Office of the Speaker
The Speaker, elected in a secret ballot by all Members of the Assembly, occupies the position of highest authority in the Legislative Assembly, representing the Legislature in all its powers and proceedings. The duties of the office fall into three categories.
- First, the Speaker acts as a spokesperson of the Assembly in its relations with authorities outside the Legislature. The Speaker officially welcomes delegations and visitors to the Legislative Assembly.
- Second, the Speaker presides over the sitting of the Assembly and enforces the rules, order and conduct of business. The two key aspects of this part of the Speaker’s role are authority and impartiality. The Speaker does not take part in debates, ask or answer questions, or vote, except to break a tie. The Speaker controls debates in the Chamber, and all questions and statements during a formal sitting must be directed “through the Chair”. The Speaker ensures that Members follow the rules and practices of the Assembly as they ask or answer questions, participate in debate, or vote.
- Third, the Speaker is responsible for the daily administration of the Legislative Assembly. The many Assembly employees who provide services for Members report to the Speaker.
When the Speaker cannot be in the Legislative Assembly Chamber, the Deputy Speaker assumes the duties of Speaker presiding over the debate before the House.
The Legislative Assembly Classroom and Teachers’ Institute on Parliamentary Democracy, Legislative Assembly Administration and Finance also fall under the Speaker’s purview. The Speaker also enjoys and takes pride in the "Speaker’s Outreach Program", which consists of visits to schools with the local MLA so that students gain a better understanding of the Manitoba democratic system.
The Speaker is also the Chairperson of the Legislative Assembly Management Commission (LAMC) which is responsible for the financial management of the Assembly and establishes budgets and administrative policies for Assembly Offices. LAMC also reviews the budgets of the independent officers who report to the Assembly (the Auditor General, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Children’s Advocate, the Ombudsman and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner).
Like all Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Speakers are first elected in one of the 57 provincial constituencies. Members then elect the Speaker by secret ballot at the beginning of the first legislative session following a general election, or at any time a vacancy on the office occurs.
In addition to the duties as head of the Assembly, the Speaker also attends to the many tasks involved in being an MLA, such as responding to the concerns of constituents.