National Assembly of Quebec
|Assemblée nationale du Québec|
|40th Quebec Legislature|
|Type||Unicameral house of the Quebec Legislature|
|Founded||December 31, 1968|
|Preceded by||Legislative Assembly of Quebec|
|President||Jacques Chagnon, PLQ
Since 5 April 2011
|Premier||Pauline Marois, PQ
Since 17 September 2012
|Seats||125 members of Assembly|
|Political groups||PQ (54)
|Parliament Building, Quebec City, Quebec|
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 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.
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).
Constructed between 1877 and 1886, the Parliament Building features the Second Empire architectural style 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. Its facade presents a pantheon representing significant events and people of the history of Quebec.
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.
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.
Most recent election
|Party||Party leader||Candidates||Seats||Popular vote|
|Parti Québécois||Pauline Marois||125||51||47||54||+3||43.20%||1,393,703||31.95%||-3.22|
|Coalition Avenir Québec||François Legault||125||7†||9||19||+12†||15.20%||1,180,235||27.05%||+10.68†|
|Québec solidaire||Françoise David, Amir Khadir††||124||1||1||2||+1||1.60%||263,111||6.03%||+2.25|
|Option nationale||Jean-Martin Aussant||120||*||1||—||*||—||82,539||1.89%||*|
|Coalition pour la constituante||Marc Fafard||29||*||—||—||*||—||5,197||0.12%||*|
|Parti nul||Renaud Blais||10||*||—||—||*||—||2,743||0.06%||*|
|Autonomist Team||Guy Boivin||17||*||—||—||*||—||2,182||0.05%||*|
|Quebec Citizens' Union||Alexis St-Gelais||20||*||—||—||*||—||2,089||0.05%||*|
|Middle Class||Jean Lavoie||7||*||—||—||*||—||2,053||0.05%||*|
|Parti indépendantiste||Michel Lepage||10||—||—||—||—||—||1,244||0.03%||-0.10|
|Unité Nationale||Paul Biron||12||*||—||—||*||—||1,227||0.03%||*|
|Bloc Pot||Hugô St-Onge||2||*||—||—||*||—||420||0.01%||*|
|Quebec – Democratic Revolution||Robert Genesse||1||*||—||—||*||—||256||0.01%||*|
|Independent Option nationale||*||1|
- † Results change is compared to the Action démocratique du Québec in 2008.
- †† The party avoids formally designating David and Khadir as co-leaders, relying instead on internal direct democracy during general assembly meetings; the de jure leader recognized by the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGE) is Régent Séguin.
- * Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.
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.
- Executive Council of Quebec
- List of Quebec general elections
- List of Quebec premiers
- List of Quebec leaders of the Opposition
- Politics of Quebec
- Timeline of Quebec history
- 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]
- National Assembly of Quebec website (French) (English)
- National Assembly historical data (French)
- Diagram of the positions in the Assembly (French)
- Data about the current president of the Assembly