Premier David Alward is seeking recommendations on ways to have representatives from unelected political parties involved in the legislative process.

Alward announced Friday that Donald Desserud, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, has been asked to come up with a series of recommendations that would allow other political parties to have a voice in the legislature's committee process and other government initiatives.

"We believe that citizen engagement means listening to differing opinions and treating individuals with dignity and respect," Alward said in a statement.

"We are a government for all New Brunswickers, no matter how they vote. We have a history of working together to find the best solutions, and I look forward to working with these leaders in the near future."

The standing rules that govern legislative committees limit the amount of public participation that is permitted during hearings. For example, during standing committees that scrutinize departmental spending, only government and opposition MLAs are allowed to question civil servants.

After the ballots were counted from the Sept. 27 provincial election, only the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals ended up with seats.

Meanwhile, the New Democratic Party, which garnered more than 10 per cent of the popular vote, was again unable to elect a single MLA. The party has been without a seat inside the legislative assembly since 2005.

Other smaller registered parties, the Green party and the People's Alliance of New Brunswick, were also shut out of the legislature.

Tom Mann, the co-chair of Democracy for New Brunswick, said Alward's initiative is a good step on the way to a more transparent government.

"We think it's the first step," he said. "It's not the final step … of making every vote count in this province, as 16 per cent of those who voted in the September election do not have a representative in that Legislative Assembly."

The UNB political scientist will consult with those political parties that were unsuccessful in the last election and the clerk of the legislative assembly. Desserud will then propose new options that would allow for broader political input.

Desserud will give his options to Speaker Dale Graham, who will then present Desserud's recommendations to the legislature's Standing Committee on Procedures for discussion.

According to the government, Desserud will volunteer his time on this proposal.