Edmonton Journal report Karen Kleiss published a story this week naming the new Chiefs of Staff hired to advise Alberta’s twelve NDP cabinet ministers and manage their offices at the Legislature. The new government has faced criticism for hiring too many staff from outside of the province and Premier Rachel Notley‘s NDP have responded that the new government needs to hire the best people for the job no matter where they come from (even Alberta’s premiere Tory lobbyist companies are hiring British Columbia New Democrats to advise them about Alberta’s new political landscape).
The criticism is valid. A balance of experience and local knowledge is required within the senior ranks of the new government, and as a Alberta’s first new government in 44 years, there might not be many operatives in-province with non-Progressive Conservative governing experience to rely on.
As previous premier’s Alison Redford and Jim Prentice discovered, filling senior political jobs with outsiders who may not be familiar with the provincial political environment can alienate party loyalists and MLAs and lead to embarrassing mistakes.
List of Alberta’s Ministerial Chiefs of Staff
Lisa Blanchette, Education, Culture and Tourism: Former organizer for ACTRA Toronto, previous employee of SEIU, and national political action coordinator for the United Steelworkers.
Jessica Bowering, Justice and Solicitor General and Aboriginal Relations: Lawyer and former director of Legal Services for the British Columbia Nurses Union.
Tony Clark, Human Services: Former research for the Alberta Federation of Labour and staffer for the NDP Opposition Caucus.
Brent Dancey, Environment and Parks and the Status of Women: Former Special Assistant to Premier Greg Selinger‘s Office for Manitoba Hydro.
Scott Harris, Agriculture and Forestry: Former Political Research Coordinator in Office of the Leader of the NDP Official Opposition in Ottawa.
Graham Mitchell, Energy: Former Director of Training and Leadership at the Broadbent Institute and former Executive Assistant to Toronto City Councillors Jack Layton.
Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Health and Seniors: Former Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta, President of the Riverdale Community League.
Nathan Rotman, Finance and Treasury Board: Former National Director of the NDP, former campaign manager for Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, former national director of Political Action and Campaigns at the Canadian Labour Congress.
Nathaniel Smith, Municipal Affairs and Service Alberta: Former organizer for the NDP in Halifax, former executive assistant to NDP cabinet ministers in Nova Scotia.
Steve Stringfellow, Innovation and Advanced Education and Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour: Former CUPE National Representative in Alberta and BC NDP campaign manager.
Robin Steudel, Infrastructure and Transportation: Former Principal Secretary to the Alberta NDP Caucus, former Communications Officer at the NDP Official Opposition in British Columbia, former spokesperson for the Yukon NDP, and federal NDP communications officer.
Brian Topp, International and Intergovernmental Relations (Premier): NDP campaign manager, former federal NDP leadership candidate, deputy chief of staff to former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow.
Journos flee the fourth estate for NDP jobs
Intrepid CBC reporter John Archer announced this week that he has accepted a job in the Premier’s Media Relations Office. Mr. Archer is one of a handful of journalists who have recently accepted jobs with the new NDP government, including Veronica Jubinville and Laura Tupper from CTV, and Jeremy Nolais and Leah Holoiday from Metro.