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Skip Navigation LinksParliamentary Personnel

Certain members of the administrative staff of the National Assembly work to ensure that parliamentary sittings run smoothly. 

They are

Consult the Assembly seating plan (PDF, 131 KB, in French) to see the places reserved for the Secretary General, the Table officers and the Sergeant-at-Arms in the National Assembly Chamber.

Secretary General

The Secretary General is the highest-ranking public servant in the Assembly. The Secretary General serves as the main advisor to the President of the National Assembly on issues of parliamentary procedure, i.e. the set of rules that govern parliamentary proceedings.

In the National Assembly Chamber, the Secretary General sits at the head of the Table, in front of the Throne and facing the Mace.

For more on the Table, the Throne and the Mace 

A Role Determined by British Parliamentary Tradition

The role of the Secretary General has its roots far back in British parliamentary tradition. Since Parliament cannot function without keeping a record of its decisions, votes and resolutions, the Secretary General is responsible for keeping the Votes and Proceedings, a concrete legal record of proceedings.

The importance of the Secretary General’s duties is evoked by a papyrus motif that is carved into the woodwork of the Chamber to recall the role of the scribe in ancient Egypt.

The notion of time is essential to the functioning of Parliament. In the past, the Clerk (as the Secretary General was called) would consult the clock that faces the Throne and the Secretary General in the Chamber and record the time. Today, screens display each Member’s speaking time for all to see.

Table Officers

The Table officers are members of the Assembly personnel who advise the President, or Speaker, on parliamentary procedure. The MNAs may also consult them.

When specific questions regarding procedure are raised, the President may call on the Table officers for precedents or the proper application of a rule. The President has the final decision in all such questions. The decisions rendered by the President of the Assembly combine to form parliamentary jurisprudence.

The Table officers keep a record of the interventions made by MNAs and their speaking time in the House.

The Table officers are also called upon during recorded divisions, when they must name—one after another, from memory—each Member of the National Assembly and the Member’s electoral division, in order for their votes to be recorded.

The tools used by the Secretary General, Table officers and President of the Assembly are

In the National Assembly Chamber, the Table officers are seated at the Table, on either side of the Secretary General.

Sergeant-at-Arms

The Sergeant-at-Arms ensures the safety of MNAs and maintains decorum by

  • making sure that MNAs are afforded appropriate speaking conditions
  • maintaining order on the floor and in the galleries of the National Assembly Chamber
  • carrying the Mace 

A desk in the Chamber is reserved for the Sergeant-at-Arms. 

Pages

Pages are responsible for setting up and tidying the Chamber and committee rooms before and after each sitting. They serve the President, MNAs and their political attachés, the Secretary General and the Table officers during sittings of the Assembly. They also distribute documents that have been tabled and bills that have been introduced—both in the Assembly and in committee—to MNAs.

Pages serve as examples of the decorum that must be observed in the Assembly. They organize and play a role in the daily procession by the President and Vice-presidents (and on occasion the Lieutenant-Governor) into and out of the Assembly Chamber.

 
 

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