Routine Business

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With the exception of ceremonial occasions, the time an MLA spends in the Chamber follows a regular routine. A daily sitting starts with the ringing of the bells and the entrance of the Speaker's procession into the Chamber. The Speaker and Clerks take their seats; the Sergeant-at-Arms places the mace on the Clerks' Table; and routine proceedings begin.

Prayers

The first sitting of the day begins with an interdenominational prayer by an MLA or occasionally, a visiting spiritual leader.

Introduction of visitors

Next, MLAs may rise to introduce guests in the gallery. Introductions should be brief and non-argumentative. By leave of the Chair, introductions may also be made at other times during a sitting.

Introduction of bills

Public bills can be introduced either by a cabinet minister on behalf of government or a Private Member (an MLA who is not in cabinet). A succinct two-minute explanation on the general objective and subject matter of the bill is presented.

Two-minute statements

Each sitting day, up to six Private Members may make two-minute statements on topics of their choice. These statements take place immediately prior to Oral Question Period, pursuant to Standing Order 25B.

Oral Question Period

An important function of the Legislative Assembly is to scrutinize the policies and actions of the executive branch of government and to hold cabinet ministers accountable. The Legislative Assembly fulfils its scrutiny role through a variety of means, including Oral Question Period, an intense 30-minute exchange of questions and answers. MLAs may pose questions to cabinet ministers on subjects relating to government policy or the current responsibility of a minister.

Oral Question Period takes place in the afternoon on Monday and Wednesday sittings, and in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday sittings. Further information on the rules and practices regarding Oral Question Period is found in Standing Order 47A.

Petitions

After Oral Question Period, MLAs have the opportunity to present petitions on behalf of their constituents. The rules around presenting petitions can be found in Standing Order 73.

Committee reports

Following petitions, reports by parliamentary committees can be presented to the House summarizing the committee's activities, decisions, and recommendations.

Orders of the Day

The remainder of a typical sitting day in the House is taken up with “Orders of the Day”, the agenda of daily business which often includes debate on public bills or government motions. The legislative agenda is announced by the Government House Leader, who may consult with the Opposition House Leader and independents on the scheduling of House business.

Private Members' Time
(Standing Orders 25 and 25A)

On Monday mornings, MLAs who are not in cabinet may participate in debate on Private Members' statements, motions, or Private Members' bills. Four Members may make a statement, notice of which has been tabled no later than 6:00 p.m. the preceding Wednesday. The time allocated for each statement is 15 minutes, divided as follows:

  • Proponent: maximum of seven minutes
  • Any other Member: maximum of five minutes
  • Proponent in reply: maximum of three minutes.

These statements may then be followed by debate on a public bill in the hands of a Private Member, or on a motion moved by a Private Member.

Private Members' Statements