Advanced Education minister Rajan Sawhney voted best cabinet minister
Best Alberta MLA: Janis Irwin
Always a fan favourite, for the fourth year in a row Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MLA Janis Irwin has been voted the Best Alberta MLA.
A savvy communicator, Irwin (and her internet famous cat, Oregano) has a huge social media following and is widely considered one of the hardest working constituency MLAs in the province.
Her reputation has led to invites to speak at NDP conventions across the country, including at the recent federal NDP convention in Hamilton and the BC NDP convention in Victoria.
After Irwin was re-elected to a second term last May, she took on a new role as housing critic in the expanded 38-MLA official opposition caucus, which has placed her on the forefront of one of the biggest political issues of the year.
“Across the province, I hear from single parents, young professionals, seniors, students and dual-income families who are struggling to afford 20, 30, even 50 per cent increases to their rent,” Irwin recently wrote in the Calgary Herald.
Responding to the huge spike in rental costs in Alberta, she introduced Bill 205: Housing Statutes (Housing Security) Amendment Act, 2023, which would establish a two-year temporary rental cap at 2 per cent, followed by a two-year rental cap tied to inflation, and increase reporting requirements to ensure the government is meeting its intended housing targets.
“Everyone deserves a place to call home,” Irwin said at the press conference announcing the private member’s bill. “However, many Albertans are experiencing the impacts of the housing crisis, reflected in the steep increases to rental costs across the province.”
Just this past week she walked the talk on housing when she spoke compassionately against the Edmonton Police Service’s plans to forcibly decamp hundreds of Edmontonians just days before Christmas in what is likely the city’s largest encampment sweep ever. Many of the people who live in those camps are constituents in the inner city riding she represents.
“The UCP government must be able to guarantee a safe place for every person impacted before police take action,” Irwin said. “We must stop criminalizing poverty as a province and a community. We can’t enforce our way out of the housing crisis.”