Fonds RG4 - Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly fonds

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Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly fonds

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  • Sound recording
  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of the fonds

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  • 1867-2010 (Creation)
    Prince Edward Island. Legislative Assembly

Physical description area

Physical description

41.5 m. of textual records
58 reels of microfilm
4000 hours of audio recordings

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Prince Edward Island. Legislative Assembly

Administrative history

The first House of Assembly was elected on 4 July 1773 and consisted of 18 members.

In 1893, the Legislature Act abolished the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council and established the PEI Legislative Assembly of 30 members in 15 electoral districts. Each of the province's three counties had 5 electoral districts and each district returned two members - one councillor and one assemblyman. These constituencies remained in effect until a 1966 amendment to the Act, providing for 32 members in 16 districts. The Legislature Act outlined the qualifications for those eligible for members: male British subjects of twenty-one years of age or more. Ineligible to sit as members were: government contractors, clergymen, members of the House of Commons, federal and provincial Crown employees except the Provincial Secretary-Treasurer, the Commissioner of Public Lands, the Attorney-General, Commission of Public Works, if they were elected while holding their office. Qualifications for voters for Councillor stipulated that voters must be male British citizens of 21 years of age or more and possess real estate of the value of $325.00. Qualifications for voters for Assemblyman included male British subject of age 21 years or more, owner or occupier of an estate of a yearly value of at least $6.00, or had worked and lived in the province for one year, or was a resident of Charlottetown or Summerside for one year and paid poll tax. A Speaker is elected from the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and presides at all meetings of the Assembly. A 1904 amendment to the Act respecting the Legislature allowed for the election of a Deputy Speaker from the members to act in the absence of the Speaker, although it appears that this did not regularly occur until the 1930s. The 1913 Legislative Assembly Privileges Act outlined the privileges and duties of the elected Legislative Assembly members. This act removed the power of appointing a Clerk from the Legislative Assembly members and vested the power with the Lieutenant Governor in Council. In 1921, the voting franchise was extended to women. The Election Act of 1922 further provided the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the power to appoint a Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and any additional assistant clerks deemed necessary to carry out the business of the Legislative Assembly. The Act also vested the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly as custodian of all records created and related to the Legislative Assembly. The 1940 Legislative Assembly Act provided for more details regarding the election of Speakers and Deputy Speakers in the event of the absence or death of the Speakers. This act also stipulated that the Legislative Assembly should last for 5 years, and no more, and that a session be held once in every year. The qualification of members was laid out in the 1940 act which now included females as well as males. The make-up of the Executive Council and Treasury Board are outlined in this act as well as the Legislative Assembly privileges which are based on those of the House of Commons. The 1948 Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act outlined the duties of the Clerk of the Assembly as pertains to the Acts of the province. Also, all records of the Assembly were to be deposited in the office of the Clerk. This act also outlined the payments allowed for Members of the Legislative Assembly and Leader of the Opposition for fulfilment of their official duties. In 1963, a Royal Commission on Electoral Reform recommended a provincial Election Act, the creation of a position of Chief Electoral Officer and that the vote be extended to aboriginal peoples of the province. The 1965 Election Act revised the electoral districts, increasing the number of dual member districts from 15 to 16, thus returning 32 members of the Legislative Assembly. A 1967 Election Act amendment changed the qualification age for electors from 21 to 18 years of age. In 1974, the provincial government established the Electoral Boundaries Committee, a legislative committee which recommended the rearrangement of the electoral boundaries for better geographical and population representation, however, no government action was taken. An Election Act and Electoral Boundaries Commission was established in 1993 and in 1994 the Commission presented its report to the Legislative Assembly recommending 30 single member districts. The Electoral Boundaries Act was passed in 1994, providing for 27 single member electoral districts. The 1996 general election was the first to run with 27 single member per riding candidates. Changes were made to the electoral boundary districts again in 2006, returning 27 members in the 2007 general election, the first election following the revised map.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds includes records created during the process and functions of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island largely for the period 1894 to 2006. The fonds divides into 11 series: journals of the Legislative Assembly, acts of the PEI Legislature, Legislative Assembly debates and proceedings, rules and orders, election papers, reports tabled in the Legislature, resolutions, petitions to the Legislative Assembly, Committee papers, correspondence and sessional papers. The Journals series divides into two sub-series: manuscript journals covering the period 1898 to 1935 and printed journals which range from 1894 through 2006. The acts of the PEI Legislature series which covers 1894 to 2006 is divided into 6 sub-series: statutes, bills, working copies of bills, petitions regarding bills, bills withdrawn and regulations. The statutes sub-series includes the final printed version of the acts, dating from 1894 to 2006. The statutes are available in bound format as well as on microfilm. Statutes are also available on the PEI Government website. The bills presented to the PEI Legislative Assembly sub-series consists of 40 record boxes of records and covers 1894 to 1972. The bills record the dates of first, second and third readings in the Legislative Assembly as well as the date the bills were given Royal Assent. The working copies of bills sub-series consists of 19 file folders covering the period 1965 to 1972. These working copies include the dates of readings in the Legislative Assembly, as well as notations for changes in wording, etc. The petitions regarding bills sub-series coves 1933 to 1935 and circa 1950 and consists of 4 files of petitions from individuals and organizations regarding bills and amendments to various acts. The sub-series of bills withdrawn from the Legislative Assembly debate consists of 4 files dating 1947 to 1950. The final sub-series of the acts of the Legislative Assembly is consists of regulations for two 1949 acts and some supplementary regulations dating 1950. The Legislative Assembly debates and proceedings series, covering 1900 to 2009, divides into 5 sub-series: debates and proceedings, scrapbooks, audio-taped debates and proceedings, hansard and speeches. The debates and proceedings sub-series includes partial transcribed and newspaper reported proceedings of the Legislative Assembly for the years 1900, 1914, 1915, 1925, 1956, 1957 and complete printed proceedings for the years 1960 to 1973. The scrapbook sub-series covers the years 1907 to 1960. Available on microfilm, these records include the debates and proceedings of the Legislative Assembly as recorded and reported by the Parliamentary Reporter in the local newspapers. Clippings of these reports were pasted into scrapbooks. The sub-series of audio-taped debates and proceedings includes approximately 4000 hours of recordings and covers the period 1956 to 2000. Also included in the sub-series are cue sheets for some of the recordings. Prior to 1968, when reel to reel audio-tape recording began, the debates and proceedings were recorded on dicta-belt. The hansard sub-series consists of 46 bound volumes of transcribed proceedings of the Legislative Assembly. These records date from 1996 to 2009. The final sub-series in the Debates and proceedings series is speeches. These records are incomplete and range from 1892 through 1950 and include budget speeches and speeches from the Throne. The fourth series of the fonds, rules and orders, consists two sub-series: order books and questions and answers. The order books sub-series covers various years from 1984 to 1935. Maintained by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, the order books record the subject to be introduced in the Legislature and Members' names. The questions and answers sub-series includes 16 file folders of records which range from 1909 to 1955. These records are incomplete. The fifth series of the fonds, election papers, divides into two sub-series. Federal election papers covers 1867 to 1984 and includes poll books, voters' lists, and reports of the Chief Electoral Officer for PEI federal ridings for various federal elections. The provincial election papers sub-series includes various election records for the 1982 general election and the 1985 by-elections. The fonds includes a series of reports tabled in the Legislature. This series includes 30 volumes of various reports to government ranging from 1898 to 1957 which were presented to the Legislature. This series is incomplete. The resolutions series includes one bound volume and 4 file folders of records ranging from 1894 to 1910 and 1933. These records include resolutions of supply and resolutions and motions made in the Legislative Assembly. The fonds includes a series of petitions to the Legislative Assembly. Records in this series range in dates from 1912 to 1950 and consist of 5 file folders. The Committee papers series dates from 1931 to 1957, with many gaps. The series includes 6 file folders and some are incomplete. Later committee records appear in the Sessional papers series. The tenth series of this fonds consists of one file folder of routine correspondence regarding the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly dating 1932 to 1933. The final series of the fonds consists of sessional papers. The records in this series date from 1960 through 1990 and consists of 16.4 metres of textual records. The sessional records are arranged chronologically by session and include various types of records such as speeches and statements by Members of the Legislative Assembly, speeches from the throne, prayers, orders of the day, bills, resolutions, questions and answers, oral question period transcripts, committee reports, annual and other reports etc.

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Records prior to 1960 are arranged by series or function of records. Records dating 1960 and later have been maintained in chronological order by session. For the most part, files are arranged alphabetically by title.

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  • English

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Associated materials

RG3, P.E.I. House of Assembly fonds (1773-1894); RG2, P.E.I. Legislative Council fonds (1789-1893); Acc3926, Rules of the Legislature of Prince Edward Island, passed 24 March 1922, amended 1936, 1955; The government of Prince Edward Island by Frank MacKinnon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951); photographs of some Members of the Legislative Assembly are in Acc3177 and Acc2755; Acc3688, Walter Russell Shaw fonds includes some Legislative Assembly materials dating 1963-1970; RG7 Provincial Secretary fonds, election papers; Acc4214, Annual reports of the departments of the Government of Prince Edward Island : [1950-1985]; the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly website

Related materials


Further accruals are expected

General note

Manuscript journals are oversize. Statutes are available on microfilm. Some files are oversize.

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  • English

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