Members of the Legislative Assembly make up the
legislative, or law-making branch of our parliamentary system. Each is
elected by a constituency and represents that constituency in the Assembly.
If MLAs had a written job description, it would show most
of their working hours spent in their constituencies. MLAs are a link
between their constituents and government. Whether in their constituency
offices or travelling throughout the constituency itself, MLAs hear
constituents' points of view; keep them informed about policies, programs and
proposals; help resolve people's problems in dealing with government; and
encourage local initiatives.
The balance of MLAs' work takes place in the Assembly
Chamber during the session. Here they take part in a question period and
introduce and debate Bills, discuss government estimates, move amendments and
motions. MLAs are normally members of a political party and make decisions
based on their party's platform as well as on the views of their
constituents. In modern Parliaments, MLAs have almost always voted along
party lines because strict party discipline is considered necessary to ensure
that the governing party remains in office until an election is called.
Recently, however, parties have in some cases encouraged MLAs to vote in
accordance with their constituents' wishes, which might not necessarily be the
same as their party's wishes.
Want to find out who your MLA is? Click
here to link to the Legislative Assembly website and get biographies of each
MLA in Alberta!