The Role of a Member

Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) represent people from one of Alberta's 87 constituencies for the term of a Legislature.

Albertans expect and deserve the highest standard of public service from their elected representatives. Steadfast in their duty, MLAs spend their time in office working hard to warrant and maintain that trust and confidence. MLAs advocate for their constituents on provincial issues.

The role of an MLA includes many different roles and responsibilities. Representing constituents in the Assembly is arguably the most visible aspect of the job, but MLAs invest countless hours in the communities they serve and advocate on behalf of Albertans through many channels.


A Day In the Life of an MLA

On any given day an MLA may speak in the Assembly, meet with community representatives in their constituency, study background on an issue, facilitate complex policy discussions, deliver remarks as a guest speaker, troubleshoot negotiations and act as a goodwill ambassador for their constituency, the Legislative Assembly and the Province of Alberta.

Constituents are all people living within the electoral boundaries of a constituency, including those who voted in the last election, regardless of their chosen candidate, those who didn’t vote and even those who are not eligible to vote.

MLAs are more accessible to Albertans now than ever before.

Alberta Assembly TV and Assembly Online broadcast all Chamber and committee proceedings, and the Legislative Assembly’s X, Facebook and YouTube channels live stream Oral Question Period.

Albertans are more aware of the decisions

MLAs make and want greater involvement in that decision-making process. Social media provides Members with a platform to connect directly with constituents and members of the public to share messages about policies, platforms and issues.

Albertans expect their elected officials to be a part of the communities they represent.

Attending community events and connecting with constituents is an important part of the role of Members. The geographic area of rural constituencies may be larger while urban MLAs may represent more people within their constituencies. Though MLAs within rural and urban areas have particular nuances to their roles, the responsibilities for both groups remain consistent.

A by-election

is held should a vacancy arise during a Legislature.

Roles in the Assembly

MLAs represent their constituents in the Assembly by sharing views, introducing Bills, debating issues, and discussing concerns with other Members and various government ministries. MLAs advocate on behalf of their constituents in the Assembly. In addition to their responsibilities as MLAs, Members might also carry additional roles in the Legislative Assembly.


Cabinet Ministers

Cabinet Ministers are MLAs who are responsible for all aspects of the business of a specific government ministry.

They develop policies and programs that best serve Albertans and maximize ministry funds. Following dissolution of the Assembly for an election, Ministers remain as Ministers but not as MLAs.



A private government Member is an MLA who belongs to the governing party.

Commonly called backbenchers because they sit in the back rows behind the Cabinet Ministers in the Assembly, private Members of the government caucus advocate for their constituents like all other MLAs, but they have the additional advantage of working closely with Cabinet Ministers as they determine government policies and programs.


Private Members

Private Members play important roles in the Assembly, sitting on government and legislative committees and even sponsoring government Bills, which are Bills other than money Bills that have cabinet approval prior to being introduced in the Legislature.

Money Bills require the appropriation of public funds and must be introduced by a Cabinet Minister and recommended to the Assembly by the Lieutenant Governor.


Private government Members

Private government Members, as with opposition Members, may introduce their own Bills, called private Members’ public Bills, in the Legislature.

They give MLAs who are not Cabinet Ministers 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 appropriation of public funds. Private Members’ business occurs on Mondays in the Assembly.



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.

Opposition parties assign some of their MLAs to be critics of specific departments; this group of opposition critics is known as a shadow cabinet. The Official Opposition, formally known as His Majesty′s Loyal Opposition, is the party with the second largest number of seats in the Assembly. It receives financial and procedural advantages over other opposition parties.


Independent Member

An independent Member is an MLA 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.

Did you know that during both the First and Second World Wars members of the armed forces elected their own representatives to the Assembly? In 1917 Roberta MacAdams was elected to the Assembly as a soldiers’ oversees representative. She and Louise McKinney, elected for the constituency of Claresholm, became the first women to serve in a parliament anywhere in the British Empire.


Parliamentary Privilege


MLAs enjoy rights that are necessary for them to do their job.

The privileges of the Members of the Legislative Assembly constitute the immunity they require to perform their parliamentary work, including freedom of speech, and the corporate privileges of the Assembly are the necessary means for the Assembly to effectively discharge its functions.

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 act to discipline the Member within the Assembly, possibly by asking the Member to apologize.

A Member can raise a question of privilege with the Speaker

if it is felt that there was some improper obstruction to the Member in performing his or her parliamentary work.

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