Alberta Politics

Former AUPE president Dan MacLennan now an Alberta Liberal VP

The Alberta Liberal Party held its annual general meeting in Red Deer this weekend where the party elected its executive officers, including a name that will be familiar to government-watchers in Alberta.

While many union leaders have lined up to support the governing New Democratic Party, according to the Liberal Party’s Facebook page former President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Dan MacLennan has been elected as the party’s new Vice-President Constituencies.

Known as ‘Buff‘ by those in the labour movement, the former jail guard served as president of Alberta’s largest union from 1997 to 2006. He led AUPE’s recovery from the brutal public sector job cuts of the mid-1990s and doubled the union’s membership over the course of his nine years as president.

Popular with members and the media and infamous for his friendly relationship with premier Ralph Klein, Mr. MacLennan’s time as president was not without controversy. Raids against other unions led to AUPE’s suspension from the National Union of Public and General Employees in March 2001. The union formally split from the mainstream labour movement in 2006 when it disaffiliated with NUPGE and by association the Canadian Labour Congress and the Alberta Federation of Labour.

In 2009, Mr. MacLennan was one of the eight members of the Progressive Conservative government’s advisory committee on health care policy and, in 2011, it was speculated on David Climenhaga‘s excellent blog that he might be a possible candidate for the Alberta Liberal leadership (he did not run in that year’s race).

Also elected to the Liberal Party executive board were Karen Sevcik as President, David Khan as Executive Vice-President, John Roggeveen as Vice-President Fundraising, Alyssa Moore as Secretary, Greg Springate as Treasurer, and David Gamble as Vice-President Policy.

The Liberals will choose a new leader in 2017 to replace interim leader David Swann, who is currently the party’s only MLA. Province-wide support for the Liberals plummeted to 4.1 percent in the 2015 Alberta election but a strong showing in the Calgary-Greenway by-election and the 2015 federal election has given party loyalists some hope for the future.

Firefighters join the AFL
In other Alberta labour movement related news, the International Association of Fire Fighters and five of its Alberta locals voted last week to join the Alberta Federation of Labour.

3 replies on “Former AUPE president Dan MacLennan now an Alberta Liberal VP”

Hopefully, the Liberal Party of Alberta will be able to find a new leader who is capable of making this party a credible choice for former PC voters who went left in the last provincial election.

Such voters (myself included) want an alternative to the PCs and while the Wildrose Party is maturing, it is not there yet in terms of policies or vision.

A good Liberal leader who can present a new vision for politics in Alberta is needed. I don’t recognize the NDP folks any more as NDP. They seem to be the new PCs and why would they copy a failed political group?

The dissonance in these MLAs must be tremendous. You only have to look at the recent move to privatize long term care beds in Sundre Hospital to see the continuation of the PC agenda in continuing care adopted by the NDP.

Fast forward to March 8, 2016, when radio station rock104 reported Council Learns Of AHS Plans To Decommission 15 Sundre Hospital Long Term Care Beds.

“…There was a big announcement made by Alberta Health Services at the Monday, March 7th town council meeting.

AHS is going to decommission the 15 long term care beds at Sundre Hospital with the construction of the new Mountain View Seniors Housing facility in Sundre, according to Mayor Terry Leslie.

He adds there are 15 long term care beds in the Sundre Hospital and those residents will see a change in care.

Mayor Leslie says they are looking forward for ongoing community meetings to try and make the transition as easy as possible for patients affected and make sure resident care into the future is going to be the paramount focus.

He adds there is a contract to provide service not in long term care but in supportive living care at the new facility. So he calls it a change in the way care will be provided to seniors…”

Closure of the LTC beds was not an AHS decision. The LTC beds in the Sundre Hospital were registered as an Auxiliary Hospital. According to the OPERATION OF APPROVED HOSPITALS REGULATION Alberta Regulation 247/1990 “Every hospital shall require prior approval of the Minister for a) any proposed major change or termination of an existing service provided by the hospital …”

This was a decision made without any consultation with the community, and the community is very concerned about the loss of the LTC beds. AHS is now planning consultations to determine future use of the hospital space

The current NDP government is on record over a long period of time, in 2012, NDP MLA David Eggen compared the closure of the long term care facility in Carmangay to “domestic abuse” at a rally to protest Premier Redford’s decision. Also in 2012, Premier Rachel Notley commented that the Tory plan to limit LTC beds and shift to supportive living “aims to force sick seniors to shoulder a larger share of their health-related costs and live in facilities that may offer them an inadequate level of care.

“It’s unfair, but it’s also absolutely penny wise and pound foolish,” Notley said.

“These patients will end up in much more expensive ER and acute care beds because they are the last resort.”

The 2015 NDP Election Platform promised to create 2,000 public long term care beds [not to close public beds and shifting to private supportive living], and to “end the PCs’ costly experiments in privatization, and redirect the funds to publicly delivered services.

They are short-changing Alberta seniors by not creating enough long-term care beds and relying on expensive, for-profit delivery of inadequate assisted living and homecare.

Hansard records for Monday, March 14, 2016 and Tuesday March 15, 2016 show an interesting role reversal; the Wildrose protesting shutting down long-term care beds and laying off nurses in Sundre, and NDP Health Minister Hoffman explaining that they’re not really losing LTC beds, although there might be a slightly different level of care the number of beds is increasing from 15 to 40.

The Minister’s lines could have been written by any of the Tory Health Minsters in the last dozen years.

It was only the immediate action by the folks at AUPE and Friends of Medicare that ensured that citizens were informed of the kamikaze attack by AHS that was fully endorsed by Sarah Hoffman because a change in hospital use requires ministerial approval. Citizen dissent may result in a partial reversal of this decision. But why did this PC-type move take place in the first place? We have already seen this sort of poor decision making in Carmangay and Strathmore where citizens were unable to muster the resistance to overturn these unilateral decisions. Such decision making is top down, unfair and should end. Why can’t families have all levels of continuing care in their own communities? Why can’t the NDP folks keep their promises to families?

I’d say it’s all about the money. If it does cost more to provide all levels of care in the public sector versus SL4 placements in the private sector show us the cost analysis and let the public decide how we will take care of our most vulnerable at risk seniors in Alberta.Don’t do the dirty on us like the Tories did because we won’t put up with it as families.

To go so far from the election promise of 2,000 long term care beds in the public sector to this sort of complete reversal of the promise– indicates to me the expedient nature of ALL politicians and the ongoing failure in representation in Alberta.

Couple the broken promises of the NDP in continuing care with the betrayal of AUPE workers as indicated by Ms. Kaminski in the article below–and we have a government that has not made change for citizens a priority.

Why would any political party not provide a fair settlement to AUPE workers? These workers voted for the NDP expecting fair treatment and instead got shoddy treatment.
Details emerge on 4-year AUPE deal

NDP politically interfered in AUPE contract negotiations

The letter details how the NDP government repeatedly interfered in contract negotiations with the AUPE both in terms of timing and the wage increase offered.

Kaminski said the previous Tory government had mandated a zero per cent offer for several AUPE contracts, including general support services and auxiliary nursing staff. That caused negotiations to break down and the union filed a labour board complaint against AHS.

When the NDP took power, both sides were optimistic a fair offer would be made. But she said that never happened despite repeated attempts by herself and others.

In late October 2015, the deputy minister asked her to get everyone quickly back to the bargaining table. She said this was done based on a “promise of a reasonable mandate, akin to settlements with other unions and reflective of what we were accruing for this union’s anticipated salary increase.

“The reason for getting negotiations re-established quickly was to avoid any embarrassment for (Premier Rachel Notley) when she attended the AUPE (annual general meeting) in October,” she wrote.

But Kaminski said once both sides were back at the bargaining table, it became clear the NDP government would not allow AHS to make a reasonable offer.

“We were given a mandate of one per cent per year, for three years — far less than any other union has received, far less than government gave its own employees, and far less than we are accruing for wage settlements.”


I hope AUPE workers remember this poor act by the NDP in the next election and vote anything but NDP.

Change has happened to benefit the NDP folks but not to benefit the people. The NDP were quick to outlaw corporate and union donations as soon as they got elected. They thereby ensured that the PCs and Wildrose would not be able to collect as much money from corporate Alberta as they had previously. But when it came to changes for the people of Alberta–such as our most vulnerable people in the continuing care system, we got zilch.

As such, the people are well advised to seek another party -either the Wildrose folks or the Liberal folks and hand out termination notices to these failed NDP MLAs in the next provincial election.

I am personally very disappointed in my MLA for Edmonton Riverbend. Bob Turner has not helped my family and has instead, obediently followed the party line with reference to the failures in Alberta Health, AHS and Covenant Health with respect to my handicapped sister. It is such failures in representation that ensure that families will seek other political parties who will represent them.

I am a member of AUPE local 52, so it would not be surprise that I do respect him and would vote for him personally. The Liberals, on the other hand, have a checkered past. They quite campaign left and govern right. In terms of labour rights, I am quite pleased with the NDP even though I have criticisms of some of their decisions. I think that the NDP has taken the place of the Liberal Party and many of their members seemed contented with their policies. Everyone thinks that the NDP is this party of godless pinkos when they have solicited the assistance of Roy Romanow, David Dodge, and Andrew Leach. Even that pinko Michael Bloomberg has praised the government for their carbon tax. I think the Liberals are in a tough spot because they are trying to capture the soft PC, NDP, moderate vote but they don’t seem to be successful. They also don’t have great leadership at the moment. Still, if I had to choose between the PCs, the Wildrose(I have resist the urge to vomit here), the Alberta Party, or the Liberals, I would select the Liberals.

If Dan McLennan has anything to do with this party it will fail ,the man is a political animal .

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