Government in Alberta
Alberta's 17th Premier, the Honourable Rachel Notley, and her Cabinet, were sworn in on the steps of the Alberta Legislature on May 24.
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
The Legislative Assembly is the focal point of our democratic process. It is where laws are passed, policies approved and programs developed, all of which affect our way of life in Alberta.
There are 87 Members of the Legislative Assembly. They belong to political parties, and each represents a different constituency.
Following an election the leader of the party having the most seats in the Assembly becomes the Premier and forms a government by choosing a cabinet from among the MLAs in that party. Each Cabinet Minister is responsible for a government department.
The elected Members from other parties form the opposition. Their job is to serve as a check on the government, criticizing and suggesting alternatives to its policies. The opposition party with the most seats is called the Official Opposition.
Assembly Sitting Hours
Monday to Thursday Beginning at 1:30 p.m. Session is open to the public.(Galleries open a half hour prior to each sitting.) For information or to book a group seating, contact Visitor Services 780.427.7362.
The proceedings of the House and its committees are available on the Legislative Assembly website at assembly.ab.ca
The Lieutenant Governor
The Lieutenant Governor is the Queen's representative in Alberta. Constitutional duties of the Lieutenant Governor include ensuring that the province always has a Premier so that there is continuity in governance, opening and closing each Legislature Session and granting Royal Assent to measures and Bills passed by the Assembly to give them the force of law.
The Premier is the head of government in Alberta. The leader of the political party with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly becomes the Premier. While the Premier does not need to be a Member of the Legislative Assembly to lead the province, he does need to be an MLA to sit in the Legislature and participate in debate.
Executive Council is made up of the Premier and cabinet ministers. Its role is to put government policy into practice. The Premier is the head of Executive Council, and chooses cabinet ministers from elected members of his party.
Cabinet is the framework in which members of Executive Council do their work. Beyond approving Orders in Council, Cabinet ratifies policy matters and is the final authority on issues related to the day-to-day operation of government. The Premier chairs Cabinet.
The Speaker directs debates and proceedings in the Legislative Assembly. The Speaker is an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly. At the beginning of the first Legislative session after an election, all MLAs vote for the Speaker by secret ballot.
The Opposition is made up of MLAs that are not part of the governing party. The role of the Opposition is to criticize government activity, propose improvements, and present itself to the public as an alternative to the party in office.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)
Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected by Albertans to make the laws they live by.
•Progressive Conservative (PC) www.pcalberta.org/
•Wildrose (W) http://www.wildrose.ca/ Brian Jean
•Alberta Liberal (AL) http://www.albertaliberal.com/ David Swann
•New Democrat (ND) http://albertandp.ca/ Rachel Notley
To find out Who your MLA is, or how to contact a Minister or Ministry, go to
How is government formed?
The province is divided into 87 constituencies, or ridings. Each riding has a number of candidates from different parties. The candidate in each riding that wins the highest number of votes in an election becomes the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for that riding. This person represents the constituency in the Legislative Assembly.
The leader of the political party with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly becomes the Premier of Alberta. The Premier and ministers form the government.
87 seats total:
New Democrat (ND) 54 seats
Wildrose (W) 22 seats
Progressive Conservative (PC) 9 seats
Alberta Liberal (AL) 1 seat
Alberta Party (AP) 1 seat
Elections and by-elections
By law, a provincial general election must be held every five years, though it can be held sooner. In a general election Albertans from across the province vote on who they want to represent them in the Legislative Assembly.
Sometimes a seat in the Legislative Assembly is vacated well before the next provincial election will be held. When this happens, a by-election is called. A by-election is an election held in one riding only. The winner of the by-election becomes the new MLA for that riding until the next general election.
How are laws made?
Laws are passed by MLAs. Laws are introduced as bills, and debated in the Legislative Assembly before being put to a vote. If the Assembly passes a bill, it goes to the Lieutenant Governor for Royal Assent, at which point it becomes law.