Legislature’s ceremonial mace a gift from government workers on Alberta's 50th birthday

Alberta was celebrating its 50th birthday by the time the province decided its old makeshift legislature mace needed a facelift.

The legislature mace is a ceremonial staff used by the province’s sergeant-at-arms and symbolizes legislative authority.

The mace is carried into the chamber by the sergeant-at-arms at the beginning of a session, where it remains on the table to represent the order governing the house. It is then removed when the legislature has either adjourned or recessed.

When Alberta became a province, officials realized it would quickly need a mace to be used during legislative proceedings. What resulted was a hurriedly produced staff made up mainly of plumbing pipe, scraps of wood and – incredibly – a float from an old toilet tank. Albertans are nothing if not resourceful.

Original Mace being polished.

But a half-century later, officials finally decided that the legislature was deserving of a more permanent mace. It was time to replace the hastily produced staff. The fledgling province had grown up.

That’s where the province’s public service came in. On February 9, 1956, the Civil Service Association of Alberta (CSAA) – AUPE’s predecessor union – presented the new, ornate mace to the people of Alberta to be held in trust by the Legislative Assembly.

“Every day our elected officials follow the mace into our Alberta legislature. While it may be our elected officials who enter to debate issues of the day and pass laws, it is fitting that the mace was provided by the people who make this province great," said AUPE Vice-President Glen Scott.

“It’s an important and poignant reminder that those officials couldn’t do the work they do without the support of Alberta’s public sector workers.”

The mace, still in use today, is inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones and is made of silver, which is overlaid in gold. It can be seen on the table on the middle of the legislature floor when the house is in session.