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Committee of the Whole

Alberta's mace"Whole" in "Committee of the Whole" means the whole Assembly, so this committee is comprised of all the Members of the Legislative Assembly, and they meet in this form for the sole purpose of studying Bills in detail.  If you watch the members in committee, you'll notice that "Mr. Chairman," rather than the Speaker, oversees the debate and that the Mace is on its brackets under the table rather than sitting on the top of the table.  Both of these changes signify that the Assembly is in committee.

In Committee of the Whole, members may want changes to any or all parts of the Bill.  Occasionally, even the minister sponsoring a government Bill introduces an amendment at committee stage, perhaps because the wording was not quite right or someone has pointed out an undesirable consequence of one of the clauses.  When the members have finished committee study, they report the Bill to the Assembly along with its amendments.  This is a formal procedure signifying that the Bill is now ready for final debate at third reading.


Reproduced from the Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature, 1993 with the kind permission of the Legislative Assembly Office.
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