Tricorne Tweeting: Alberta's Speaker Engages the Public and Enhances Democracy.

AuthorMassolin, Philip

Interpreting and enforcing the rules of parliament is a central part of a Speaker's responsibilities within an Assembly. However, it is certainly not the only part of the job. A Speaker is also an ambassador of the Assembly, and it is her or his responsibility to explain, educate and provide resources on parliamentary democracy. A Speaker is, therefore, an advocate and exponent of democracy and democratic institutions. In an effort to fulfill this role and communicate in a way that draws in a large audience, Alberta's Speaker has created a new digital and social media campaign to engage with Albertans and visitors interested in the province's parliamentary processes and traditions. In this article, the author outlines aspects of the campaign and explains why a Speaker's neutral, non-partisan position makes him or her uniquely equipped to advocate and explain parliamentary democracy to citizens and visitors alike.


Parliamentary education and outreach can take many forms. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta offers heritage interpretation, Legislature tours, school programs, and a Visitor Centre with exhibit space that explores the parliamentary history of the province. However, the recently elected Speaker of the Assembly, the Honourable Nathan Cooper, has embarked on a project to use digital and social media to better engage Albertans in a conversation about the history and conventions of the Assembly.

Those interested in Alberta's democratic traditions can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into both the legislative process and the Legislature building itself, through Speaker Cooper's ongoing video series which covers a number of topics and is available on a variety of social media platforms. Speaker Cooper's videos show how the use of technology, combined with personal storytelling can inform, educate and even entertain Albertans and other visitors about the institution of parliament in the province. A main goal of the video series is to demystify the Legislative Assembly and to use a modern means of communication to make this content accessible to a wide and diverse audience.

"If you're here, it's likely because you have questions," declares the opening line in the Message from the Speaker on the Legislative Assembly of Alberta's website. "Whether you're a student seeking to learn more about our parliamentary democracy, a citizen seeking information about legislation currently before the Assembly or a first-time visitor to the...

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