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Presenting a Petition

Petitions presented to the Legislative Assembly must address issues that the Assembly can do something about.  If you and your neighbours are concerned about parking bylaws, you would take your concern to your local government rather than the Assembly, because parking bylaws are made by local governments.  If you want changes to the Criminal Code, you would have to take that issue to the federal level - that is, Members of Parliament - because it is in charge of the Criminal Code.  But if you wanted to see a change in the School Act, a provincial law, you could prepare a petition asking the Legislative Assembly to pass a Bill to amend the School Act.

Your petition must be addressed to the Legislative Assembly, not to the government or just a few MLA s.  It cannot be argumentative or opinionated, nor may it criticize any one person or group or be harshly worded.  A petition may not ask the Assembly for something that requires public money. For example, you cannot petition for a new road in your area because tax dollars would have to be spent on it.  Your petition can, however, ask that less money be spent on something or that a program or service be made more efficient. Finally, no petition may be read if it does not contain a notice on each page that the name and address of every person who signs it may be made available to the public.

If you are unsure whether your petition is appropriate for the Assembly, your MLA can help you decide or even help you with the wording.  Once you have collected all the signatures, you can ask your MLA to present your petition in the Assembly.



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

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