Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick

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The Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick (French: Assemblée législative du Nouveau-Brunswick) is the deliberative assembly within the parliamentary democracy of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. It is commonly referred to as the Provincial Legislature and is located in Fredericton, the provincial capital. The assembly is one of the oldest functioning legislatures in Canada, with its formation dating back to when New Brunswick was a British colony.


The Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick was established in 1784, following the division of the colony of Nova Scotia into separate entities, which included New Brunswick. The assembly's establishment marked New Brunswick's transition to a self-governing colony. Initially, the legislative structure was bicameral, consisting of the assembly and a Legislative Council (acting as an upper house), but it moved to a unicameral system in 1891 when the Legislative Council was abolished.

As the province's highest legislative body, the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick plays a crucial role in shaping the policies and laws that govern the lives of New Brunswickers. It serves as a cornerstone of democratic governance and public administration within the province.

The assembly's proceedings and decisions are a matter of public record, aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in the government. Its historical and ongoing contributions to the legislative process highlight the importance of representative democracy in Canadian society.

Function and Powers

The Legislative Assembly is vested with the power to create laws for provincial matters, including education, health care, and municipal government, as per the Constitution Act of 1867. Its functions also include scrutinizing government policies, approving budgets, and providing a forum for debate on political and social issues.

Legislation passed by the assembly must receive Royal Assent from the Lieutenant Governor to become law. The assembly operates under a party system, with the government formed by the party holding the majority of seats.


The Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick is structured to facilitate its role in the governance of the province, ensuring effective law-making, oversight, and representation. Its organization and composition are central to its function within New Brunswick's parliamentary democracy.

Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs)

At the core of the assembly are the 49 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), each elected to represent one of the province's electoral districts. These MLAs carry the responsibility of advocating for their constituents' interests, participating in legislative debates, and voting on proposed legislation. The number of MLAs is determined by the provincial electoral boundaries, which are subject to review and adjustment to reflect population changes and ensure equitable representation.

Leadership Roles

Speaker of the Assembly: Elected by the MLAs, the Speaker presides over legislative sessions, ensuring order and decorum within the house. The Speaker also represents the assembly in all its external relations and oversees the administration of the legislature.

Premier: The head of the provincial government, typically the leader of the party with the majority of seats in the assembly. The Premier is responsible for forming a cabinet from among the elected MLAs, setting the government's legislative agenda, and administering provincial affairs.

Leader of the Opposition: The leader of the largest party not in government. This role is crucial for providing balance within the assembly, critiquing government policies, and presenting alternative solutions.


The assembly operates several committees, each focusing on specific areas such as finance, public accounts, law amendments, and economic development. These committees review legislation in detail, consider public input, and make recommendations to the full assembly. They play an essential role in scrutinizing government actions and ensuring thorough legislative consideration.

Bilingual Operations

Reflecting New Brunswick's status as Canada's only officially bilingual province, the Legislative Assembly operates in both English and French. This includes bilingual debates, legislation, and documentation, ensuring all New Brunswickers have access to and can participate in the legislative process in their preferred language.


The Legislative Assembly's work is organized into sessions, with each session encompassing a period during which the assembly meets to debate and pass legislation. These sessions are opened and closed by the Lieutenant Governor, who also delivers the Speech from the Throne at the beginning of a new session, outlining the government's priorities.

Electoral System

New Brunswick employs the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral system, a straightforward method used in many jurisdictions worldwide. Under FPTP, the province is divided into electoral districts, also known as ridings or constituencies, each represented by a single MLA in the Legislative Assembly.

The province is divided into 49 electoral districts, with each district electing one MLA. The boundaries of these districts are reviewed periodically by an independent Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission to reflect population changes and ensure equitable representation. This review process helps maintain fairness in the electoral system, ensuring each MLA represents approximately the same number of residents.

General elections for the Legislative Assembly must be held at least every five years. However, the Lieutenant Governor, on the advice of the Premier, can dissolve the assembly and call an election at any time within that five-year period. This flexibility allows the government to seek a new mandate from the electorate in response to changing political circumstances.

See Also