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Legislative Assembly of Alberta Speaker hails Tynwald’s collaborative working

Speaker Cooper Alberta Legislature Visit

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, the Hon. Nathan Cooper, has said that findings from his visit to Tynwald will help to inform how the assembly could work more collaboratively in the future.

Speaker Cooper, accompanied by Ms Shannon Dean, clerk to the Assembly and Ms Lianne Bell, chief of staff to the Speaker, was in the Isle of Man after visiting Westminster and the Scottish Parliament and made the comment during the first of a two-day programme arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office on Monday June 27 and Tuesday June 28.<

He said: ‘The visit is providing an opportunity to learn more about the Isle of Man, a unique Commonwealth democracy, and about Tynwald’s tricameral system. Already in the short time we’ve been here, it’s been super interesting to see how the two jurisdictions are different - in particular how most Members of Tynwald are not affiliated to a political party - yet are similar in so many ways. But what’s really fascinating are the ways in which Tynwald meets: in the House of Keys, the Legislative Council and in “the third leg”, Tynwald Court. I see this joining of forces – this collaborative way of working – as very much for the betterment of the electorate. Our parliamentary system may be similar in some ways, but where we can compare and contrast most with Tynwald is how our government operates by consensus. So, if there’s one thing we’ll be taking away from this visit, it’s an ambition to create a more collaborative parliamentary model.

‘I have also been interested to learn how, in Tynwald’s parliamentary system, the Speaker can speak in his capacity as a serving Member. That’s a massive difference because, for me, as Speaker, that ability is somewhat limited.  Another difference is how, in our assembly, Members and officers have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, whereas I am seeing, how in Tynwald, there’s a lot of multi-tasking by a small and talented team.

‘I’m also eager to learn more about how Tynwald debates a motion, which I understand can lead to introducing new legislation, a procedure which I see as offering potential for us to implement and bring about positive change.’

Turning to engagement, Speaker Cooper said: ‘I’m also interested to learn how Tynwald is addressing issues through engaging with the electorate via social media. Easier access to information and to Members for the public is great for parliamentary democracy, but that benefit can also bring with it challenges, challenges we have to learn how to manage. Doing so, though, can be extremely rewarding.

‘As Speaker, I make a point of using social media to educate people about the nuances of parliamentary democracy, a topic which, in the main, people just don’t “get”, and I try to put across the message that parliamentary democracy is not obsolete.’

Speaker Cooper’s visit to Tynwald also provided an opportunity to renew his acquaintance with the Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon. Juan Watterson SHK, and to explore further the close ties between Alberta and the Isle of Man.

Speaker Cooper said: ‘Some years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Speaker Watterson and learning from him that the first clerk to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, John Robert Cowell, had previously been a Member of Tynwald before emigrating to Canada and becoming one of a select of group to have held the position of clerk. Unsurprisingly, this piqued my interest in the long-standing connection between our two jurisdictions.

‘Clearly, we in Alberta share a lot in common with the Isle of Man, not least the unpredictable weather. Already in the time we’ve spent at Tynwald we have enjoyed great interaction with everyone whom we’ve met. We have found the Isle of Man to be very welcoming and beautiful, the hidden gem of the Commonwealth.’

The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon. Juan Watterson, SHK said: ‘It is always a pleasure to showcase Tynwald to visitors, because in doing so we are able to learn more of ourselves and others.  Speaker Cooper is a fellow enthusiast on all things parliamentary and it has been useful to learn from him about ways in which their assembly has improved accessibility and awareness of what they do.’


Pictured are Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, the Hon. Nathan Cooper, third from left, with left to right, Deputy Clerk of Tynwald, Joann Corkish; the Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon. Juan Watterson, SHK; the President of Tynwald, the Hon. Laurence Skelly, MLC; clerk to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta Shannon Dean; and chief of staff to Speaker Cooper, Lianne Bell

For further information contact:

Joann Corkish

Deputy Clerk of Tynwald

Legislative Buildings



Tel: 01624 686303​​

Published - 01/07/2022