Tag Archives: Maureen Kubinec

Rejection of Gay-Straight Alliances motion shows some Alberta MLAs need a reality check

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to introduce legislation, like Manitoba’s and Ontario’s, requiring all school boards to develop policies to support students who want to lead and establish gay-straight alliance activities and organizations, using any name that is consistent with the promotion of a positive school environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and respectful for all students regardless of sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

It was a simple motion introduced on the floor of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly on April 7, 2014 that would help create safer environments for students in schools. Nineteen Liberal, New Democrat, and Progressive Conservative MLAs voted in favour of the motion, but it failed after 31 PC and Wildrose MLAs stood up and voted against it.

Kent Hehr MLA Calgary-Buffalo

Kent Hehr

Motion 503, introduced by Calgary-Buffalo MLA Kent Hehr, was not a piece of binding legislation, it was a symbolic message of that all students, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, can be welcomed and accepted in Alberta’s education system.

Creating safe and supportive environments for all students, including LGBTQ youth who may face discrimination in and outside of school, should be something that is encouraged by MLAs.

Mr. Hehr’s motion undoubtably would have made some social conservatives uncomfortable, but it would have ultimately helped drag some of Alberta’s more stodgy school boards into the 21st century. The motion would not have forced any school board to form student-led gay-straight alliances, but it would have compelled the elected boards to accept the existence of the groups if students in their schools chose to organize them.

Alberta MLA Vote Gay Straight Alliances Vote Motion 503

A map showing the constituencies represented by MLAs who voted in favour (blue) and against (red) Motion 503. White indicates MLAs who were not present for the vote. (Click to enlarge)

Passage of this motion would have sent a strong message that tolerance and acceptance are priorities Alberta’s provincial legislators.

Anti-bullying minister Sandra Jansen voted in favour but Education minister Jeff Johnson voted against it.

Missing from the vote were Premier Dave Hancock and NDP leader Brian Mason, who both later said they would have voted in favour had they been in the Assembly. Wildrose opposition leader Danielle Smith was not present for the vote and it is not clear if she would have voted differently than her party’s MLAs.

The divided PC government caucus also missed an opportunity to send a clear message that they embrace 21st century values by singling out the opposition Wildrose as the only party to unanimously vote against the motion – and remind Albertans of the infamous Lake of Fire.  And for the Wildrose, a vote for the motion, even by one or two of that party’s MLAs, would have done a lot of demonstrate the party is more moderate on social issues than its opponents claim.

In total, 36 MLAs were absent from the vote (minus the Speaker, who abstains from votes of the Assembly).

Voted in Favour: 19
Deron Bilous (NDP)
Laurie Blakeman (LIB)
Neil Brown (PC)
Pearl Calahasen (PC)
Cal Dallas (PC)
Alana DeLong (PC)
David Eggen (NDP)
Kyle Fawcett (PC)
Kent Hehr (LIB)
Ken Hughes (PC)
Sandra Jansen (PC)
Heather Klimchuk (PC)
Jason Luan (PC)
Thomas Luksazuk (PC)
Rachel Notley (NDP)
Don Scott (PC)
Raj Sherman (LIB)
David Swann (LIB)
Teresa Woo-Paw (PC)
Voted against: 31
Moe Amery (PC)
Rob Anderson (WR)
Drew Barnes (WR)
Gary Bikman (WR)
Robin Campbell (PC)
Ron Casey (PC)
Christine Cusanelli (PC)
Ian Donovan (WR)
David Dorward (PC)
Wayne Drysdale (PC)
Jacquie Fenske (PC)
Rick Fraser (PC)
Yvonne Fritz (PC)
Hector Goudreau (PC)
Jeff Johnson (PC)
Linda Johnson (PC)
Maureen Kubinec (PC)
Genia Leskiw (PC)
Bruce McAllister (WR)
Everett McDonald (PC)
Diana McQueen (PC)
Frank Oberle (PC)
Bridget Pastoor (PC)
Dave Rodney (PC)
Bruce Rowe (WR)
Shayne Saskiw (WR)
Richard Starke (PC)
Rick Strankman (WR)
Kerry Towle (WR)
George VanderBurg (PC)
Greg Weadick (PC)

Redford’s Christmas cabinet shuffle

Premier Alison Redford Cabinet Alberta

Premier Alison Redford announced a new cabinet late this afternoon.

As reported yesterday on this blog, rumours that Ms. Redford would shuffle her cabinet before the Christmas break began to intensify this week. Today, those rumours proved to be true.

Built around the government’s “Building Alberta” slogan, today’s Government of Alberta press release boasts a new cabinet that will focus on “innovation and economic growth.” And it signals a growth in numbers of Ms. Redford’s cabinet as well. The size of the cabinet will now be 30 MLAs, up from 27 MLAs in the previous cabinet. There are a total of 59 MLAs in the Progressive Conservative caucus.

Here is a description of some major changes in Alberta’s provincial cabinet:

Dave Hancock MLA Edmonton-Whitemud

Dave Hancock

Dave Hancock: Appointed Deputy Premier and moved from Human Services to Innovation and Advanced Education. Moving Mr. Hancock back to the Advanced Education portfolio he filled from 2004 to 2006 likely signals that Ms. Redford recognizes the need to repair the damage done to Alberta’s colleges and universities under its previous minister. The deep budget cuts imposed by Ms. Redford’s government in 2012 damaged both the post-secondary education system and the government’s relationship the leaders in that system. A well-known policy wonk and party loyalist, Mr. Hancock will be tasked with smoothing over those hard feelings.

Thomas Lukaszuk: The bull-dog of the Progressive Conservative caucus lost his Deputy Premier title and is moved from Enterprise & Advanced Education to a new Jobs, Skills, Training, and Labour portfolio. As Ms. Redford’s ‘heavy-hand’ in cabinet, it is likely that Mr. Lukaszuk will be tasked with imposing controversial new laws on Alberta’s public sector unions.

Manmeet Bhullar

Manmeet Bhullar

Manmeet Bhullar: Moved from Service Alberta to Human Services. This is a big promotion, as Human Services is a large ministry that represents a multitude of components of government services. Mr. Bhullar performed well as Minister of Service Alberta, but this portfolio will present a significant challenge to the new minister.

Diana McQueen: Moved from Environment & Sustainable Resource Development to Energy. With an increased focus on the government’s agenda to support the Keystone XL, Enbridge Northern Gateway and Energy East pipelines, the capable Ms. McQueen is well-armed with arguments to use in advocating for these projects in Canada and the United States.

Robin Campbell: Moved from Aboriginal Relations to Environment & Sustainable Resource Development, a high-profile position which is closely linked with the Energy portfolio. He is also now the Government House leader, a role that has been filled by Mr. Hancock for quite some time.

Doug Griffiths

Doug Griffiths

Doug Griffiths: Demoted from Municipal Affairs to Service Alberta. As Municipal Affairs Minister, Mr. Griffiths stumbled through the high profile items in his portfolio, making his demotion almost inevitable. As minister of the tiny Service Alberta department, Mr. Griffiths will have less chance to embarrass the government and an opportunity to redeem himself in cabinet.

Ken Hughes: Moved from Energy to Municipal Affairs. While this move could easily be seen as a demotion, Mr. Hughes, a trusted confident of Ms. Redford’s, will have an important role in repairing the provincial government’s strained relationship with its municipal leaders – both in the large cities and rural municipalities.

Frank Oberle: Promoted from Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities to a full-cabinet position as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Mr. Oberle previously served as Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security and Minister of Sustainable Resource Development.

Wayne Drysdale: Moved from Infrastructure to Transportation, replacing Ric McIver.

Ric McIver: Moved from Transportation to Infrastructure, replacing Wayne Drysdale.

Steve Young: Left his position as Government Whip to become Associate Minister of Public Safety, a new position.

Donna Kennedy-Glans: Departed the backbenchers to become Associate Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, a new position.

George VanderBurg: Appointed the Government Whip. Lost his position as Associate Minister of Seniors. Mr. VanderBurg had previously served as Minister of Government Services, Minister of Seniors, and Acting Minister of Innovation and Science.

A curious addition to the list of cabinet positions in the press release included the Progressive Conservative Caucus Chair, Maureen Kubinec. This appears to be a new addition to the cabinet, though the release was unclear what role this MLA will have at the cabinet table, as there now only remain 29 PC MLAs not included in the list of cabinet positions.

Tories tighten their grip over powerless school boards.

Jeff Johnson Alberta Education Minister MLA

Jeff Johnson

Provincial politicians like school boards.

When popular decisions are made, like opening new schools or announcing new funding, the provincial government takes the credit.

When unpopular decisions need to be made, like closing schools or cancelling programs, then the provincial politicians are more than happy to let the school board trustees take the blame.

As was demonstrated yesterday, provincial politicians also like school boards because they can tell them what to do. When the Calgary Board of Education voted to reject the new province-wide collective agreement negotiated by the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Teachers’ Association, Education Minister Jeff Johnson tabled a bill in the Assembly to force the agreement on all school boards in the province (Premier Alison Redford was unsurprisingly absent during the resulting commotion).

It is important to note that the vast majority of school boards and Locals representing the Alberta Teachers’ Association voted to approve the agreement. Minister Johnson’s bill simply forces the agreement on the few that refused, which happen to include Calgary, the largest school board in Alberta.

Normally, the Calgary Board of Education would have had the opportunity to sit down with the ATA and negotiate a separate local agreement. This is how, until very recently, teachers’ contracts were negotiated.

As the provincial government tightens its grip on the reins of locally elected school boards, locally negotiated teachers’ contracts may become a thing of the past, as could school boards if they ever become inconvenient for their masters in the provincial government.

———

By my count, five of the 87 members of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly previously served as school board trustees: Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec, Calgary-Klein MLA Kyle Fawcett, and Edmonton-Decore MLA Janice Sarich, as well as Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and PC MLA Teresa Woo-Paw, who served on the ill-fated Calgary Board of Education from 1998 until the dysfunctional board was fired by the provincial government in 1999.

by-elections replace new mla’s in canmore, fort mcmurray, strathcona, and westlock.

As I wrote about weeks ago, a number of municipal by-elections were held across Alberta this and last week to replace municipal officials who were elected in the April 23 provincial election.

John Borrowman Mayor Canmore

John Borrowman

Canmore By-Election

On June 19, Vi Sanford and Sean Krausert were elected to Canmore Town Council in a by-election held to replace two councillors running in the Mayoral by-election. The Mayoral by-election was called when Mayor Ron Casey was elected as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Banff-Cochrane.

Former Councillor John Borrowman was elected Mayor of Canmore, defeating former councillors Pam Hilstad and Ed Russell.

Stirling By-Election

On June 25, Jonathan Bikman was elected in a Village of Stirling by-election to replace former Mayor Gary Bikman, who is now the Wildrose MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner. Mr. Bikman received 78 votes, runner-up Coralee Leeson received 60 votes, and Ron Bore received 23 votes.

Strathcona County By-Election

On June 25, Clinton Alexander was elected in a Strathcona County by-election to replace Jacquie Fenske, who is now the PC MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. Mr. Alexander is the treasurer for the Strathcona-Sherwood Park PC Association.

Mr. Alexander finished with 304 votes, defeating Jen Heaton with 187 votes, Bev Williamson with 94 votes, and Alec Babich with 40 votes.

Westlock County By-Election

On June 25, Jim Wiese was elected in a Westlock County by-election to replace newly elected Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC MLA Maureen Kubinec. Mr. Wiese won with 134 votes. The runner-up was Herb Smerychynski, who took 40 votes. Cal Busby came in third with 23 votes.

Wood Buffalo By-Election

On June 25, Colleen Tatum and Christine Burton were elected in the by-elections to replace former Wood Buffalo councillors Don Scott and Mike Allen, who were both elected to represent Fort McMurray in the recent provincial election. Keith McGrath, who resigned as a trustee on the Catholic School Board, placed a close third. Voter turnout was estimated to be around 9%.

local by-elections heating up across alberta.

Alberta Municipal By-Elections 2012

Municipal by-elections are heating up across Alberta.

As I first mentioned in a previous post, the election of municipal politicians as Members of the Legislative Assembly in the recent provincial election has triggered a handful of municipal by-elections across Alberta. Most of these municipalities have now set dates for by-elections to fill these vacant positions.

Harold Bulford

Harold Bulford

June 11 - A by-election in Division 1 of the County of Grande Prairie has attracted five candidates. Alvin McEwen, Andrew Muise, DJ Golden, Greg Moody, and Harold Bulford have put their names forward to replace new Grande Prairie-Smoky Progressive Conservative MLA Everett McDonald. As an Independent candidate in the recent provincial election, Mr. Muise earned 209 votes.

June 19 – The election of Town of Canmore Mayor Ron Casey as the PC MLA for Banff-Cochrane has triggered a mayoral by-election, and subsequently a by-election to replace two councillors who are candidates in the mayoral contest. Councillors John Borrowman and Ed Russell, and former Councillor Pam Hilstad are seeking the mayor’s chair.

Sean Krausert Canmore

Sean Krausert

Contesting the two vacant council positions in the Town of Canmore are Jason BestKaren Greene, Brian Hyland, former Canadian Rockies School Trustee Shirley Ketterer, Sean Krausert, Occupy Calgary participant James Louden, current Canadian Rockies School Trustee Vi Sandford, recent PC nomination candidate Rob Seeley, and Victor Zablotni. The candidate in this contest with the most unique background may be Mr. Krausert, an improv actor and former lawyer who also worked as an educator in Sierra Leone, where he helped rehabilitate former child soldiers through a theatre program.

June 25 is the super Monday of municipal by-elections with five separate votes happening across the province.

In Strathcona County, Bev Williamson, Clinton Alexander, Jen Heaton, and Alec Babich will contest the by-election in Ward 5 to replace new Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jacquie Fenske. A man by the name of Alec Babich was arrested and charged with mischief by RCMP last year after a suspicious package was left on a reception desk at Strathcona County’s main office last year.

Christine Burton Fort McMurray

Christine Burton

June 25 – The two vacancies in District 1 of Wood Buffalo’s municipal council were the result of two councillors, Mike Allen and Don Scott, having been elected as MLA’s in Fort McMurray’s two constituencies. An extraordinary fourteen candidates have stepped forward to run in the by-election. Candidates include Chris Alton, local radio host James Anthony, Tyran Ault, past council candidate Byron Bailey, Christine Burton, Valance Howard, Shafique Khan, former Catholic School Board Trustee Keith McGrath, John Mulhall, Bill Nahirney, past mayoral candidate Joe “The Plumber” Nebesny, local pastor Robert Parmenter, Colleen Tatum, and Matt Youens.

Earlier this year, Mr. McGrath considered seeking for the Wildrose Party nomination in Fort McMurray-Conklin, but eventually declined to seek the nomination.

Stephen Drover Fort McMurray

Stephen Drover

A by-election to fill a vacancy on the Fort McMurray Public School Board will be held on the same day. Trustee Stephanie Blackler, who was first elected in 2010, has decided to move home to Newfoundland to pursue business opportunities. Three candidates have entered the race, including former trustee Glenn Doonanco, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local vice-president Stephen Drover, and school council activist Munira Manji.

June 25 – In the Village of Sterling, candidates Jonathan Bikman, Ronald Bore, and Coralee Leeson have stepped forward to seek the mayoralty, which was made vacant when Wildrose candidate Gary Bikman was elected as the MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner. Jonathan Bikman is presumably a relative of Gary Bikman, and is listed as Vice-President Operations of Chopstix (Gary Bikman is President).

June 25Cal BusbyHerb Smerychynski, and Jim Wiese are standing to replace former Westlock County councillor Maureen Kubinec, who was elected as the PC MLA for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock.

The Town of Rimbey may hold a by-election in July to replace former councillor Joe Anglin, who is now the Wildrose MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.

[updated] election of rookie mla’s kicks off municipal by-elections across alberta.

The results of the April 23 provincial general election in Alberta will cause a series of municipal by-elections as some successful candidates move from the previously held municipal roles into their new jobs as Members of the Legislative Assembly.

William Choy Mayor Stony Plain Alberta

New Stony Plain Mayor William Choy

In the Town of Stony Plain, newly elected Stony Plain Progressive Conservative MLA Ken Lemke has been replaced as Mayor by William Choy, who was chosen in a May 1 by-election. Mr. Lemke resigned as Mayor in February 2012.

In the Town of Canmore, three candidates have declared their candidacy in the June 19 by-election to replace former Mayor and newly elected Banff-Cochrane PC MLA Ron Casey. In the race are former Councillor Pam Hilstad, as well as recent Councillors Ed Russell and John Borrowman, who were required to resign their council positions to seek the Mayor’s job (creating two vacancies on Town Council which will be filled in a by-election also held on June 19).

Everett McDonald MLA Grande Prairie-Smoky

New MLA Everett McDonald

On June 25, the Municipal District of Wood Buffalo will hold a by-election to fill two vacancies created when PC candidate Don Scott was elected in Fort McMurray-Conklin and PC candidate Mike Allen was elected in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. So far, Christine Burton is the only candidatelisted in the media as have declared her intention to run.

A June 11 by-election in the County of Grande Prairie will be held to replace former District 1 Councillor and Reeve Everett McDonald, who was elected as the PC MLA for Grande Prairie-Smoky. Mr. McDonald was first elected to the County Council in 1992. Bezanson District Fire Captain Harold Bulford and realtor D.J. Golden have entered the contest.

A by-election in Strathcona County will be held on June 25 to fill the vacancy created by former Councillor Jacquie Fenske, who was elected to succeed retiring Premier Ed Stelmach as the PC MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.

Jacquie Fenske MLA Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville

New MLA Jacquie Fenske

Westlock County Reeve Charles Navratil told the Westlock News on April 23 that the County will likely hold a by-election to replace newly elected Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC MLA Maureen Kubinec.

By-elections are also expected to be held in the Town of Rimbey to replace newly elected Sundre-Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin and in Vulcan County to replace Little Bow Wildrose MLA Ian Donovan.

Other municipal politicians making the jump to provincial politics after April 23 are Village of Beiseker Mayor Bruce Rowe, who was elected as Wildrose MLA for Olds-Disbury-Three Hills, and Village of Stirling Deputy Mayor Gary Bikman, who was elected as the Wildrose MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner.

According to Section 162 of the Municipal Government Act, a council must hold a by-election to fill a vacancy on council unless (a) the vacancy occurs in the 6 months before a general election, or (b) the council consists of 6 or more councillors and the vacancy occurs (i) in the 18 months before a general election and there is only one vacancy, or (ii) in the 12 months before a general election and the number of councillors remaining is at least one more than the majority of the number of councillors compromising the council. The next municipal general election will be held in October 2013.

UPDATE (May 21, 2012): The County of Westlock will hold a by-election to replace Ms. Kubinec on June 25. The County of Vulcan will not be holding a by-election to replace Mr. Donovan.