How to use this Citizens’ Guide

To be effective, citizens have to know how their legislature works

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Latest news: The Spring 2018 sitting of the House of Assembly began on February 27, 2018, and ended on April 18, 2018. The main items of business were the annual budget, which was delivered on March 20th, and Bill 72, the Education Reform (2018) Act. The Fall 2018 sitting will likely begin in October or November, but there’s no way to know for sure.

You can browse this Citizens’ Guide from top to bottom simply by scrolling down. If you’re looking for something specific, I recommend using the Search function. If you’re looking for something more general, the Categories list is likely the best starting point. You might find the category “Advice for Citizens” especially useful, because it includes tips on communicating with your MLA, making a presentation to the Law Amendments Committee, and having an impact on the annual budget. The posts on the law-making process and the budget-making process are also good starting points. They will lead you deeper into this Citizens’ Guide via the links. There’s also a post on all the vocabulary, because the legislature uses a lot of jargon, acronyms and slang.

I’m going to keep building this Citizens’ Guide in response to events and your questions. If you send me your questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. Factual questions only, please. I won’t answer questions that are partisan, or that are about specific individuals, or that require speculation or opinion. To keep this Citizens’ Guide manageable, I’ll answer questions only about how the legislature works, and not about politics, elections or government in general.

Every question about the legislature is a good question. If you’ve been wondering something about the legislature, then chances are that lots of other people are wondering the same thing.

I started this Citizens’ Guide in December 2016 because of a startling political event. That event is behind us now, but the need remains for a good explainer.

To be an effective citizen, you have to know how decisions are made. The legislature is part of the decision-making process, yet most Nova Scotians know very little about what really goes on there. Because I’ve been hanging around the legislature since 1998, I have a pretty good sense of how it really works. This Citizens’ Guide is my way of sharing my experience.

Author: Graham Steele

A former MLA in Nova Scotia, currently Professor of Business Law in the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University

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