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How it works

Historically, Albertans have elected governments with large majorities and kept them in power for a long time. This political tradition began during the first provincial election in 1905. Alberta's first premier, Alexander C. Rutherford and his Liberals took 22 of 25 seats. In 1979, the Progressive Conservatives won 74 out of 79 seats. After the 2012 provincial election, the Progressive Conservatives held 61 out of 87 seats.

The Liberal party formed the first government in Alberta from 1905-1921. The United Farmers of Alberta party overcame the Liberals in 1921 and stayed in power until 1935. The Social Credit Party formed the next provincial government for 35 years from 1935-1971. The Progressive Conservative party has been in government from 1971 to present.

More Information About Aberta's Government

How is government formed?

The province is divided into 87 constituencies, or ridings. Each riding has a number of candidates from different parties. The candidate in each riding that wins the highest number of votes in an election becomes the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for that riding. This person represents the constituency in the Legislative Assembly.

The leader of the political party with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly becomes the Premier of Alberta. The Premier and ministers form the government.

Elections and by-elections

By law, a provincial general election must be held every five years, though it can be held sooner. In a general election Albertans from across the province vote on who they want to represent them in the Legislative Assembly.

Sometimes a seat in the Legislative Assembly is vacated well before the next provincial election will be held. When this happens, a by-election is called. A by-election is an election held in one riding only. The winner of the by-election becomes the new MLA for that riding until the next general election.

How are laws made?

Laws are passed by MLAs. Laws are introduced as bills, and debated in the Legislative Assembly before being put to a vote. If the Assembly passes a bill, it goes to the Lieutenant Governor for Royal Assent, at which point it becomes law.

Alberta Facts - Governence

  • Provincial Governance:
    83 seat elected Legislative Assembly, executive power exercised by Cabinet and Premier
  • Federal Representation:
    26 Members of Parliament, 6 senators
  • Representative of the Crown:
    Lieutenant Governor, appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada