Legislative Assembly

Election of new speaker (07/11/27)

NB 1529

Nov. 27, 2007

FREDERICTON (CNB) - As their first order of business at the start of the second session of the 56th Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick today, members elected Liberal MLA Roy Boudreau (Campbellton - Restigouche Centre) to preside over their deliberations.


Continuing tradition, Premier Shawn Graham and Opposition House Leader Bev Harrison dragged a "reluctant" newly-elected speaker to the Throne.

A native of Campbellton, Boudreau is a graduate of the New Brunswick Teachers' College and the Université de Moncton. He retired after spending more than three decades in the education system as teacher, vice-principal, and principal. He was a Campbellton city councillor.

Boudreau was first elected in 2003, re-elected in 2006. He has served on a variety of standing and select committees of the legislature and also served as deputy speaker.

Although the procedure for choosing the speaker has changed, many of the traditions surrounding the Office of Speaker remain. Among these is the tradition of dragging the reluctant speaker to the chair following election. The idea of the reluctant speaker comes from the historical role of the speaker, whose original function was to speak to the English monarch about what was transpiring in the house. The speaker, at that time, was viewed with suspicion as little more than a spy from the Royal Court. There were times when the king was upset with the speaker's message, and legend tells of speakers who lost their heads as a result of the monarch's displeasure, consequently making anyone reluctant to assume the position of speaker. It was in that era the tradition originated of 'dragging in' the reluctant speaker upon election to the chair. This historic tradition continued today in the New Brunswick Legislature.

Loredana Catalli Sonier, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, noted the speaker assumes the position of highest authority in the house. As the guardian of the privileges of the assembly, he is charged with maintaining order and decorum, enforcing the rules of procedure, and deciding all questions of order. The speaker also chairs the Legislative Administration Committee.


MEDIA CONTACT: Loredana Catalli Sonier, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, 506-453-2506.