Why none of Alberta’s 87 MLAs deserved to be listed as a Top MLA of 2013.

Do any of the MLAs working in this building deserve to be named a Top MLA of 2013?

Do any of the MLAs working in this building deserve to be named a Top MLA of 2013?

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.

Notable mentions

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.

Previous Top MLA lists
Top MLA’s 2012
Top MLA’s 2011
Top MLA’s 2010

7 thoughts on “Why none of Alberta’s 87 MLAs deserved to be listed as a Top MLA of 2013.

  1. Conrad Volk

    You’re probably right that there are no shining stars of 87, but that also includes Danielle Smith. Under her “leadership” her party is no longer conservative – it’s a simple opposition party that is devoid of principle and that will oppose anything for a political point of the day. This is shown especially with her opposition to Bills 45 and 46, which didn’t go far enough.

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  2. Conrad Volk

    Dave, you’re probably right that there are no shining stars of 87, but that also includes Danielle Smith. Under her “leadership” her party is no longer conservative – it’s a simple opposition party that is devoid of principle and that will oppose anything for a political point of the day. This is shown especially with her opposition to Bills 45 and 46, which didn’t go far enough.

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  3. Bob

    Well said, mostly. Danielle’s over the top attack on Neil Wilkinson puts the lie to the statement that she’s looking more like a Premier-in-waiting each day. As for staffers, Stefan Baranski, Cooper Matheson and Brock Harrison really need to wake up to the fact that no one voted for them. Nor is it likely that anyone ever will vote for them.

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  4. Jack R

    What I don’t get is what’s wrong with being “partisan”. Every sitting MLA was elected under a party banner and voters typically vote for the party more than the person. By being partisan, MLA’s therefore represent the majority of people in their district.

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  5. Mike Butler

    Darren is defiantly a good guy I wish he would stand beside his friends more often but a good guy and maybe a good leader. David Swann has my respect this year. He has stood up for Mental Health, Aboriginal rights and the betterment of Alberta society as a whole. I am obviously biased but I will not shy away from complimenting someone if they are doing good work. Danielle Smith is still a question mark in my mind because I have never met her before. Hard to tell of someone’s metal if you have never met them face to face. Happy New Year Dave your Blog has been the best political source in Alberta since I have started in politics well done.

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