Legislative Assembly Mace Legislative Assembly of Alberta


1999 Annual Report

Ceremonial and Security Services
Brian Hodgson, Sergeant-at-Arms

Organizational Chart for House Services

Function Statement

  • Provides security services to the Legislative Assembly
  • Provides page and messenger services to the Assembly during its sittings
  • Plans and executes ceremonial functions

The biggest change for Ceremonial and Security Services (CSS) in 1999 was the retirement of the longtime Associate Sergeant-at-Arms and the subsequent appointment of two Assistant Sergeants-at-Arms. Also of note was the role the branch played in the co-ordination of the first Mr. Speaker's Alberta Youth Parliament held in the Legislature Chamber in the spring. Throughout the year CSS continued to make security arrangements for the Legislature Chamber, precincts, and constituency offices, participate in several ceremonial events, and provide communications and protocol assistance to other branches of the Assembly.

As part of its ongoing responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the Speaker, members, visitors, and staff, CSS made improvements to security arrangements in the galleries and precincts. Branch staff provided security coverage during 62 sitting days, 46 evening sittings, and 27 committee meetings. With the assistance of visitor services, the branch spearheaded an initiative to draw visitors into the galleries during evening sittings. This resulted in a number of army and air cadet units and numerous cub, scout, and guide troops touring the Legislature Building during evening hours.

CSS visited 16 constituency offices around the province to review security arrangements. In addition, the branch was actively involved in a number of security concerns affecting MLAs and constituency office staff and acted as a liaison with various police and public security services to ensure the interests of the members and constituency office staff affected were met. There were four thefts or break-ins at constituency offices during 1999, and three new constituency alarm systems were installed. Many constituency office staff were given briefings at two meetings, one involving constituency office staff of Official Opposition MLAs, the other as part of an LAO information seminar for constituency office employees.

The most significant change in the branch this year was the retirement of Associate Sergeant-at-Arms Allen Gowler in June and the subsequent appointment of Assistant Sergeants-at-Arms Edgar Richard and William Semple in November. Mr. Gowler provided 18 years of loyal and dedicated service to the Assembly after a 26-year career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Edmonton Police Service. In other staff changes, the head page concluded her service with the Legislative Assembly and became a page for the House of Commons. Prior to the fall sittings two pages were promoted to head page and Speaker's page respectively. The Sergeant-at-Arms was involved in the interview and selection process for new pages.

CSS worked with a number of model parliaments, including the Alberta Debate and Speech Association, the University of Alberta Model Parliament, the Forum for Young Albertans, and the Francophonie Jeunesse de l'Alberta and was heavily involved in the organization of Mr. Speaker's Alberta Youth Parliament.

The branch co-ordinated the page development program, which included a weekly professional development seminar and a compulsory speech competition sponsored by TransAlta corporation. All pages delivered short prepared speeches on a topic drawn from the 44th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Wellington, New Zealand: How can the Commonwealth assist in the protection and development of national and regional cultures in the face of increasingly globalized communications and entertainment? The winner, Daniel Novak, was given the unanimous consent of the Assembly to deliver his award-winning speech to MLAs in the House during an afternoon sitting.

CSS planned and executed a number of ceremonial events including the laying up of the 418 (City of Edmonton) Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force standard, the presentation of Alberta flags and ceremonies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Medicine Hat Police Service, the Royal Canadian Legion presentation of poppies, the annual Remembrance Day service, and the celebration of Eid Al-Adha. The branch provided information on a variety of protocol matters to a diverse number of groups, organizations, and individual Albertans.

In June the branch lent advice and support to the Canadian Forces Reserve recognition day, which involved a parade on the Legislature grounds. This event paid tribute to the contributions reservists make to province and country. The branch worked with Justice department officials and representatives from various police services and organizations to organize the first annual Peace Officers' Memorial Day in September. The memorial, co-ordinated by the Department of Justice, is to be held annually to commemorate the police and peace officers who have died in the line of duty.

Following an earlier commitment, the branch produced the first ever newsletter for the Canadian Association of Sergeants-at-Arms. This initiative attracted much favourable comment from colleagues nationally and internationally. The second edition was underway at year's end. Other outreach activities in 1999 included meeting with numerous school groups, visiting dignitaries, and individuals to explain and promote Alberta's parliament.

CSS supported LAO initiatives by collaborating with other branches. The Sergeant-at-Arms worked with Human Resource Services (HRS) and Parliamentary Counsel (Counsel) on a number of human resource policy issues. Along with the Clerk, the director of Public Information, the procedural clerk, and the Royal Canadian Legion, the branch contributed to the outstanding success of the first annual Mr. Speaker's Alberta Youth Parliament, a unique event that received wide and favourable publicity.


The electronic copy of the Legislative Assembly Office Annual Report is UNOFFICIAL and is provided for information purposes only. The printed version is the OFFICIAL Annual Report.

Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Copyright (c) 2000 Legislative Assembly of Alberta