Tag Archives: Andrew Fisher

Two rookies turfed from Tory cabinet.

New Tourism Minister Richard Starke, and departing cabinet ministers Stephen Khan and Christine Cusanelli.

New Tourism Minister Richard Starke, and departing cabinet ministers Stephen Khan and Christine Cusanelli.

In an unexpected move, Premier Alison Redford shuffled two rookie cabinet ministers out of her cabinet yesterday morning. Advanced Education & Enterprise Minister Stephen Khan (MLA St. Albert) and Tourism Minister Christine Cusanelli (MLA Calgary-Currie) were both appointed to cabinet in May 2012.

Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk

Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk

Mr. Khan’s time in cabinet was largely seen as reserved and underwhelming. Ms. Cusanelli caused an unwelcome stir when she was forced to repay the government $10,600 for expenses made in her first five months in office, including $4,000 in airfare to have her daughter and mother join her at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. She was also given the unenviable task of defending the government’s large line of hospitality expenses at the London Games.

Ms. Cusanelli’s ministerial office was recently shuffled with the hiring of Chief of Staff Tammy Forbes, who previously served as the Premier’s media liaison, and press secretary Andrew Fisher, who previously served as Chief of Staff.

Replacing Mr. Khan is Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, who has been operating without an official cabinet portfolio since before last year’s election. First-term MLA Richard Starke, representing Vermilion-Lloydminster, has been tapped to replace Ms. Cusanelli as Minister of Tourism.

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Minister Starke’s constituency has a long history of electing MLAs who later served as cabinet ministers.

First to the Tory cabinet was Lloydminster MLA Bud Miller served as the Minister of Public Lands and Wildlife in Premier Peter Lougheed‘s cabinet from 1979 to 1982.

Directly preceding Minister Starke was Lloyd Snelgrove, who was MLA from 2001 to 2012 and served in a number of portfolios during Premier Ed Stelmach‘s time in office, including a period of Minister of Finance. Citing irreconcilable differences, Mr. Snelgrove left the PC caucus to sit as an Independent MLA following Premier Redford’s successful leadership bid.

Preceding Mr. Snelgrove was Steve West, who served as the constituency’s MLA from 1986 to 2001 and served in a number of cabinet portfolios during Premier Ralph Klein‘s time in office, including Minister of Finance.

(Judging from historical trends, you might think there is a good chance that Minister Starke could one day be Minister of Finance).

letter by former mla a glimpse at desperate times in the liberal party.

“At year’s end there is a saying, “Out with the old and in with the new”

“Unfortunately, this does not apply to your St. Albert Provincial Liberal Constituency Association. The reality of our situation is that “The old is not out and the new is the same old.”

A letter sent to current and past Alberta Liberal Party supporters in the St. Albert constituency gives a glimpse into how disorganized and far-behind the Liberal Party is in preparing for the next provincial election in some constituencies.

The letter, signed by local activist Wilf Borgstede and constituency association president and former MLA Jack Flaherty, outlines the trouble that the Liberals have had in recruiting a candidate to run in that constituency in the upcoming provincial election.

The letter makes reference to two prospective candidates who showed interest in running, but declined because of the lack of support the local organization would be able to provide them during the election campaign.

According to the letter, the last Annual General Meeting was held in 2008, the year which Mr. Flaherty was defeated. The letter suggests that despite a brief boost in interest in the party during the recent leadership contest and when former Tory MLA Raj Sherman was chosen as leader, that interest has since disbursed.

When contacted about this letter, Liberal Party campaign chairman Corey Hogan, always an optimist, wrote via email that “I suspect the launch of our platform on the 6th will further invigorate members and supporters in St. Albert and elsewhere as we get prepared for the coming contest.”

Meanwhile, the four other main political parties have nominated candidates. Alberta Party candidate Tim Osborne was nominated more than a year ago, the NDP acclaimed activist Nicole Bownes in 2010, and the Wildrose have chosen former Alderman James Burrows (who is a former Liberal Party member). Two weeks ago, the PCs held a hotly contested nomination meeting that drew three candidates and hundreds of local supporters to select a replacement to retiring MLA Ken Allred. Businessman Stephen Khan was the successful PC nominee.

The letter may be symptomatic of broader problems facing the Liberal Party. Two staffers who recently left the Liberal Caucus Office have landed in the PC camp. Former Liberal Researcher Kyle Olsen recently left the Caucus for a job as a researcher at the PC Caucus and former public relations coordinator Andrew Fisher is now supporting Edmonton-Centre PC candidate Akash Kokhar‘s campaign.