The Official Opposition

The party with the second largest number of seats in the Assembly forms the Official Opposition, which is formally known as Her Majesty′s Loyal Opposition. The party receives financial and procedural advantages over other opposition parties and its leader is the Leader of the Official Opposition.

Roles and Responsibilities

The opposition serves as a critical check on the government, questioning its policies and suggesting alternatives. The role of the opposition is to criticize government activity, hold the government accountable, propose improvements and present itself to the public as an alternative to the party in office.

The Shadow Cabinet

Opposition parties assign some of their MLAs to be critics of specific departments; this group of opposition critics is known as a shadow cabinet. Critics may have more than one Minister to shadow and would have to be familiar with the policies, practices and plans of each ministry. Opposition critics, like the Ministers they shadow, hear concerns and ideas from various persons and interest groups from anywhere in the province.

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In the Assembly Opposition MLAs sit across from cabinet.

They question cabinet through a number of parliamentary conventions. Opposition MLAs and private government Members ask Cabinet Ministers questions about government activity during Oral Question Period at 1:50 p.m. daily for 50 minutes. They can also use written questions and motions for returns to gain further insight into issues.

The Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta is currently Rachel Notley, pictured here.


Written questions are submitted to Cabinet Ministers usually from opposition party Members. 
MOTIONS FOR RETURNS ARE REQUESTS, USUALLY FROM OPPOSITION MEMBERS, FOR DOCUMENTS FROM CABINET MINISTERS, OFTEN FOR DETAILED INFORMATION ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES.

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