Nova Scotia House of Assembly

The Nova Scotia House of Assembly (French: Chambre d'assemblée de la Nouvelle-Écosse; Scottish Gaelic: Taigh Seanaidh Alba Nuadh), or Legislative Assembly, is the deliberative assembly of the General Assembly of Nova Scotia of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The assembly is the oldest in Canada, having first sat in 1758,[1] and in 1848 was the site of the first responsible government in the British Empire. Bills passed by the House of Assembly are given royal assent by the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia[2] in the name of the Queen.

Originally (in 1758), the Legislature consisted of the Crown represented by a governor (later a lieutenant governor), the appointed Nova Scotia Council holding both executive and legislative duties and an elected House of Assembly (lower chamber). In 1838, the council was replaced by an executive council with the executive function and a legislative council with the legislative functions based on the House of Lords. In 1928, the Legislative Council was abolished and the members pensioned off.

There are 51 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) representing 51 electoral districts. (With the next general election, there will be 55 electoral districts.[3]) Members nearly always represent one of the three main political parties of the province: the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia New Democratic Party.

The assembly meets in Province House. Located in Halifax Province House is a National Historic Site and Canada's oldest and smallest legislative building. It opened on February 11, 1819. The building was also originally home to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, and the location of the "Freedom of the Press" trial of Joseph Howe. Its main entrance is found on Hollis Street in Halifax.

A number of officers of the house are appointed in accordance with legislation passed by the house. These officers fulfil numerous functions as prescribed in the relevant legislation.There are two categories of officers:

The Speaker of the House has authority over the following offices and officers:

These include the Auditor General, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.[4]

The Chief Electoral Officer of Nova Officer as head of Elections Nova Scotia is also appointed by a majority vote of the house and is considered an officer of the house.