      • formal communications between the Lieutenant Governor and the Assembly that accompany estimates and money bills.
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    • minister (cabinet minister)
      • a Member of cabinet; head of a government department.
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    • Ministerial Statements
      • the order of business when statements are made by cabinet ministers acknowledging special events or announcing new policies, programs or directions for their departments or for the government as a whole. The Official Opposition is given an opportunity to comment on the statement.
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    • ministry (department)
      • a cabinet minister's area of responsibility, or portfolio, and the people who work for the department. The minister, who is head of the department, is a member of Executive Council.
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    • MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly)
      • a person elected to the Legislative Assembly to represent one of Alberta's electoral districts.
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    • money Bills
      • Bills proposing that public funds be spent. They must be introduced by a cabinet minister and recommended to the Assembly by the Lieutenant Governor.
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    • motion
      • a proposal made to the House by a Member that the House do something, order something or express an opinion regarding some matter.
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    • Motions for Returns
      • the order of business dealing with motions requesting cabinet ministers to produce specific documents.
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    • Motions Other than Government Motions
      • the order of business dealing with motions sponsored by private Members urging the government to take action; for example, to change a policy.
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    • motion under Standing Order 30 (emergency debate)
      • a motion requesting permission "to adjourn the ordinary business of the Assembly to discuss a matter of urgent public importance." The Speaker must rule the request to be in order, and at least 15 Members must rise to support the motion when the Speaker puts the question. Written notice must be given to the Speaker at least two hours prior to the sitting, and oral notice is given under Notices of Motions.
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    • motion under Standing Order 42
      • a motion made without notice in the case of urgent and pressing necessity. Since the Assembly's rules require notices of motions, a Member attempting to make a motion under Standing Order 42 must receive unanimous consent in order to proceed.
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  • N
    • naming a Member
      • a disciplinary procedure to maintain order in the House. If a Member disregards the authority of the chair, the Speaker may "name" that Member by using his or her personal name, after which the Member is usually suspended for the remainder of the sitting day or up to two weeks for a more serious offence.
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    • notice (on the Order Paper)
      • a portion of the Order Paper that presents all items (Bills, motions and questions) for which notice has been given. Notice appears at the back of the Order Paper.
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    • Notices of Motions
      • the order of business announcing the intention to present a motion.
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  • O
    • officers of the Assembly
      • the Clerk, Clerk Assistant, Clerk of Journals/Table Research and Parliamentary Counsel are also known as officers of the Assembly and commonly referred to as table officers.
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    • officers of the Legislature
      • the Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Ethics Commissioner, Information and Privacy Commissioner and Ombudsman. These officers report to the Legislative Assembly. Their operations and budgets are scrutinized by the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.
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    • Official Opposition (Her Majesty′s Loyal Opposition)
      • the party having the second largest number of seats in the Assembly. It receives financial and procedural advantages over other opposition parties.
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    • Ombudsman
      • the officer of the Legislature who conducts impartial investigations on receipt of written complaints from individuals who believe they have been treated unfairly by the provincial government authorities, professional organizations and the patient concerns resolution process of health authorities. The officer reports to the Legislative Assembly, and the officer's budget is scrutinized by the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices.
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    • opposition
      • the MLAs representing parties other than the governing party. Their role is to criticize government policies, suggest alternatives and make sure the public is aware of what the government is doing or plans to do.
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    • opposition House Leader
      • the Member of the opposition designated to manage Opposition business in the House, including negotiation of scheduling with the other House leaders.
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    • Oral Question Period
      • the order of business when Members ask cabinet ministers questions of current importance related to their respective responsibilities. Fifty minutes are allotted each sitting day for this item of business.
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    • order in council
      • an order issued by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. It may deal with the administration of the government, appointments to office or the disallowance or reservation of legislation.
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    • Order Paper
      • the equivalent of the daily agenda for the Legislative Assembly. It lists all items of the day's business available for consideration and it is produced daily during session.
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    • Orders of the Day
      • the items of business on the agenda which occur after the daily Routine.
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  • P
    • pages
      • Alberta high school students who are hired to assist Members and officers of the Legislative Assembly during sittings. They deliver messages and materials to MLAs in the Chamber and to offices in the Legislature Building and Annex.
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    • parliamentary assistant
      • a Member of the government named to assist a minister as a minister directs.
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    • Parliamentary Counsel
      • the Legislative Assembly Office's legal advisers. They sit at the table in the Assembly to advise the Speaker on Assembly procedure, assist in drafting private Bills and private members' public Bills and provide legal and procedural advice to MLAs, committees and other branches of the Legislative Assembly Office.
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    • petitions
      • a means for a group of people to appeal to the Legislative Assembly for some kind of action. A petition must address issues that the Assembly can do something about and may not ask for something that requires public money.
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    • point of order
      • a question raised by a Member in order to draw the presiding officer's attention to an alleged breach of the rules governing procedure.
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    • portfolio
      • the office or responsibilities of a cabinet minister.
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    • Premier
      • the leader of the party holding the most seats in the Legislative Assembly.
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    • Presenting Petitions
      • the order of business when Members may present petitions to the Assembly on behalf of groups of people who are appealing for some kind of action.
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    • Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees
      • the order of business when the chairs of the various committees appointed by the Assembly may present their committee reports.
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    • presiding officer
      • the person in the chair at a meeting of the House; that is, the Speaker or designate or, in committee, the chair.
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    • Private Bills
      • the order of business when Members deal with private Bills, which affect only the people or institutions named in them; for example, a Bill to establish a foundation. Private Bills can be introduced only by a private Member and are studied by the Standing Committee on Private Bills before being dealt with in the Assembly.
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    • private Member (backbencher)
      • any Member who is not in cabinet.
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    • private members′ business
      • bills and motions sponsored by private Members. This provides a forum for the Assembly to debate issues of importance to a private Member or that Member's constituents. Private Members' business is scheduled for Mondays under four headings on the Order Paper: Written Questions, Motions for Returns, Motions Other than Government Motions, and Public Bills and Orders Other than Government Bills and Orders.
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    • private members′ public Bills
      • bills sponsored by private Members from any party. They give Members a chance to propose policies and raise concerns in the public forum of the Assembly. These bills do not have cabinet's formal approval and cannot require the government to spend public funds.
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    • privilege, parliamentary
      • those rights granted members by parliamentary tradition that are necessary for them to do their job; for example, freedom of speech. Members cannot be sued or prosecuted for what they say in the Assembly even if they say something defamatory. Members can raise a question of privilege if they feel their privileges are not being respected or that another Member has abused a privilege; for example, by slandering a fellow Member. If the Speaker rules that a breach of privilege may have taken place, the Assembly may turn the matter over to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing, or take action itself to discipline the offender or the Member may be asked to apologize.
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    • procedural motions
      • motions that deal with routine matters such as a motion to adjourn.
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    • Projected Government Business
      • the order of business on Thursdays when the opposition House leader or designate asks the government House leader to outline the government's proposed business for the next week.
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    • prorogation
      • the formal end of a legislative session. Any motion or Bill still on the Assembly's agenda "dies on the Order Paper;" that is, it is no longer before the Assembly and must be reintroduced at the next session if Members still wish it to be considered.
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    • Provincial Secretary
      • a position held by the Minister of Justice. The Provincial Secretary is the keeper of the Great Seal of the province and issues letters patent, commissions and other documents under that seal.
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    • public gallery
      • one of the two public galleries where Members of the public may view the Chamber. The public gallery is on the Speaker's right and faces the opposition benches.
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  • Q
    • questions-and-comments Period
      • a period of five minutes at the conclusion of certain speeches during which members may ask questions or make comments. During this period the chair will usually recognize Members of parties other than that of the original speaker.
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    • quorum
      • the number of Members, including the Speaker, necessary to constitute a meeting of the House for the exercise of its powers. In the House it is set by the Standing Orders at 20; in a committee it is one-third of the committee members.
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  • R
    • reasoned amendment
      • an amendment proposing a specific reason for not passing a Bill at second or third reading.
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    • returns
      • documents required to be laid before the Assembly, usually in response to a written question or motion for a return.
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    • reversion
      • the return to an order of business in the Routine that has previously been dealt with in an afternoon or evening sitting. This can only be done with unanimous consent of the Assembly.
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    • rise and report
      • the procedure that takes place when a committee of the whole House has concluded its business and reports its progress to the Assembly.
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    • Routine, daily
      • the ordinary daily business of the House that occurs at the start of each sitting day. It includes O Canada (first sitting day of the week), Oral Question Period, Introduction of Visitors, Introduction of Guests, Ministerial Statements, Members' Statements, Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees, Presenting Petitions, Notices of Motions, Introduction of Bills, Tabling Returns and Reports, Tablings to the Clerk and Projected Government Business (Thursday).
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    • royal assent
      • the procedure by which the Lieutenant Governor or the Administrator gives final approval to a Bill. It may occur in the Chamber or in the Lieutenant Governor's suite.
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    • royal proclamation
      • an official notice issued by the Lieutenant Governor. For example, the Legislature is called into session by royal proclamation.
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    • ruling
      • the decision of the Speaker or Chair of Committees on the procedural acceptability of a matter before the House or a committee of the whole House. Rulings range from complex questions of parliamentary privilege to procedural infractions and may serve as precedents for future proceedings.
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  • S
    • second reading
      • the stage when Members debate the principle of a Bill. Detailed consideration is not given to the clauses of the Bill at this stage.
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    • select special committee
      • a committee appointed by the Legislative Assembly to consider matters referred to them by motion; for example, a search committee to appoint an officer of the Legislature. The motion that establishes a select special committee and appoints its Members also sets its terms of reference and operating authority.
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    • Sergeant-at-Arms
      • the Legislative Assembly officer in charge of security of the Assembly, MLAs, constituency offices and visitors to the Chamber. The Sergeant-at-Arms also has custody of the Mace.
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    • session
      • a series of meetings of the Legislative Assembly opened by royal proclamation and closed by prorogation. It can include spring and fall sittings. For example, the Second Session of the 27th Legislature began in February 2009 and ended in June 2009.
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    • sessional calendar
      • a calendar which presents a fixed timetable of sittings and adjournments for a given year in accordance with the provisions of the standing orders.
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    • sessional papers
      • papers are tabled in large numbers every session for the information and use of Members. Certain papers are required to be tabled by statute, others are ordered to be tabled by the House (responses to motions for return for returns and written questions) and other papers are presented voluntarily.
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    • shadow cabinet
      • the group of MLAs in each opposition caucus, especially the Official Opposition, who act as party critics for each government portfolio. Like the ministers they shadow, opposition critics hear concerns and ideas from various persons and interest groups from anywhere in the province.
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    • sittings
      • the daily meetings of the Assembly. Sittings can also refer to periods when the Legislature is meeting.
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    • Speaker
      • the MLA elected by all MLAs by secret ballot to maintain orderly debate in the Chamber and to ensure that Members conduct their business according to parliamentary rules. The Speaker must serve all MLAs equally no matter what party they belong to, and all MLAs must accept his or her authority. The Speaker is also the head of the Legislative Assembly Office. Although Speakers are not Members of cabinet and the Legislative Assembly Office is not a government department, the Speaker's administrative duties are similar to those of a cabinet minister. The Speaker also chairs the all-party Standing Committee on Members' Services.
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    • Speaker´s gallery
      • the gallery facing the Speaker. Visiting parliamentarians, diplomats and others may be invited by the Speaker to sit in this gallery.
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    • Speaker´s statements
      • formal statements made by the Speaker about House procedure or any other matter under the Speaker's jurisdiction.
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    • Speech from the Throne
      • the address delivered by the Lieutenant Governor which opens each new session and outlines the government's initiatives and law-making plans for the session.
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    • standing committee
      • all-party committees of MLAs mandated by standing orders. There are currently 11 standing committees: the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund; Legislative Offices; Members' Services, which is a special standing committee; Private Bills; Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing; Public Accounts; Community Services; Health; Public Safety and Services; Resources and Environment; and the Economy. All standing committees are appointed for the life of a Legislature; however, membership changes may be made by government motion at any time.
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    • Standing Committee on Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Committee
      • A standing committee of the Legislative Assembly which reviews and approves the fund's annual performance, business plan and annual report. The committee receives and reviews the quarterly reports on the fund's operations and results, holds public meetings with Albertans to report on investment activities and results and reports to the Legislature on whether the mission of the fund is being fulfilled.
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    • Standing Committee on Legislative Offices
      • the standing committee of the Legislative Assembly responsible for governing the operation of the offices of the Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Ethics Commissioner, Information and Privacy Commissioner and Ombudsman.
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    • Special Standing Committee on Members′ Services
      • the special standing committee of the Legislative Assembly responsible for approving the estimates of the Legislative Assembly Office. This committee also sets Members' allowances, constituency office allowances, and Members' benefits and establishes staff and financing policies for the Legislative Assembly Office. The Speaker is the chair.
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    • Standing Committee on Private Bills
      • the standing committee of the Assembly that studies private bills. It meets only when the House is in session.
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    • Standing Committee on Public Accounts
      • the standing committee of the Assembly that reviews the annual report of the Auditor General of Alberta and the public accounts of the province.
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    • standing orders
      • the written rules adopted by the House to govern its meeting times, order of business and rules of debate.
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    • statute (law, Act)
      • a Bill that has passed three readings and committee study and has received royal assent.
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    • strangers
      • in the parliamentary vocabulary all persons who are not either Members or officers of the Assembly. Security staff, pages and certain members of the media are also permitted on the floor of the Chamber. Strangers may observe the proceedings of the House by gaining access to the galleries.
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    • sub judice convention
      • a voluntary restraint imposed by the House upon itself whereby a Member is expected not to refer to any matter pending in a court or before a judge for judicial determination.
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    • substantive motion
      • an independent motion, complete in itself; for example, a motion to establish a special committee. A substantive motion is amendable and expresses a decision of the House.
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    • supplementary estimates
      • an expenditure proposal introduced to provide funds to the government to meet new or increased costs.
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    • supply
      • revenue provided by the Assembly to the government.
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  • T
    • table
      • To place a document before the House or a committee. The table of the House occupies the space in front of the dais on which the Speaker's chair rests and is between the two front benches. All documents presented to the House are laid on the table, and notices from Members may be sent to the table.
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    • table officers
      • employees of the Legislative Assembly Office who provide procedural advice during sittings of the House, keep the minutes of the proceedings and record the votes. They include the Clerk, Clerk Assistant, Clerk of Journals/Table research, and Parliamentary Counsel.
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    • Tabling Returns and Reports
      • the order of business when various documents may be tabled in the Assembly. These include responses to written questions previously accepted by ministers, returns ordered under Motions for Returns and all reports required by statute. Members may also present voluntary tablings under this order of business.
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    • Tablings to the Clerk
      • the order of business when the Clerk reads the titles of tablings that have been provided to him before 11 a.m. any day the Assembly sits and that are deemed to be in order to be read.
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    • third party
      • a political party in the House that has fewer Members than the Official Opposition.
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    • third-party House leader
      • the leader of the political party in the House that has fewer Members than the Official Opposition.
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    • third reading
      • the final stage of consideration of a bill which is either approved as a whole or defeated.
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    • throne speech (Speech from the Throne)
      • the address delivered by the Lieutenant Governor which opens each new session and outlines the government's initiatives and law-making plans for the session.
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    • time allocation motion
      • a motion to limit debate. It prevents further adjournment of debate on a motion or stage of a bill and requires one sitting day's notice.
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    • Treasury Board
      • a legislated government committee that formulates general management policies relating to Crown and provincial agencies.
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  • U
    • unicameral
      • having only one legislative Chamber. Each of Canada's provincial Legislatures is unicameral.
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    • unanimous consent
      • the consent of all the Members present in the House that is required when the House wishes to set aside its rules or usual practices without notice. Actions taken by unanimous consent do not constitute precedents.
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    • unparliamentary language
      • words or expressions which, because they make improper accusations or imputations against a Member or by reason of their abusive nature, ought not to be used in debate are termed unparliamentary. The use of such language is a breach of order.
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  • V
    • Vote
      • a formal expression by an individual of his or her will or opinion in regard to some question put from the chair. Decisions of the House were formerly often referred to as votes, hence the title of Votes and Proceedings. Each class of the estimates is divided into a number of headings known as votes and are voted upon separately.
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    • Votes and Proceedings
      • the official record of the Assembly's daily business, similar to minutes; the record of what was done rather than what was said.
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  • W
    • whip
      • a Member responsible for keeping other Members of her or his party informed concerning House business and ensuring their attendance in the House, especially when a vote is anticipated.
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    • Written Questions
      • the order of business designed for questions that are either not sufficiently urgent to qualify as oral questions or require lengthy or complex answers.
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