hide You are viewing an archived web page collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:30:27 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Heritage Community FoundationAlberta's Political History - The Making of a Province
Institutions and ProcessPeopleEventsCanada's Digital Collection

The Office of the Premier

Alberta's first Premier: The Hon. Alexander RutherfordSurprising as it may seem, no provision is made for the  Office of the Premier in the Constitution Act of 1867, or the North-West Territories Act of 1876, or in the Alberta Act of 1905.  The ultimate executive power in provincial government lies with the Crown or Lieutenant-Governor .  In part, this is to ensure the continuity and stability of government during certain periods of transition, particularly after general elections.

The Premier is usually the leader of the political party that has elected the most Members to the Legislature, and he or she is appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor. The Premier's powers are considerable.  The basis of this power is his or her relationship to the Lieutenant-Governor regarding a wide range of matters from government appointments to new legislative requirements.  Although the approval of the Legislature, which includes all members of the The Hon. Ernest Manning Legislative Assembly, is required for some matters, other actions can be taken by the government through an order-in-council, which is a directive of Cabinet , or under authority delegated by existing law.  As President of the Executive Council, the Premier also sets the Cabinet's agenda and determines its consensus or final position on issues.  Once this consensus has been established, all Cabinet Ministers must publicly support that position or resign.  As well, Cabinet Ministers are forbidden from disclosing Cabinet business.

The Premier can lose office if he or she loses the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.  If the Premier's government puts forward proposed legislation that is not supported by the majority of the Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Premier, by convention, must submit his or her government's resignation to the Lieutenant-Governor.

The Hon. Peter Lougheed The Office of the Premier is one of the most influential positions in Canadian provincial government.  The Premier has powers that Cabinet Ministers individually and collectively do not possess.  Even though ultimate executive authority lies with the Lieutenant-Governor, the Lieutenant Governor does not become involved in  government affairs unless the government loses the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.  Because the Premier's influence is so wide-ranging, specific governments are usually known by the personal name of the Premier (e.g. the Rutherford Government).



Voices of Politics
Ian Gray and Gillian Steward discuss the historical importance of leadership personality in Alberta's provincial elections.
Listen Now!
Download the free RealPlayer
To Listen to the Voices of Politics , you need Real Player available free from Real Networks .


Reprinted from Premiers of the Northwest Territories and Alberta, 1897-1991 with the permission of the Legislative Assembly Office.

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
††††††††††† For more on political life in Alberta, visit Peelís Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved