Tag Archives: Janis Tarchuk

rookie photos of alberta mlas retiring in 2012.

With an election expected to be held in the next few months and a new Premier setting a new tone, many long-time and not-so-long-time Members of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly have decided that now is time to retire or look for greener pastures.

The nineteen MLAs not seeking re-election are former Premier Ed Stelmach, Ken Kowalski, Iris Evans, Ron Liepert, Mel Knight, Barry McFarland, Janis Tarchuk, Richard Marz, Lloyd Snelgrove, Rob Renner, Hugh MacDonald, Kevin Taft, George Groeneveld, Dave Taylor, Harry Chase, Broyce Jacobs, Ken Allred, and Art Johnston. Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Johnston were defeated in nomination contests in their constituencies.

Rumours circulating suggest that other long-time MLAs are also considering retirement, including Yvonne Fritz and Dave Hancock.

The departures are not limited to MLAs. Yesterday, Liberal Communications Director Brian Leadbetter announced that he will be leaving after a year in the position.

Some of the retiring politicians have spent a decade or more in office, so before the writ is dropped I thought it would be fun to take a look at what some of them looked like in their younger years in office.

Ed Stelmach, MLA for Vegreville-Vermilion (1993-2004), Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (2004-2012), Premier (2006-2011)

Ed Stelmach, MLA for Vegreville-Viking (1993-2004), Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (2004-2012), Premier (2006-2011)

Ken Ken Kowalski, MLA for Barrhead (1979-1993), Barrhead-Westlock (1993-2004), Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (2004-2012) MLA Barrhead

Ken Kowalski, MLA for Barrhead (1979-1993), Barrhead-Westlock (1993-2004), Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (2004-2012)

Iris Evans 1997 and 2012

Iris Evans, MLA for Sherwood Park (1997-2012)

Rob Renner, MLA for Medicine Hat (1993-2012)

Rob Renner, MLA for Medicine Hat (1993-2012)

Barry McFarland, MLA for Little Bow (1991-2012)

Barry McFarland, MLA for Little Bow (1992-2012)

Kevin Taft, MLA for Edmonton-Riverview (2001-2012)

Kevin Taft, MLA for Edmonton-Riverview (2001-2012)

Janis Tarchuk, MLA for Banff-Cochrane (1997-2012)

Janis Tarchuk, MLA for Banff-Cochrane (1997-2012)

Hugh MacDonald, MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar (1997-2012)

Hugh MacDonald, MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar (1997-2012)

Richard Marz, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (1997-2012)

Richard Marz, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (1997-2012)

alberta election candidate update: january 2012.

The list of candidates nominated to stand in the next provincial general election continues to grow.

Nominated Alberta Election Candidates by Region January 3 2012

Nominated Alberta Election Candidates by Region (January 3, 2012)

Here are some of the updates that I have recently made to the list:

Banff-Cochrane: Nominated Wildrose Party candidate Trudy Heuser has stepped down as her party’s candidate, citing personal reasons. The former school trustee was criticized after her nominated by local Wildrose members who called the process unfair. Canmore businessman John Fitzsimmons and Cochrane Mayor Truper McBride have entered the Progressive Conservative nomination contest to replace retiring MLA Janis Tarchuk. The nomination meeting is scheduled for January 28, 2012.

Lloyd Bertschi Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC nomination candidate

Morinville Mayor Lloyd Bertschi

Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock: Tim Schultz, Maureen Kubinec, Lloyd Bertschi, and Bert Seatter are the second, third, and fourth candidates to enter the PC nomination contest to replace retiring ten term MLA Ken Kowalski. Mr. Shultz is the former executive assistant to Deputy Premier Doug Horner. Ms. Kubinec is Deputy Reeve of Westlock County and the former President of the Alberta School Boards Association. Mr. Bertschi is the Mayor of Morinville and the former President of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. Mr. Seatter is a member of Westlock County Council. The first candidate to enter the contest was Westlock Town Councillor David Truckey. The nomination meeting is scheduled for January 28, 2012.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake: Past federal Liberal candidate Rob Fox has expressed interest in the Liberal Party nomination in this northeast Alberta constituency. Mr. Fox placed third with 6.1% of the vote in the May 2011 federal vote.

Calgary-East: Liberal Party activist Michelle Robinson is seeking her party’s nomination.

Calgary-Hawkwood: Local radio personality Kumar Sharma is seeking the PC nomination.

Ken Hughes Alberta Calgary-West

Former AHS Chairman Ken Hughes

Calgary-West: Recently resigned Alberta Health Services chairman Ken Hughes is seeking the PC nomination, which is being vacated by current Finance Minister Ron Liepert. Mr. Hughes served as Chairman of AHS since 2008 and was a PC Member of Parliament from 1988 until 1993. Also seeking the nomination is Calgary Police Service Sergeant Mike Ellis.

Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview: Prolific tweeter Don Martin has been acclaimed as the Wildrose Party candidate.

Edmonton-Calder: Alex Bosse is seeking the Liberal Party nomination in this north west Edmonton constituency. Mr. Bosse was previously seeking the nomination in St. Albert, but told this blogger that he was convinced by the party to run in Calder instead.

Edmonton-Ellerslie: Past City Council candidate Chinwe Okelu was acclaimed as the Alberta Party candidate in this southeast Edmonton constituency.

Edmonton-Gold Bar: Past City Council candidate Lori Jeffery-Heaney is challenging past Mayoral candidate David Dorward for the PC nomination. The nomination meeting is scheduled for January 25, 2012.

Fort McMurray Conklin: Catholic School Trustee Keith McGrath is considering seeking the Wildrose nomination. UPDATE: Mr. McGrath has withdrawn his name from the Wildrose contest.

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo: Public School Board Trustee Jeff Thompson is seeking the PC nomination. The constituency is currently represented by Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier. The nomination meeting is scheduled for January 28, 2012.

Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville: Chris Fulmer is the nominated NDP candidate.

Grande Prairie-Smoky: Todd Loewen was nominated as the Wildrose canddiate, defeating Duane Stevenson and Bret McNally.

Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills: Lac La Biche County Councillor John Nowak was nominated as the Liberal candidate.

Rob Renner MLA is retiring

MLA Rob Renner is retiring.

Medicine Hat: After 18 years as a PC MLA and cabinet minister, Rob Renner has announced that he will not seek re-election. Mr. Renner was first elected in 1993, defeating Liberal candidate and future Mayor Garth Vallely by 151 votes. He was re-elected in 2008 by a margin of 1,763 votes.

Sherwood Park: Strathcona PC President Sue Timanson is seeking the PC nomination in the neighbouring Sherwood Park constituency. Also seeking the nomination are PC Party activist Matthew Bissett, former Strathcona County Mayor Cathy Olesen, and current County Councillor Brian Botterill.

St. Albert: Morinville Vice-Principal Sleight Anstruther is the fifth candidate to join the PC nomination contest in this constituency. The nomination meeting is scheduled for January 31, 2012.

With a General Election expected to be held in the next few months, the PCs have scheduled nomination meetings in Airdrie, Calgary-Currie, Calgary-Fish Creek, Calgary-GlenmoreCalgary-Mackay-Nose Hill, Calgary-Mountain View, Calgary-McCall, Calgary-VarsityEdmonton-Meadowlark, Edmonton-Riverview, Edmonton-South West, Highwood, Lethbridge-East, and Vermilion-Lloydminster.

I will post updates from these constituencies when I receive them. Please email david.cournoyer@gmail.com if you have updates that you would like to share.

 

ken kowalski chooses retirement over death in office.

Ken Kowalski Speaker Alberta MLA

Retiring Speaker Ken Kowalski

He once told Albertans that he would “die in office” rather than retire and collect his gold plated severance package, but this week Speaker Ken Kowalski opted for retirement instead of the afterlife. The long-time MLA announced yesterday in a letter to the Progressive Conservative Party that he would not be seeking re-election in the Spring 2012 provincial election. He was in August 2011.

Speaker Kowalski is the longest serving MLA in the Assembly and was first elected in a 1979 by-election in the Barrhead constituency. His absence will undoubtably lead to a hotly contested PC nomination in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock. Hoping to capture the seat from the Tories is Wildrose candidate and former Alberta Report publisher Link Byfield, who has been on the hustings for more than a year.

Upon his retirement, Speaker Kowalski is expected to collect $1,271,600 in transition allowance, and it is suspected that he may also collect $54,000 per year from the now-defunct MLA pension that was dissolved in 1992. His retirement announcement takes place before a review of MLA salaries and benefits, led by retired Justice John Major, can take place.

This MLA pay review initiated by Premier Alison Redford may succeed in forcing generational change in the PC caucus by prompting the retirement of a number of stodgy former Tory cabinet ministers, including Sherwood Park MLA Iris Evans, Grande Prairie-Smoky MLA Mel Knight, Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Lloyd Snelgrove, Banff-Cochrance MLA Janis Tarchuk, and current Finance Minister and Calgary-West MLA Ron Liepert.

alberta election candidate update – december 2011.

The list of candidates nominated across the province continues to grow as we get closer to an expected Spring 2012 election.

Nominated Alberta election candidates by region. December 8, 2011
Nominated Alberta election candidates by region. December 8, 2011

The sudden burst of retirement announcements by Stelmach-era cabinet ministers has prompted a flurry of nomination activity in constituencies that could be considered Tory strongholds (where winning the PC nomination is typically the toughest fight):

Banff-Cochrane: Mayor Truper McBride is expected to enter the PC nomination contest in this mountain/foothills constituency today. Current PC MLA and former cabinet minister Janis Tarchuk announced this week that she will seek re-election, though some political watchers expect the former cabinet minister to retire when the next election is called.

Calgary-West: The Calgary Herald reported last night that Finance Minister Ron Liepert will not be running in the next election. Minister Liepert was first elected in 2004.

Grande Prairie-Smoky: Grande Prairie County Reeve Everett McDonald is seeking the PC nomination. The constituency is currently represented by MLA and former cabinet minister Mel Knight, who is not seeking re-election.

Iris Evans Sherwood Park MLA Progressive Conservative 2010

Retiring! Iris Evans

Sherwood Park: Long-time PC MLA and former cabinet minister Iris Evans will retire when the next election is called. Ms. Evans was first elected as MLA in 1997, defeating Liberal MLA Bruce Collingwood by over 300 votes. Matthew Bissett has announced his intentions to seek the PC nomination.

Vermilion-Lloydminster: Dr. Richard Starke is seeking the PC nomination, which is being left vacant by retiring MLA and former cabinet minister Lloyd Snelgrove.

Aside from the constituencies represented by retiring former cabinet ministers, here are other updates to the list of declared and nominated election candidates:

Calgary-Buffalo: The NDP are expected to acclaim Rebecca Eras as their candidate on December 13

Calgary-Cross:  The NDP are expected to acclaim Reinaldo Conterras on December 13. Mr. Conterras replaces previously nominated candidate Preet Sihota, who withdrew his candidacy for personal reasons.

Running?: Former MLA Jon Lord

Running? Former MLA Jon Lord

Calgary-Currie: Five prospective nomination candidates were testing the waters at a recent Meet and Greet event organized by the Calgary-Currie PC association. Potential nominees noted to have attended the event include former MLA and Alderman Jon LordStefan Spargo, Chair of the Calgary International Children’s Festival Charity Callahan, former Calgary-McCall constituency president Dale Galbraith, school principalChristine Cusanelli, and past-President of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association Brian Holtby.

Calgary-Glenmore: The PC nomination has been scheduled for January 28, 2012. Linda Johnson has declared her candidacy for the nomination.

Calgary-Hays: Former Alderman and recent Mayoral candidate Ric McIver defeated incumbent MLA Art Johnston to nab the PC nomination. This is the second time that Mr. Johnston, the parliamentary assistant to Premier Alison Redford, has lost a nomination contest this year. In May 2011, he was defeated by Rick Fraser in the Calgary-South East PC nomination.

Cecilia Low Progressive Conservative Calgary-Mountain View 2011

Running: Cecilia Low

Calgary-Mountain View: Lawyer Cecilia Low has announced her intention to seek the PC nomination, which has yet to be officially scheduled.

Calgary-North West: The NDP are expected to acclaim Brian Malkinson as their candidate on December 13.

Edmonton-Gold Bar: Liberal Party members nominated Josipa Petrunic as their candidate earlier this week (read more about Ms. Petrunic here). The PC nomination date has been scheduled for January 25, 2012. Past candidate David Dorward is the only candidate to have declared his candidacy.

Edmonton-Whitemud: The NDP are expected to acclaim Muriel Stanley Venne as their candidate on December 13.

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo: After circulating a rumour about a secret nomination meeting, Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier has decided that he will seek his party’s nomination in the new Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo constituency.

Leduc-Beaumont: Perennial political candidate Hana Razga is seeking the NDP nomination. Ms. Razga recently ran for Edmonton City Council in Ward 8.

Lethbridge-WestKevin Kinahan is the nominated Wildrose Party candidate. Mr. Kirnahan was his party’s 2008 candidate in Little Bow and failed to once again secure his party’s nomination in that constituency last year. Most of the local Wildrose constituency association board resigned in protest following claims of irregularities in the nomination process.

Little Bow: Farmer John Kolk has announced his intentions to seek the PC nomination.

Livingstone-Macleod: PC MLA Evan Berger was acclaimed for his party’s nomination. Mr. Berger was first elected in 2008.

St. Albert: First-term MLA PC Ken Allred announced yesterday that he will not be seeking re-electionKent La Rose was the fourth candidate to join the crowded PC nomination contest in this constituency last week.

Senate: City of Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke will seek the PC nomination for Senate. City of St. Albert Alderman and former Liberal MLA Len Bracko told the Edmonton Journal that he will be running in the Senate election as an Independent candidate. Mr. Bracko was the MLA for St. Albert from 1993 to 1997. He returned to St. Albert City Council in 2001.

Sources tell me that Calgary Police Commission chairman Mike Shaikh will enter the contest for the PC nomination for Senate later this week.

alberta candidate nomination update – september 2011.

I have updated the list of declared and nominated candidates standing in the next provincial election.

Airdrie: The Airdrie City View is reporting that former Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce is volunteering for Gary Mar‘s PC leadership campaign, adding to the speculation that she may seek the PC nomination to challenge Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson.

Janis Tarchuk, PC MLA Banff-Cochrane, Alberta

Is Janis Tarchuk hanging up her hat?

Banff-Cochrane: Transport worker Jamie Kleinsteuber has been nominated as the Alberta NDP candidate in this mountain constituency. Incumbent PC MLA Janis Tarchuk is being tight lipped about whether she will seek re-election. Ms. Tarchuk was first elected in 1997 and served in cabinet until she was dropped from cabinet in 2010.

Calgary-Currie: Alberta Party MLA Dave Taylor has announced that he will be retiring at the next election. This is not a complete surprise, but it is not good news for the new party, who will lose their only incumbent MLA at the next election. Mr. Taylor was first elected as a Liberal in 2004 and left that party to sit as an Independent in 2010. He joined the Alberta Party in 2011.

Calgary-Mackay-Nose HillCollin Anderson has been nominated as the NDP candidate in this north Calgary constituency. Ms. Anderson ran in the recent federal election as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Nose Hill and in the 2008 provincial election in Calgary-North West. has served in positions with Telecommunications Workers Union and the Calgary & District Labour Council.

Calgary-McCall: Depending on who you believe, the Wildrose either disqualified them for breaking the nomination rules or they quit, but candidates Deepshikha Brar, Khalil Karbani, and Braham Luddu are no longer eligible to run for that party. Candidate Grant Galpin appears to be the only candidate left standing.

Drumheller-Stettler: Hanna Town Councillor Chris Warwick has withdrawn his nomination for the Wildrose candidacy in this constituency. Candidates Dave France, Rick Strankman, and Patrick Turnbull remain declared in the nomination contest,.

Edmonton-Castle Downs: Former pharmaceutical employee John Oplanich is the nominated Wildrose candidate in this north Edmonton constituency. Mr. Oplanich ran for Edmonton City Council in 2010, placing third in Ward 3.

Edmonton-McClung: Varscona Theatre executive director John Hudson has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate in this west Edmonton constituency.

Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MLA Rachel Notley

NDP MLA Rachel Notley

Edmonton-Strathcona: NDP MLA Rachel Notley is expected to be acclaimed at a nomination meeting planned for October 11. Vancouver-Kingsway NDP Member of Parliament Don Davies is the guest speaker.

Lethbridge-West: Candidates Shannon Phillips and James Moore will face-off in a contested NDP nomination meeting on September 11.

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: The race to replace retiring Progressive Conservative MLA Richard Marz is on. Mountain View County councillor and former reeve Al Kemmere has announced his candidacy to seek the PC nomination. Mr. Kemmere is also a director for the Association of Alberta Rural Municipalities and Districts.

Also seeking the nomination is William Stevenson, who has been endorsed by PC leadership candidate Ted Morton and Wild Rose Member of Parliament Blake Richards.

St. Albert: Former St. Albert alderman James Burrows is the nominated Wildrose candidate. Liberal Party activist Alex Bosse is seeking his party’s nomination.

Sturgeon-St. Albert: Linda Robinson, co-chair of the Indigenous Peoples caucus of the NDP, is seeking her party’s nomination in this constituency. Ms. Robinson works for the Alberta Federation of Labour.

foster care fiasco.

For many reasons, so much about politics in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly reminds me of the above scene from The West Wing.

I used to believe that the toughest job in the Alberta cabinet was held by Health & Wellness Gene Zwozdesky, but lately I am starting to believe that it is actually held by Children and Youth Services Minister Yvonne Fritz. Following this week’s shenanigans and resignation over foster care funding, it is clear that something is not functioning properly in our government.

On Monday morning, NDP leader Rachel Notley held a media conference leaking a public document that outlined changes to foster care funding in the Edmonton region. Ms. Notley claimed that the plan was to cut foster funding, and called on Minister Fritz to rescuing the new funding formula. She did and insisted that she told department officials not to cut support. Paula Simons raised the issue in her Tuesday column: Was Minister Fritz sabotaged? Does the Minister actually have a handle on the decisions being made inside the Minister of Children & Youth Services?

Minister Fritz was appointed to the portfolio in January 2010, replacing Banff-Cochrane MLA Janis Tarchuk, who had not excelled when faced with challenges in that Department.

Yesterday, Premier Ed Stelmach undoubtably breathed new life into the foster care issue by accusing the NDP of playing politics with the issue. While he may have been trying to save face, his point is somewhat well taken. Should Ms. Notley have brought the issue directly to Minister Fritz? Ms. Notley claims that if she had brought the issue directly to the Minister, it would have been buried (not an unjust assumption). At what point does this kind of political gamesmanship become irresponsible? Like so many issues raised in the Assembly, what was really accomplished when they devolve into this kind of weekly round-robin?

alberta, this is your cabinet.

Finance Minister Ted Morton has compared Alberta to a buffet.

Health & Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdesky wants a family unit (think: it’s a family affair…)

Housing & Urban Affairs Minister Jonathan Denis wants to send a message to people who use social housing.

He remains Minister of Education, and Dave Hancock faced brutal criticism from +500 of his constituents this week.

Former Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld admits (tongue and cheek) that he was getting “a little long in the tooth.”

Energy Minister Ron Liepert wants to limit growth in the oil sands.

Calls to Janis Tarchuk‘s office were not returned.

Premier Ed Stelmach is already eying the next cabinet shuffle and also talking about sending funds to Haiti… or not? Wait, yes, they are.

Opposition leaders thought the shuffle was akin to shuffle lounge chairs on the Hindenburg, re-shuffling of deck chairs, and re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Creativity points all around.

alberta cabinet shuffle: a lot of hype.

I am not going to write a lot about today’s cabinet shuffle, as there really is not much substance to write about. While three new MLAs have been appointed to the cabinet, the problems facing Premier Ed Stelmach are much larger than anything a minor cabinet shuffle can solve. Today’s cabinet change was hardly the dramatic change that it was hyped to be.

Going political and trying to head off the insurgent Wildrose Alliance at the hard-conservative pass was one goal of today’s shuffle. This explains the appointment of Ted Morton as Finance Minister. If he can survive in Finance, Premier Stelmach may have just anointed Morton as his unofficial successor. Minister Morton will have a high-profile new role, but much of the Government’s financial levers will remain held by Stelmach-loyalist and Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove.

Newly appointed Housing and Urban Affairs & Housing Minister Jonathan Denis is known as nice guy, but also as a pretty comfortable hyper-partisan. Some people I have spoken with expect him to fulfil a political role similar to his former business partner, Pierre Poilievre.

Loyalty was big. Stelmach confidants Luke Ouellette, Ray Danyluk, Iris Evans, and Mel Knight all remain in cabinet. George Groeneveld, Janis Tarchuk, and Fred Lindsay were rightfully bumped out of the cabinet. Not surprisingly, Ron Liepert‘s departed Health & Wellness to Energy. Where, as Paula Simons suggested that “he’ll use his unique brand of charm to win new friends and influence more people.” His successor, Gene Zwozdesky will likely bring a more easy going face to one of the more heavy-lifting portfolios in government.

Look for more substantive content in the Ministerial Mandate Letters later this week and the February 9 Provincial Budget.

premier stelmach’s problems are bigger than a cabinet shuffle.

There has been a lot of chatter about what Premier Ed Stelmach can do to reverse the Progressive Conservatives downward spiral in recent polls. According to these recent polls, the PCs now sit at 25% province-wide and in third place behind Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Alliance and David Swann‘s Liberals in Edmonton and Calgary. Another recent poll framed Premier Stelmach as the least popular Premier in Canada with a 14% approval rating.

Sheila Pratt has written an interesting article in today’s Edmonton Journal about the PCs current misfortune and the new groups of Albertans like Reboot Alberta and Renew Alberta that have emerged. Even Preston Manning is interested in starting something new. Luckily for Premier Stelmach, he still has two years before he has to face the electorate for a second time, but what does the Premier need to do to turn his fortunes around?

Will finally ending the disastrous reigns of Children & Youth Services Minister Janis Tarchuk and Health & Wellness Minister Ron Liepert change Premier Stelmach’s position in the polls? Will moving Education Minister Dave Hancock in the midst of the School Act Review boost their numbers? Will moving Energy Minister Mel Knight to another portfolio halt the Calgary energy sector support that is flowing towards the Wildrose Alliance? Will promoting Advanced Education Minister Doug Horner to Finance Minister improve their image? Will relocating Culture & Community Spirit Minister Lindsay Blackett bring back the PC supporters who were offended over the embarrassment of Bill 44?

Will rearranging the deck chairs change the course of the ship? It is going to take something much more meaningful than a cabinet shuffle to change PC Party fortunes. As I said during an interview with Calgary Today’s Mike Blanchard this week, one of Premier Stelmach’s greatest challenges is that his government doesn’t have a defining purpose beyond governing for governing sake, and it shows.

In his recent book, Rich Vivone accurately pointed out that when Premier Ralph Klein declared Alberta to be debt free in 2004, the PCs began to drift. Aiming to defeat the deficit and debt saved the PCs from being unseated by Laurence Decore‘s Liberals in the 1993 election and it was the defining theme in Alberta politics in the 1990s and early 2000s. In many ways, Premier Klein’s 55.4% approval in 2006 reflected the drift.

Premier Stelmach is far from an amazing orator or political strategist, but one of his greatest strengths is that he is constantly underestimated by his opponents and the media. No one expected him to defeat Jim Dinning and Ted Morton in the PC leadership race or lead his party to win a 72-seat majority in the March 2008 election. The recent polls may spell demise for the near 40-year governing PCs, but with at least another two years to create a defining purpose for governing, their political and electoral opponents would be foolish to write them off just yet.