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Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Assemblée législative de l'Ontario
Coat of arms or logo.
Type
Type Unicameral
Houses Legislative Assembly
Leadership
Speaker Steve Peters, Liberal
since November 28, 2007
Government
House Leader
Monique Smith, Liberal
since February 4, 2009
Opposition
House Leader
John Yakabuski, PC
since February 8, 2010
Structure
Members 107
Political groups Liberal Party
Progressive Conservative Party
New Democratic Party
Election
Last election October 10, 2007
Meeting place
Ontario Provincial Parliament, Queens Park, Toronto -b.jpg
Ontario Legislative Building, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Website
www.ontla.on.ca

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario (also known as Ontario Legislative Assembly or Ontario Legislature), is the second largest provintial legislature of Canada, even if Ontario is the more populated province. It is located in the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario.

The British North America Act section 69 stipulates "There shall be a Legislature for Ontario consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor and of One House, styled the Legislative Assembly of Ontario". The Legislative Assembly is unicameral, without an upper house (amalgamating the bicameral lower house of the Legislative Assembly of Canada (lower house) and the upper house of the Legislative Council of Canada), with 107 seats representing ridings elected in a first-past-the-post system across the province.

The Legislative Assembly is informally known as the "Ontario Provincial Parliament". This is because Ontario was the original province of Canada and "Members of the Provincial Parliament" ("MPPs") was the titular designation of the members of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada from 1791 to 1838, in accordance with a resolution passed in the Assembly on April 7, 1938; them unlike the other Canadian provinces, members of this assembly refer to themselves as "MPPs" as opposed to "Members of the Legislative Assembly" ("MLAs"). However, the Legislative Assembly Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L10 refers only to "members of the Assembly". This historical duplication confuse many ontarians how see provontial and federal governaments as equivalents. Ontario still the more powerfull province in the Parliament of Canada with the largest number of Members of the Parliament" (106 "MPs" ), almost equivalent in number of "MPPs" (107).

The 39th Legislative Assembly of Ontario was elected on October 10, 2007.

Contents

Lawmaking

In accordance with the traditions of the Westminster System, most laws originate with the cabinet (Government bills), and are passed by the legislature after stages of debate and decision-making. Although ordinary Members of the Legislature pass few laws they have introduced privately (Private Members' Bills) they nonetheless play an integral role in scrutinizing, debating and amending bills presented to the legislature by cabinet.

Members are expected to be loyal to both their parliamentary party and to the interests of their ridings.

In the Ontario Legislature this confrontation provides much of the material for Oral Questions and Members' Statements. Legislative scrutiny of the executive is also at the heart of much of the work carried out by the Legislature's Standing Committees, which are made up of ordinary backbenchers.

A Member's day will typically be divided among participating in the business of the House, attending caucus and committee meetings, speaking in various debates, or returning to his or her constituency to address the concerns, problems and grievances of constituents. Depending on personal inclination and political circumstances, some Members concentrate most of their attention on House matters while others focus on constituency problems, taking on something of an ombudsman's role in the process.

Finally, it is the task of the Legislature to provide the personnel of the executive. As already noted, under responsible government, ministers of the Crown are expected to be Members of the Assembly. When a political party comes to power it will invariably place its more experienced parliamentarians into the key cabinet positions, where their parliamentary experience may be the best preparation for the rough and tumble of political life in government.

Coat of Arms

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is the first and the only legislature in Canada to have a Coat of Arms separate from the provincial coat of arms.

Shield of arms - Ontario Leg.jpg

Green and gold are the principal colours in the shield of arms of the province. The Mace is the traditional symbol of the authority of the Speaker. Shown on the left is the current Mace. On the right is the original Mace from the time of the first parliament in 1792. The crossed Maces are joined by the shield of arms of Ontario.

The crown on the wreath represents national and provincial loyalties; its rim is studded with the provincial gemstone, the amethyst. The griffin, an ancient symbol of justice and equity, holds a calumet, which symbolizes the meeting of spirit and discussion that Ontario's First Peoples believe accompanies the use of the pipe.

The deer represent the natural riches of the province. The Loyalist coronets at their necks honour the original British settlers in Ontario who brought with them the British parliamentary form of government. The Royal Crowns, left 1992, right 1792, recognize the parliamentary bicentennial and represent Ontario's heritage as a constitutional monarchy. They were granted as a special honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of the Governor General.

In the base, the maple leaves are for Canada, the trilliums for Ontario and the roses for York (now Toronto), the provincial capital.

The motto "AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM" is one of a series of Latin phrases carved in the Chamber of the Legislative Building. It challenges Members of Provincial Parliament to "Hear the Other Side."

Media

Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly are broadcast to Ontario cable television subscribers as the Ontario Parliament Network.

Party standings

39th OntLA.png
Affiliation
Leader of the Party
Leader in the Legislature
OntLA Status
Members[1]
   
Liberal
Dalton McGuinty
Government
71
   
PC
Tim Hudak
Official Opposition
26
   
NDP
Andrea Horwath
Third Party
10
Independent
-
Vacant
 Total
107
 Government Majority
36

Seating plan

(v • d • e)

Sousa Johnson Murray Vacant
Murdoch Vacant Bailey O'Toole Sherman Savoline Jones Ouellette Gélinas P. Miller Mangat Moridi Naqvi Pendergast
Martinuk Hillier Chudleigh Arnott Dunlop Hardeman MacLeod Munro Barrett Prue DiNovo Tabuns Bisson Albanese Carroll Dickson Jaczek
Wilson Sterling Witmer N. Miller Elliott Hudak Yakabuski Klees Kormos Horwath    Marchese Hampton    Sandals VanBommel    Zimmer Balkissoon   
Peters
Smith Bradley Dombrowsky Philips Duncan McGuinty Pupatello Matthews Wynne Gerretsen Ruprecht Kwinter Ramsay Sorbara
Leal Aggelonitis Bentley Bartolucci Best Duguid Meilleur Milloy Hoskins Gravelle Brown Crozier Colle Hoy
Lalonde Sergio Jeffrey Wilkinson Mitchell Broten Chan Takhar Fonseca Caplan McMeekin Levac Arthurs Berardinetti
Brownell Cansfield Craitor Delaney Dhillon Flynn Kular Mauro McNeely Orazietti Qaadri Ramal Ramal Peters

List of members

Name Party Riding
     Joe Dickson Liberal Ajax—Pickering
     Mike Brown Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin
     Ted McMeekin Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale
     Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie
     Michael Prue New Democrat Beaches—East York
     Kuldip Kular Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton
     Linda Jeffrey Liberal Brampton—Springdale
     Vic Dhillon Liberal Brampton West
     Dave Levac Liberal Brant
     Bill Murdoch Progressive Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound
     Joyce Savoline Progressive Conservative Burlington
     Gerry Martiniuk Progressive Conservative Cambridge
     Norm Sterling Progressive Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills
     Pat Hoy Liberal Chatham-Kent—Essex
     Tony Ruprecht Liberal Davenport
     David Caplan Liberal Don Valley East
     Kathleen Wynne Liberal Don Valley West
     Sylvia Jones Progressive Conservative Dufferin—Caledon
     John O'Toole Progressive Conservative Durham
     Mike Colle Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence
     Steve Peters Liberal Elgin—Middlesex—London
     Bruce Crozier Liberal Essex
     Donna Cansfield Liberal Etobicoke Centre
     Laurel Broten Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore
     Shafiq Qaadri Liberal Etobicoke North
     Jean-Marc Lalonde Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
     Liz Sandals Liberal Guelph
     Toby Barrett Progressive Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk
     Rick Johnson Liberal Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock
     Ted Chudleigh Progressive Conservative Halton
     Andrea Horwath New Democrat Hamilton Centre
     Paul Miller New Democrat Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
     Sophia Aggelonitis Liberal Hamilton Mountain
     Carol Mitchell Liberal Huron—Bruce
     Howard Hampton New Democrat Kenora—Rainy River
     John Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands
     John Milloy Liberal Kitchener Centre
     Leeanna Pendergast Liberal Kitchener—Conestoga
     Elizabeth Witmer Progressive Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo
     Maria Van Bommel Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex
     Randy Hillier Progressive Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington
     Steve Clark Progressive Conservative Leeds—Grenville
     Khalil Ramal Liberal London—Fanshawe
     Deb Matthews Liberal London North Centre
     Chris Bentley Liberal London West
     Michael Chan Liberal Markham—Unionville
     Amrit Mangat Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South
     Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville
     Harinder Takhar Liberal Mississauga—Erindale
     Charles Sousa Liberal Mississauga South
     Bob Delaney Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville
     Lisa MacLeod Progressive Conservative Nepean—Carleton
     Frank Klees Progressive Conservative Newmarket—Aurora
     Kim Craitor Liberal Niagara Falls
     Tim Hudak Progressive Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook
     France Gélinas New Democrat Nickel Belt
     Monique Smith Liberal Nipissing
     Lou Rinaldi Liberal Northumberland—Quinte West
     Helena Jaczek Liberal Oak Ridges—Markham
     Kevin Flynn Liberal Oakville
     Jerry Ouellette Progressive Conservative Oshawa
     Yasir Naqvi Liberal Ottawa Centre
     Phil McNeely Liberal Ottawa—Orléans
     Dalton McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South
     Madeleine Meilleur Liberal Ottawa—Vanier
     Bob Chiarelli Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean
     Ernie Hardeman Progressive Conservative Oxford
     Cheri DiNovo New Democrat Parkdale—High Park
     Norm Miller Progressive Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka
     John Wilkinson Liberal Perth—Wellington
     Jeff Leal Liberal Peterborough
     Wayne Arthurs Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East
     Leona Dombrowsky Liberal Prince Edward—Hastings
     John Yakabuski Progressive Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke
     Reza Moridi Liberal Richmond Hill
     Jim Bradley Liberal St. Catharines
     Eric Hoskins Liberal St. Paul's
     Bob Bailey Progressive Conservative Sarnia—Lambton
     David Orazietti Liberal Sault Ste. Marie
     Gerry Phillips Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt
     Brad Duguid Liberal Scarborough Centre
     Margarett Best Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood
     Bas Balkissoon Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River
     Lorenzo Berardinetti Liberal Scarborough Southwest
     Jim Wilson Progressive Conservative Simcoe—Grey
     Garfield Dunlop Progressive Conservative Simcoe North
     Jim Brownell Liberal Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry
     Rick Bartolucci Liberal Sudbury
     Peter Shurman Progressive Conservative Thornhill
     Bill Mauro Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan
     Michael Gravelle Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North
     David Ramsay Liberal Timiskaming—Cochrane
     Gilles Bisson New Democrat Timmins—James Bay
     Glen Murray Liberal Toronto Centre
     Peter Tabuns New Democrat Toronto—Danforth
     Rosario Marchese New Democrat Trinity—Spadina
     Greg Sorbara Liberal Vaughan
     Peter Kormos New Democrat Welland
     Ted Arnott Progressive Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills
     Christine Elliott Progressive Conservative Whitby—Oshawa
     David Zimmer Liberal Willowdale
     Dwight Duncan Liberal Windsor—Tecumseh
     Sandra Pupatello Liberal Windsor West
     Monte Kwinter Liberal York Centre
     Julia Munro Progressive Conservative York—Simcoe
     Laura Albanese Liberal York South—Weston
     Mario Sergio Liberal York West
  • Cabinet ministers are in bold, leaders are in italics and the Speaker of the Legislature has a dagger next to his name.

Committees

There are two forms which Committees can take. The first, Standing Committees, are struck for the duration of the Parliament pursuant to Standing Orders. The second, Select Committees, are struck usually by a Motion or an Order of the House to consider a specific Bill or issue which would otherwise monopolize the time of the Standing Committees.

Standing Committees

A committee which exists for the duration of a parliamentary session. This committee examines and reports on the general conduct of activities by government departments and agencies and reports on matters referred to it by the house, including proposed legislation.[2]

Standing Committees in the current Parliament

  • Standing Committee on Estimates
  • Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
  • Standing Committee on General Government
  • Standing Committee on Government Agencies
  • Standing Committee on Social Policy
  • Standing Committee on Justice Policy
  • Standing Committee on Public Accounts
  • Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills
  • Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly

Select committees

Select committees are set up specifically to study certain bills or issues and according to the Standing Orders, consists of not more than 11 members from all parties with representation reflecting the current standing in the house. In some cases, the committee must examine material by a specific date and then report its conclusion to the legislature. After its final report, the committee is dissolved.[2]

Select Committees in the current Parliament

The Select Committee on Elections completed its work on June 30, 2009.

  • Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions

Mace

The ceremonial mace of the Legislature is the third mace to be used in Ontario.

The first mace was first used by the Chamber of Upper Canada's first Parliament in 1792 at Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) and then to York (now Toronto). The primitive wooden mace, painted red and gilt and surmounted by a crown of thin brass strips. It was stolen by American troops during the War of 1812 in 1813. It remained in the United States until 1934 and returned to Ontario. Stored at the Royal Ontario Museum and now located in the Speaker's office.

A second mace was introduced in 1813 and used until 1841. A replacement mace was not purchased until 1845 and then transferred to the Union Parliament and finally to the Canadian Parliament in 1867. This mace was lost in the fire at the Centre Block in 1916. The current mace used in Legislature was purchased in 1867.

Officers of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Like the Parliament of Canada, the Legislature has procedural officers:

Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is the chief permanent officer of the Legislative Assembly, with the rank and status of a Deputy Minister. He or she is the principal procedural adviser and senior officer of the House. The Clerk's responsibilities include advising the Speaker and Members of the Legislature on questions of procedure and interpretation of the rules and practices of the House.

The other key officer is the Sergeant-at-Arms, whose role is to keep order during meetings in the Legislature. The Sergeant-at-Arms is also charged with control of the Ceremonial mace in the Legislature in session.

Other officers of the legislature include the Ombudsman of Ontario, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, the Auditor General of Ontario and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

See also

References

External links








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