With the Spring Session of the Alberta Legislature set to begin on April 14, here’s a part of the pre-game show that I will be spotlighting over the next ten days…
– Back for a 9th season. It’s unlikely that anyone in the Tory caucus will take a run to unseat the Boss Hogg of Alberta politics from his throne. Yep, I’m speaking of Speaker Ken Kowalski (Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock). Kowalski was re-elected to his 9th term in the Assembly on March 3 after having been first elected MLA in 1979 (which also happens to be the same year that the Dukes of Harzzard aired…).
– Keep an eye on the guy from the north. After getting the boot in Tory Premier Ed Stelmach’s post-election cabinet, Guy Boutilier (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) might not be too happy-go-lucky about his new backbench real estate (in both Legislature office and assembly seating terms). Boutilier was first elected MLA in 1997 after serving as Mayor of Wood Buffalo. If anything, he’ll at least have former Klein-era Ministers Heather Forsyth (Calgary-Fish Creek) and Pearl Calahasen (Lesser Slave Lake) to keep him company in the backbenches…
– New faces in the 11-member opposition. Newly elected Alberta Liberals Kent Hehr (Calgary-Buffalo) and Darshan Kang (Calgary-McCall), and New Democrat Rachel Notley (Edmonton-Strathcona) are the new faces in Alberta’s opposition benches. It will also be interesting to see how Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft (Edmonton-Riverview) and New Democrat leader Brian Mason (Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood) carry themselves in this session following their setbacks in the March 3 election.
– Who art thou? With Tory MLA Sharaz Shariff’s defeat to Darshan Kang in Calgary-McCall, the Assembly will be looking for a new Deputy Chair of Committees. Following the last election, Shariff was outsted as Deputy Speaker by fellow Tory MLA Richard Marz (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills) in a seemingly obvious Rural clique v. Calgary power struggle in the Tory caucus. Though
most all Albertans could probably care less who the Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chair of Committees are, they are important indicators of the power politics of the governing caucus.
– License Plates. As far as I can tell, Heather Klimchuck (Edmonton-Glenora), a rookie Tory MLA and Minister of Service Alberta is going to be spending most of her time overseeing the important project of designing Alberta’s new licence plate.