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Ken Kowalski, Speaker of the Legislative AssemblyThe Speaker is an MLA .  Following each provincial general election , MLAs elect a fellow MLA to serve as Speaker, after which his or her role in the Assembly is very different from that of the other MLAs.  The Speaker must be impartial and cannot take part in debate, vote except to break a tie, or ask or answer questions.

In short, Speakers have the following duties:

  • They ensure that all members follow the rules of parliamentary procedure.

  • They interpret these rules in specific situations, much like a judge interprets the law in a court.  Speakers' rulings are added to the body of knowledge about parliamentary procedure and may be used by future Speakers when they, in turn, interpret the rules.

  • They keep order during Assembly debates by giving permission, one at a time, to MLAs who want to raise an issue or an item of business.

  • They head the Legislative Assembly Office, which administers the payroll and benefits for all MLAs and is responsible for providing other important services, including information, administration and human resources, as well as Library, Hansard , security, and constituency office administration.

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Voices of Politics
Former New Democrat MP Stanley Knowles discusses the role of the Speaker with elementary students.
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Reprinted from Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature , 1993 with permission from the  Legislative Assembly Office .


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