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Honourable Alberta cabinet ministers bestow upon themselves title and fancy letters to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

God Save the Queen!

Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 70th year on the Throne this year.

In honour of this most Royal occasion, Premier Jason Kenney introduced Bill 1: Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Recognition Act back on February 22.

Queen Elizabeth II

It was the United Conservative Party government’s flagship bill of the 2022.

The new law creates a scholarship for Alberta students, a medal to recognize the work of outstanding Albertans, and a for-life “Honourable” title and “ECA” post-nominal letters for all living current and former Alberta cabinet ministers.

Wait.

What?

Yes, you read that right.

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s seventy years as Queen of Canada and Sovereign of the British Commonwealth , Kenney introduced a bill that gives current and former cabinet ministers the ability to call themselves “Honourable” for the rest of their lives.

As far as I know Alberta might be only province to have done this.

As the head of government, Premiers have always been able to hold their “Honourable” title for life, but not regular cabinet ministers.

Until now.

Provincial cabinet ministers get to call themselves “Honourable” while they are in office as a sign of respect for the office they hold while they hold it, but that used to be it.

It’s an honour to be a cabinet minister but it’s not something they would take for life.

Not like those British Lords who pass on titles and positions to their children.

Back to Alberta.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1952.

The home of Honourable Jason Kenney, PC, ECA.

The ECA stands for Executive Council of Alberta by the way.

That’s the formal name of the cabinet.

The PC stands for Privy Council. 

That’s a real title that comes with responsibility.

The Privy Council Office is the central agency of the Government of Canada which acts as the secretariat to the Cabinet of Canada.

Kenney was sworn into the Privy Council when he was a federal cabinet minister.

The Alberta title is an automatic thing for people in cabinet now and anyone who used to be in cabinet.

“Who cares, Dave?” you say?

I guess it’s not really a big deal.

It’s just a monarchist vanity project.

It’s not like Kenney is wandering the halls of the Legislature crying “Hail Britannia!” while brandishing a broadsword to bestow knighthoods.

But it’s weird and it’s something that no normal Albertan was asking for.

I doubt many people on the streets of Rocky Mountain House or downtown Calgary were clamouring for a new law to let our politicians hold titles for life. 

I’m no monarchist.

I believe the monarchy is an outdated institution that should probably be abolished. 

But I also think Alberta politicians voting to give themselves titles for life is a strange way to honour a Queen who has spent seventy years serving honourably in a very difficult role.

It mostly flew under the radar but two NDP MLA did take notice.

They got sharp responses from the UCP, who never explained why they were even doing this.

“That’s certainly not something that anybody has raised to me as their top priority” said Edmonton-Whitemud NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi said in the Legislature.

“I certainly think it’s coming at an interesting time, considering that there are a number of members of the current cabinet who are having their qualifications and their expertise and their temperament questioned,” Pancholi continued.

“I think that’s at odds with what most Albertans believe in terms of what honorary means, and it’s an interesting timing on this government’s part,” she concluded.

When Edmonton-Castle Downs NDP MLA Nicole Goehring questioned it, UCP deputy government house leader and Kenney acolyte Joseph Schow was quick to jump on her with a Point of Order. 

“I guess this is a touchy subject when it comes to the title “honourable” for life,” Goehring replied. 

“This piece of legislation is doing just that. It’s providing a space to have the title for life alongside building up students and recognizing their contributions to the province,” she said. “It just seems ridiculous that the two of these things are going together.”

No kidding.

It’s the law now.

So, to all the students who receive the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee scholarships, congratulations.

To all the Albertans who are honoured with the awards, thank you for your service.

And to all the Honourable current and former cabinet ministers, ECA, who have now been bestowed with their new title, enjoy it, I guess.


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11 replies on “Honourable Alberta cabinet ministers bestow upon themselves title and fancy letters to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee”

What do you make of the fact that Shandro, Schweitzer and Madu made themselves QCs early in their term?

Being titled Honourable for life is not necessarily the same thing as having lived an honourable life.

I think Shawna Gawreluck(?) made the point that the reason the Honourable Mr. Kenney didn’t step down as premier was because he wants to be “Premier” when the Pope visits Alberta in July. It’s easy to imagine why Mr. Kenney might see this as a crowning achievement in his political career, if not his career as a putative member of Opus Dei. Maybe Il Papa will give him a ride down the old Queen Elizabeth II Royal Highway.

So would we have to forever to call the cabinet minister who recently got a ticket for using his cell phone while driving, honorable? How about the former UCP one recently accused of sexual harassment and heavy drinking, the one who has an upcoming hearing with the Law Society (and a history of berating neighbours), the ones drinking and dining on the Sky Palace Patio at a time bars and restaurants were restricted, the ones who went on or planned vacations when there was a COVID advisory not too and the lastly the former PC one facing contempt charges for witness intimidation.

I hope not, it seems like a lot of dishonorable behaviour here by current and former ministers just over the last year or so. Perhaps the government can force people to continue to call them honorable when they are not, but this just serves to further diminish respect for our government. As another long reigning Queen once supposedly said – We are not amused.

What if we held a referendum each time the government changed? After every election, ask Albertans to indicate who deserves–who’s EARNED–the title “Honourable.” If you, an MLA, did your job fairly well and helped out your constituents when you could; if you worked your butt off trying to make things work better in Alberta; and if 50% plus one of the voters mark the “Yes” box–then you get to style yourself “Honourable” (name) for the rest of your life.

But I guess it’s easier for Kenney and his toadies to just declare themselves honourable, whether the rest of us agree or not. Especially, if we do not.

So if the next government repeals this absurd law, will we refer to the retired cabinet ministers as ‘the formerly honourable’?

If the bill gives “current and former cabinet ministers the ability to call themselves ‘Honourable’ for the rest of their lives”, does that also mean Rachel Notley & her former Ministers also get this honorific?

I agree with Dave and perhaps this stupid law will help further the Republican movement in Canada although I won’t hold my breath. Of the issues I have with this government, this is the last on the list. They need to defeated for their terrible handling of COVID and their assault on unions and public sector workers.

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