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Although it is an integral part of the election process in Québec, the notion of political party is all but absent from the proceedings of the National Assembly and the parliamentary committees. In fact, within this context there is no longer talk of political parties but of parliamentary groups as defined in the Standing Orders of the National Assembly.

Conditions for Recognition 

The Standing Orders state that in order to be recognized as a parliamentary group, a political party must, in the most recent general election 

  • elect at least 12 Members to the Assembly, or
  • have received at least 20% of the popular vote

A Member belonging to a party that does not qualify as a parliamentary group may

  • sit as an independent Member
  • join a recognized group

Sitting party leaders also lead their respective parliamentary groups. Furthermore, parliamentary usage and custom dictates that group leaders have precedence over other MNAs. They are given a privileged right to speak in most debates under the Standing Orders.

Names Given Groups

The group with the most elected Members is known as the group forming the Government. The group which has the second highest number of elected Members is referred to as the group forming the Official Opposition

If the third-ranked party fulfills the conditions for recognition as a parliamentary group, it becomes the second opposition group, and so on.

Advantages Granted Groups

The Standing Orders give certain advantages to parliamentary groups, in particular with regard to speaking time during debates and in parliamentary committees.

This is an important advantage, since speaking time is the main resource available to MNAs during parliamentary proceedings. More speaking time means more opportunities to present an opinion or deliver a message.

 
 

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