National Assembly of Quebec

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"Blue Chamber" redirects here. For other uses, see Blue Room (disambiguation).
Assemblée nationale du Québec
40th Quebec Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Founded December 31, 1968 (1968-12-31)
Preceded by Legislative Assembly of Quebec
Leadership
Jacques ChagnonPLQ
since 5 April 2011
Philippe CouillardLiberal
since 23 April 2014
Structure
Seats 125 members of Assembly
Political groups
     PLQ (70)
     PQ (30)
     CAQ (22)
     QS (3)
Elections
Last election
April 7, 2014
Next election
October 1, 2018 or earlier
Meeting place
Salle Assemblee nationale Quebec.jpg
Parliament Building, Quebec City, Quebec
Website
www.assnat.qc.ca

The National Assembly of Quebec (French: Assemblée nationale du Québec) is the legislative body of the Province of Quebec. Legislators are called MNAs (Members of the National Assembly; French: députés). The Lieutenant Governor and the National Assembly compose the Legislature of Quebec, which operates in a fashion similar to those of other British-style parliamentary systems.

The National Assembly was formerly the lower house of Quebec's legislature and was then called the Legislative Assembly of Quebec. In 1968, the upper house, the Legislative Council, was abolished and the remaining house was renamed.

The current President of the National Assembly (equivalent to "speaker" in other legislatures) is Liberal MNA Jacques Chagnon.

History[edit]

The Legislative Assembly was created in Lower Canada by the Constitutional Act of 1791. It was abolished from 1841 to 1867 under the 1840 Act of Union which merged Upper Canada and Lower Canada into a single colony named the Province of Canada.

The Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly the British North America Act), which created Canada, split the Province of Canada into the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada was thus restored as the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Quebec.

The original Quebec legislature was bicameral, consisting of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly.

In 1968, Bill 90 was passed by the government of Premier Jean-Jacques Bertrand, abolishing the Legislative Council and renaming the Legislative Assembly the "National Assembly". The renaming was viewed by separatists as a way to promote sovereignty for the province. Before 1968, there had been various unsuccessful attempts at abolishing the Legislative Council, which was analogous to the Senate of Canada.

In 1978, television cameras were brought in for the first time to televise parliamentary debates. The colour of the walls was changed to suit the needs of television and the salon vert (green hall) became the salon bleu (blue hall).

Parliament Building[edit]

Constructed between 1877 and 1886, the Parliament Building features the Second Empire architectural style[1] that was popular for prestigious buildings both in Europe (especially France where the style originated) and the United States during the latter 19th century. Although somewhat more sober in appearance and lacking a towering central belfry, Quebec City's Parliament Building bears a definite likeness to the Philadelphia City Hall, another Second Empire edifice in North America which was built during the same period. Even though the building's symmetrical layout with a frontal clock tower in the middle is typical of legislative institutions of British heritage, the architectural style is believed to be unique among parliament buildings found in other Canadian provincial capitals .[citation needed] Its facade presents a pantheon representing significant events and people of the history of Quebec.

The Fontaine de Tourny east of the Parliament Building

Additional buildings were added next to the Parliament Buildings:

  • Édifice André-Laurendeau was added from 1935 to 1937 to house the Ministry of Transport.
  • Édifice Honoré-Mercier was added from 1922 to 1925 to house the Ministries of the Treasury (Finances), the Attorney General and the Secretary General of the National Assembly.
  • Édifice Jean-Antoine-Panet was added from 1931 to 1932 for the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Édifice Pamphile-Le May added from 1910 to 1915 for the Library of the National Assembly, various other government offices and for the Executive Council.

Elections[edit]

General elections are held every five years or less. Any person holding Canadian citizenship and who has resided in Quebec for at least six months qualifies to be on the electoral list.

Normally, the leader of the political party with the largest number of elected candidates is asked by the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec to form the government as premier. (In French, it is rendered as premier ministre. The term "prime minister" is commonly used by the government as a literal translation of the French term. In Canada's other provinces, whose heads of government are referred to in English as "premier", the title is similarly rendered "premier ministre" in French, too. The term literally means "First Minister", a term in Canada when referred to plural, "First Ministers", refers collectively to the Provincial Premiers and the Prime Minister of Canada).

Quebec's territory is divided into 125 electoral districts (ridings). In each riding, the candidate who receives the most votes is elected and becomes a Member of the National Assembly (MNA). This is known as the first-past-the-post voting system. It tends to produce strong disparities in the number of seats won compared to the popular vote, perhaps best exemplified by the 1966, 1970, and 1973 elections.

Quebec elections have also tended to be volatile since the 1970s, producing a large turnover in Assembly seats. Consequently, existing political parties often lose more than half their seats with the rise of new or opposition political parties. For instance, the 1970 and 1973 saw the demise of the Union Nationale and rise of the Parti Québécois which managed to take power in 1976. The 1985 and 1994 elections saw the Liberals gain and lose power in landslide elections.

Members[edit]

Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) swear two oaths: one to the Canadian monarch as Quebec’s head of state, and a second one to the people of Quebec. Previous Parti Québécois premier René Lévesque added the second oath.[2]

Most recent election[edit]

e • d Summary of the April 7, 2014, National Assembly of Quebec election results[3]
Party[4] Party leader[4] Candidates[3] Seats Popular vote
2012 Dissol. 2014 Change  % Number  % Change (pp)
Liberal Philippe Couillard 125 50 49 70 +21 56.00 1,757,071 41.52 +10.32
Parti Québécois Pauline Marois 124 54 54 30 -24 24.00 1,074,120 25.38 -6.57
Coalition Avenir Québec François Legault 122 19 18 22 +4 17.60 975,607 23.05 -4.00
Québec solidaire Françoise David, Andrés Fontecilla 124 2 2 3 +1 2.40 323,124 7.63 +1.60
Option nationale Sol Zanetti 116 30,697 0.73 -1.16
Green Alex Tyrrell 44 23,163 0.55 -0.44
Conservative Adrien Pouliot 59 16,429 0.39 +0.21
  Independent 11 2 15,361 0.36 +0.09
Parti nul Renaud Blais 24 7,539 0.18 +0.12
Bloc Pot Hugô St-Onge 14 2,690 0.06 +0.05
Marxist–Leninist Pierre Chénier 24 2,016 0.05 ±0.00
Equitable Patricia Domingos 5 1,645 0.04 +0.04
Parti des sans parti Frank Malenfant 5 1,291 0.03 -0.09††
Mon pays le Québec Claude Dupré 6 * * 521 0.01 *
Autonomist Team Guy Boivin 5 400 0.01 -0.04
Unité Nationale Paul Biron 3 241 0.01 -0.02
Quebec – Democratic Revolution Robert Genesse 1 163 0.00 -0.01
Parti indépendantiste Michel Lepage 1 126 0.00 -0.03
Quebec Citizens' Union Marc-André Lacroix 1 58 0.00 -0.05
Total 814 125 125 125 0 100.00 4,232,262 100.00
Valid ballots 4,232,262 98.54 -0.24
Rejected ballots 62,793 1.46 +0.24
Voter turnout 4,295,055 71.44 -3.16
Registered electors 6,012,440

Notes:

The party designates David and Fontecilla as co-spokespeople. The party's power is held by the general meetings of the members and a board of 16 directors; the de jure leader recognized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGE) is Pierre-Paul St-Onge.[4]
†† Party contested the 2012 election under the name Coalition pour la constituante.
* Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.

Changes during the 41st Quebec Legislature[edit]


Number of members
per party by date
2014
Apr 7 Aug 15
Liberal 70
Parti Québécois 30
Coalition Avenir Québec 22 21
Québec solidaire 3
  Total members 125 124
Vacant 0 1
  Government majority 15 16

Proceedings[edit]

One of the members of the National Assembly is chosen as the President of the Assembly (a post called Speaker in most other Westminster System assemblies) by the Premier with the support of the Leader of the Opposition. The President of the Assembly is the arbiter of the parliamentary debates between the members of the government and the members of the Opposition. In order for a member to address a member of the other side, he or she has to speak through the President of the Assembly. The President is usually a member of the governing party, although there is no requirement for this.

The proceedings of the National Assembly are broadcast across Quebec on the cable television network Canal de l'Assemblée nationale.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Useful Information - National Assembly of Québec. Assnat.qc.ca (2012-10-29). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  2. ^ http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/government+Quebecers+Couillard+says/9750667/story.html
  3. ^ a b "General elections". DGE. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Political parties". DGE. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  • Assemblé nationale du Québec (2000). What is the National Assembly?, Québec: Assemblée nationale, 58 p. (ISBN 2-550-30165-X)
  • Deschênes, Gaston (1983). The Assemblée nationale: Its Organization and Parliamentary Procedure, Québec: Assemblée nationale, 53 p. (ISBN 2551047595) [1st ed. in 1977]

External links[edit]