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Cabinet/Executive Council

Alberta's first cabinet - its size has changed over the yearsThe Cabinet, or Executive Council, consists of ministers chosen by the Premier to develop policy, new laws, and spending proposals.  The cabinet is "the government" in the parliamentary system, and each cabinet minister usually heads a government department; for example, the Minister of Health and Wellness, and so on.

No law says that ministers must be elected MLAs.  However, in the parliamentary system, tradition can be as powerful as law, and it is a longstanding tradition that the Premier picks cabinet ministers from among the MLAs in his or her party and decides what their areas of responsibility, or portfolios, should be.

Manning and his new cabinet, 1943Privacy of cabinet meetings is another age-old tradition.  It enables ministers to discuss policies freely with one another and advise the Premier with absolute frankness.  In fact, the term "cabinet" stems from the type of meeting place preferred by the first cabinets in British Parliamentary history: small rooms that lent themselves to secret discussions.

Also customary in the parliamentary system is cabinet solidarity.  Once cabinet has made a policy decision, ministers are expected either to support it or resign.  Cabinet ministers are also expected to accept collective responsibility for government activities and personal responsibility for their departments.

Learn more about the Executive Council here!

   

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