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Institutions and ProcessPeopleEventsCanada's Digital Collection Home > Institutions and Process > Making Policy > Regular Proceedings > Bills > Bills Become Law 

The Bills that Become Law

There is no theoretical limit to the number of Bills that can be introduced in a given session of the Legislature.  As you'll see, however, very few of the Bills actually become law. If you were to look at the list of Bills that passed in the Assembly in a given year, you would probably note that except for some private Bills, all of them were government Bills. This does not mean that MLAs from the party in office blindly vote "aye" to Bills that the cabinet sponsors. Before any Bill is introduced, the caucus sponsoring it, whether government or opposition, holds many meetings to discuss the ideas behind it, revise it, and argue its merits or drawbacks, all in the name of working towards consensus. 

In the case of government Bills, both the cabinet and private government members work out their differences ahead of time, in private, and the Bill is introduced only when the cabinet and caucus approve it.

Thus, if the party in office holds a majority of seats in the Assembly, the Bill's passage is assured. If the governing party does not hold a majority of seats, it must negotiate with members from other parties to ensure that the Bill will pass. This may mean that the Bill's content will reflect a compromise by MLAs from different parties with different philosophies and policies. In any case, the government must be reasonably certain that its Bills will pass, because if the Assembly votes no, a motion of nonconfidence could follow, resulting in the defeat of the government and an election call.

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