FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will take steps to modernize the legislative assembly’s standing rules to be more efficient and transparent.

“We have made it clear in that we are committed to a more effective and modern legislature,” said Government House Leader Hédard Albert. “As it currently stands, many of the practices in our legislature are out of date. We need to modernize its rules to improve civility, empower MLAs to hold the government to account and increase transparency.”

A motion will be presented when the legislature resumes, changing the daily agenda of legislative proceedings to focus more on substantive debate and refer more legislation and policy matters to legislative committees to give private members more opportunities to participate in the debate.

Modernizing the standing rules of the legislative assembly includes the following proposed changes:

  • fixing the time for question period;
  • sitting at 10 a.m. on Thursdays;
  • call for statements by ministers after question period has concluded;
  • moving congratulatory and condolence messages to the end of the sitting day and ensure members’ statements relate to matters in their constituency;
  • deferring recorded votes to the next sitting day; and
  • sending legislation to revised standing committees, including the economic policy committee, social policy committee or estimates and fiscal policy committee. All estimates would be referred to the latter. The standing committee on law amendments will remain for legislation that requires hearings with outside experts and other committees will not generally have witnesses. Committee meetings will be held in the legislative chamber to ensure they can be televised.

“I look forward to working collaboratively and consulting with employees of the legislative assembly, the Office of the official Opposition and the Green Party leader’s office,” said Albert. “It is critical that we work together to move the legislative assembly forward and ensure that it serves the people of New Brunswick as efficiently and transparently possible.”