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> The Standing Committee

The Standing Committees

Standing committees are appointed at the beginning of each session. Elected members from all parties are on these committees in proportion to the number of seats each party has in the Assembly. These committees' meetings are public and are recorded and transcribed.  Transcripts are kept in the Legislature Library, where members of the public can read them. Here is a brief summary of the standing committees and what they do:

Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act. Meets regularly, usually in the fall. This committee recommends ways to spend the money from the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund.

Legislative Offices. Meets throughout the year. There are five legislative offices: the Auditor General, Ombudsman, Chief Electoral Officer, Ethics Commissioner and the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Their duties are, respectively, to monitor government spending, to respond to concerns about how citizens have been treated by government agencies, to conduct elections, to help MLAs avoid conflicts of interest, and to facilitate access to public information and protect individual privacy. The Legislative Offices Committee looks after the budgets and other aspects of these offices.

Members' Services. This committee, chaired by the Speaker, determines the Assembly budget, sets members' salaries and benefits, and discusses related administrative matters.

Public Accounts. Meets regularly during season. This is a watchdog committee that reviews government spending and questions cabinet ministers about it.

Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing. Meets when the Assembly refers an issue to it. This committee deals mainly with "matters of privilege." Privilege means the rights that members have just because they are members, such as the right to express a controversial view in the Assembly without being sued or prosecuted. The committee also keeps the Standing Orders up to date or may recommend changes to them. You could say that this committee is a "House rules" committee.

Private Bills. Meets during session to consider all private Bills before the Assembly at the time. A private Bill is a Bill that affects an individual or group rather than the whole province.  These Bills are requested by the individuals or groups mentioned in them, and the Private Bills Committee discusses them and recommends to the Assembly whether they should pass or not.


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

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