The suspension of debate in the Assembly to another time. A motion to adjourn the debate may be made by any Member who has not exhausted his or her right to speak and who has been recognized by the Speaker. This motion is not debatable.
An alteration proposed for or made to a motion or Bill.
A sum of money allocated by the Legislature for a specific purpose outlined in the government’s spending estimates.
Any MLA who is not a member of cabinet. Also known as a private Member.
A two-House system of government. Canada’s Parliament is bicameral, meaning it has a House of Commons and a Senate.
A proposed law. To become law, a Bill must pass three readings, committee study and be given royal assent. A Bill may propose an entirely new law or change an existing one.
A ceremonial baton the Sergeant-at-Arms carries only when escorting the Sovereign, a Governor General and, more routinely, the Lieutenant Governor into the Chamber for the throne speech or royal assent.
Breach of privilege
See parliamentary privilege.
The government’s estimated revenue and expenses for a fiscal year. Alberta’s fiscal year is from April 1 to March 31.
The speech made in the House by the Minister responsible for finance, introducing the government’s fiscal plans for the coming year.
A debate on a motion approving the government’s budgetary policy. The motion is moved by the Minister of Finance following the presentation of the Budget Address.
A law made by a municipal government.
Cabinet (Executive Council)
The executive branch of government, including the heads of government ministries. The Premier is the head of the cabinet and chooses Cabinet Ministers from among elected Members of his or her party, which holds the majority of seats in the Assembly. Cabinet is responsible for the administration of the government and the establishment of its policies.
The head of a government ministry; a Member of cabinet; a member of the Executive Council as chosen by the Premier from among existing Members of the governing party; sworn in by the Lieutenant Governor.
All of the elected Members from one political party; a private meeting of this group.
The room where the Legislative Assembly holds its sittings.
People who work for government ministries.
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
The permanent chief officer responsible for keeping the Assembly’s records and providing procedural advice and administrative support to the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly and secretary of the Alberta branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. This position has administrative responsibility in the Legislative Assembly Office equivalent to that of a deputy minister of a government department.
A body of Members selected to consider such matters as the Assembly may refer to it or empower it to examine, including Bills.
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. The government main budget estimates are reviewed by policy field committees.
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.
A voting district. In Alberta there are 87 constituencies; each elects one Member of the Legislative Assembly.
The supreme law of a country. The Canadian Constitution is made up of the British North America Act, 1867 (now called the Constitution Act, 1867) and its amendments; all the Acts and orders which gave Canada new territories and created its provinces; the Constitution Act, 1982; and unwritten customs called conventions.
A system of government in which the supreme law is the nation’s Constitution but the formal head of state is a monarch, represented in Canada by the Governor General and in Alberta by the Lieutenant Governor.
The initial part of the Assembly’s proceedings that includes Oral Question Period.
A Cabinet Minister’s primary delivery entity for which most spending must be voted by the Legislative Assembly.
A Member chosen to serve as a replacement for the Chair of Committees during the latter’s absence, including taking on the role of Acting Speaker when required.
The means by which a Legislature comes to an end before an election. The Lieutenant Governor dissolves the Legislature on the Premier’s request.
When three or more Members stand to challenge the Speaker’s opinion on whether the ayes or the noes have the majority following a question, the Assembly divides so that the exact balance of opinion may be determined. Members’ names are recorded in the Votes and Proceedings following a division. Also known as a standing vote.
The proposed expenditures for each government department, consisting of main estimates, tabled annually, and supplementary and interim estimates, tabled as required.
The Members of cabinet; headed by the Premier who chooses Cabinet Ministers from among elected Members of his or her party, which holds the majority of seats in the Assembly.
A system of government with two levels that share responsibilities. The national level of government looks after national concerns (currency, defence, monetary policy and so on) while the provincial or state level looks after regional concerns (health, education and so on). Examples of federations include Canada, Australia and the United States.
Prolonged debate by a minority to delay or prevent a government motion or a government Bill from passing, the hope being that the majority will either grant concessions or withdraw the Bill or motion. The government can end the filibuster by moving time allocation, a motion for the purpose of allotting a specified number of hours for consideration and disposal of proceedings.
In the parliamentary sense the cabinet, or Executive Council, headed by the Premier. To remain in office, the government must have the support of a majority of Members in the Assembly.
The official report of the debates of the Legislative Assembly, named for the family that started publishing nonpartisan reports of parliamentary deliberations in London in the early 1800s.
Head of government
Chief officer of the executive branch of government, presiding over a cabinet. In the case of a provincial Legislature the head of government is the Premier.
Head of state
Chief public representative of a nation with duties granted by a Constitution. As Canada is a constitutional monarchy, the head of state is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, represented in Alberta by the Lieutenant Governor. The role of the head of state in Canada includes ceremonial, social and constitutional duties.
An amendment at second or third reading of a Bill that, if passed, results in the Bill not proceeding any further.
The Legislative Assembly; also refers to the Chamber in which it meets.
Not favouring one side or the other.
Introduction of Bills (first reading)
The order of business when a Member introduces a Bill. A Bill is not debatable at this stage.
Journals of the Assembly
The official record of the proceedings of the House, prepared under the authority of the Clerk. The Journals are compiled by the Bills and Journals Clerk.
Leader of the Official Opposition
The leader of the political party holding the second-largest number of seats in the Assembly.
A law-making body of elected representatives; sometimes called the House.
Legislative Assembly Office (LAO)
The independent, nonpartisan office responsible for providing services to all MLAs, including record keeping, research, accounting, administration, electronic data processing and public outreach support. The Legislative Assembly Office is headed by the Speaker.
Legislative Policy Committee
A standing committees which is set up to examine particular issues.
A law-making body consisting, in Canadian provinces, of the Lieutenant Governor (constitutional head of state and monarch’s representative) and the Legislative Assembly (the elected representatives). Each election results in a new Legislature.
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.
The ceremonial staff that symbolizes the authority of the Legislature to make laws on behalf of the people. The Assembly cannot meet unless it is present. The Mace rests on the table in the Chamber.
A government formed by the party or the coalition of parties holding the majority of seats in the Assembly.
A Cabinet Minister’s complete area of responsibility (or portfolio) as defined by legislation. Each ministry consists of a department and, in many cases, several regulated funds and agencies. The Legislative Assembly does not vote on spending by regulated funds and agencies.
A government formed by a party which does not hold a majority of the seats in the House, possibly in a coalition with one or more other parties.
Member of the Legislative Assembly; a person elected to the Legislative Assembly to represent one of Alberta’s electoral districts.
A proposal made to the Assembly by a Member that the House do something, order something to be done or express an opinion with regard to some matter.
The party having the second-largest number of seats in the Assembly, known officially as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
The MLAs representing parties other than the governing party. The role of the opposition is to criticize government policies, suggest alternatives and make sure the public is aware of what the government is doing or plans to do. Opposition MLAs sit across from the cabinet in the Chamber.
The Order Paper is an Assembly document prepared for each sitting day that lists the items of business that may be considered by the Assembly.
Alberta high school and first-year university students hired to help Members during sittings of the Assembly. They deliver messages and materials to MLAs in the Chamber and to offices in the Legislature Building and the Edmonton Federal Building.
A Legislature. Under our Constitution Canada’s Parliament consists of the Governor General (the monarch’s representative at the federal level) and two Houses: an appointed upper House, called the Senate, and an elected lower House, called the House of Commons.
Those rights and immunities enjoyed by the House as a collectivity and by each Member individually without which Members could not carry out their duties and the House could not fulfill its functions.
The rules by which the House conducts its business, based on statutes, the standing orders, authoritative procedural works, precedents and tradition.
Parliamentary system of government
A system of government in which the cabinet is appointed from among elected Members of an Assembly. The cabinet holds power, but in order for it to remain in power, its major decisions must be supported by a majority in the Assembly.
A person who supports a political party or cause over other parties or causes.
A means for a group of people to appeal to the Legislative Assembly for some kind of action.
A group of people who hold similar political aims and opinions who have organized, usually to contest elections so that they might form a government.
A Speaker’s ruling or a practice of the House taken as a rule for subsequent cases of a similar nature. Not all decisions and practices constitute precedents.
The leader of the party commanding a majority of support of elected Members in the Assembly.
Any MLA who is not a member of cabinet. Also known as a backbencher.
The act that brings the end to a session of the Legislature. Prorogation normally occurs immediately before a new session of the Legislature begins.
Question of privilege
See parliamentary privilege.
Stages through which a Bill must pass in its progress in the House. The Bill is introduced at first reading and may be debated at second and third readings.
A type of amendment that, if passed, results in a Bill not proceeding any further.
The administrative details of an Act. They are not included in the Act itself. Members of the Legislative Assembly must approve an Act before it can become law while regulations are approved by the Minister and/or the department responsible for enforcing the Act.
The principle that Ministers are collectively responsible to the Assembly for actions of the government.
A ceremony in which the monarch’s representative at the provincial level, the Lieutenant Governor, gives final approval to a Bill. It may occur in the Chamber or in the Lieutenant Governor’s suite.
The Sergeant-at-Arms is the principal security and protocol adviser to the Speaker, MLAs, constituency staff and Legislative Assembly Office (LAO) employees and liaises with external intelligence, public safety and security organizations. The Sergeant-at-Arms also has custody of the Mace and the Black Rod.
A series of meetings of the Legislative Assembly opened by royal proclamation and closed by prorogation. When the session is divided into spring and fall periods, these periods are called sittings, as are the daily meetings of the Assembly. Under the Constitution the Legislature must hold at least one session each year, and the interval between the last sitting day of one session and the first sitting day of the next can be no longer than 12 months.
The impartial presiding officer of the Assembly who maintains order and rules on procedural issues. The Speaker is a Member of the Legislative Assembly who has been elected to the position by all MLAs by secret ballot. 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 has administrative responsibility in the Legislative Assembly Office equivalent to that of a cabinet minister but is not a member of cabinet. The Speaker also chairs the all-party Standing Committee on Members’ Services.
Speech from the Throne
The address delivered by the Lieutenant Governor that opens each new session and outlines the government’s initiatives and law-making plans for the session. Also known as the throne speech.
Standing committees of the Assembly
Committees established in the standing orders of the Assembly or the life of a Legislature.
The written rules or protocols that govern the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and its committees.
A law. A Bill is called a statute once it receives royal assent.
All persons who are neither Members nor officers of the Assembly. Strangers may observe the proceedings of the House from the public gallery.
An expenditure proposal introduced to provide funds to the government to meet new or increased costs.
The provision of money to the Crown for public services.
Table officers provide procedural advice to the Speaker, presiding officers and Members of the Legislative Assembly during sittings of the Assembly.
Time allocation (formerly closure)
A measure used by the government to limit time for debate on a Bill.
Having only one legislative Chamber. Each of Canada’s provincial Legislatures is unicameral.
Votes and Proceedings
The title of the daily record or minutes of the House. The Votes and Proceedings are a record of the House’s proceedings and, when combined, constitute the Journals, which are the formal and permanent record of the proceedings of the Assembly.
A Member charged with keeping the other Members of the same party informed concerning Assembly business and ensuring their attendance in the Chamber or in committee, especially when a vote is anticipated.