It has become tradition on this blog at the end of each year that I publish a list of Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta who have been the best and most notable of the past year.
This year was the first time I struggled to compile a list. In the nine-years since I began writing this blog, 2013 felt like a low-point for our provincial MLAs.
The mindless hyper-partisanship of some MLAs on the floor of the Assembly, as well as the near-complete irrelevance of government backbench MLAs, made it a disappointing year in Alberta politics. While this behaviour is not new, it felt magnified this year.
On social media, most Progressive Conservative MLAs now have a lower-profile than their press secretaries and chiefs of staff, who have become mini-celebrities by spending their days locking-horns with opposition staffers in never-ending partisan arguments on Twitter.
Although there are many MLAs who work hard at the constituency level in their communities and through committee work, the degree of under-achievement on the Assembly floor left much to be desired. When it comes to their elected provincial representatives, there is little for Albertans to be proud of.
Because of this, none of Alberta’s 87 MLAs deserve to be listed as a top MLA of the year for 2013.
Highwood MLA and Wildrose official opposition leader Danielle Smith is sounding and acting more like a Premier-in-waiting each day. Ms. Smith is preparing for the 2016 election and her performance over the next year will demonstrate that.
First-term Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview MLA Deron Bilous is a bright-star for the provincial New Democrats. The well-spoken and youthful Mr. Bilous is growing into a viable option to become his party’s next leader.
Calgary-Foothills PC MLA Len Webber deserves credit for his private members bill that establishes a single agency to co-ordinate organ and tissue donations in Alberta, and creates a consent-to-donate registry.
And honourable mentions go to CBC Edmonton’s investigative journalist Charles Rusnell and associate producer Jennie Russell. Through their methodical investigations and reporting, these two journalists have impacted the provincial debate and become the most effective critics of the long-governing PC Party.