Newly elected members, called members elect, must take an oath or make a solemn affirmation before they can take their seats in the House of Assembly. The requirement for Members of the Legislative Assembly to take the Oath of Allegiance is found in the Constitution Act, 1867.
All members of a new general assembly are sworn-in, even if they have previously been a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Incumbents are sworn-in because they ceased to be a member on the day the previous general assembly was dissolved.
Each caucus has its own swearing-in ceremony. The members elect belonging to the governing party are sworn-in first, followed by separate ceremonies for the official opposition and other recognized parties. Within each caucus, incumbent Members Elect are sworn-in by order of seniority, then new members elect alphabetically by constituency.
Ceremonies held after a general election take place in the Red Chamber at Province House. The ceremonies are not open to the public, but are broadcast live by Legislative Television.
The ceremonies are presided over by the chief clerk and begin with the reading of a proclamation. The chief clerk reports on the number of members elected for each caucus, according to the election returns, and invites members elect to take the Oath and sign the Roll.
The Oath or solemn affirmation
New members can choose either to take the Oath of Allegiance or make a solemn affirmation. The Oath is a sworn statement and the solemn affirmation is a declaration of allegiance to the Crown.
The Oath of Allegiance:
I, (Member’s name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, According to Law, So help me God.
The solemn affirmation:
I, (Member’s name), do affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, According to Law.
Members have taken the Oath in English, French, or Gaelic.
The Roll and Register of Insignia
The Roll is a document signed by members when they are sworn-in after a general election or by-election. It is the official record of members for a general assembly who have sworn the oath.
During the ceremony, members are also presented with a numbered pin, which is documented in the Register of Insignia. The pin signifies membership in the House of Assembly. Returning members do not receive a new pin.
Once members elect have taken the Oath or made the solemn affirmation and signed the Roll, they are Members of the Legislative Assembly and may take their seats in the House of Assembly chamber.