After the ballots are counted and politicians are selected, the political pundits and the public-at-large begin questioning who has the most power. Who has the most MLAs, Calgary or Edmonton? Who has the most Cabinet Ministers, Calgary or Edmonton? Historically, the road to power and influence in Alberta politics runs north to south, Calgary to Edmonton.
As any engineer will explain, you can’t build a solid structure such as a box that will effectively hold contents with only one side. In Alberta politics however, there has been a tendency to a one side north-south line that stretches from Edmonton to Calgary. Allison Redford, sworn in as the province's 14th Premier and President of Executive Council and Chairwoman of Agenda and Priorities Committee could have added ‘building designer’ to her list of credentials. Redford’s new team has an added new design feature, east to west.
Redford’s Design and Building of a New Political Structure in Central Alberta
Camrose-Westaskiwin constituents welcomed the news that Verlyn Olson, although having supported Gary Mar’s campaign, was appointed Justice and Attorney General, Deputy Government House Leader. Mr. Olson also serves as Deputy Chair on the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and chair of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Workforce Planning Committee and as a member of the Cabinet Policy Committee on Public Health & Safety.
Previously, Minister Olson served on the Standing Committees on Public Accounts, Private Bills and Health, the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multicultural Education Fund, the Premier´s Council on the Status of Persons with Disability and as chair of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Workforce Planning Committee.
There was also a great deal of pride and delight in the Conservative heartland of the Drayton Valley-Calmar electorate when the constituents learned their pride and joy, and political up-and-comer, Diana McQueen, was rewarded with the appointment as the new Minister of Environment and Water. She serves as a member of the Standing Committee on Resources and the Environment, and the Standing Committee on Private Bills and as Chair of the Regulatory Review Committee, Alberta Energy.
Previously, Mrs. McQueen served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Environment and as a co-chair for Climate Change Central, a non-profit organization that encourages Albertans to take action on climate change through consumer rebate programs, demonstration projects and educational outreach.
Mrs. McQueen’s varied experience prior to serving as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta includes working for Amoco Canada, managing a retail business and providing board development instruction with the provincial board development program.
Further east along the east-west line is the constituency of Battle River-Wainwright represented by Doug Griffiths who was sworn in as Minister of Municipal Affairs He is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Standing Committee on Health.
Nearby in the Central Alberta east-west corridor is the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler and Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Mr. Jack Hayden. He also serves as a member of the Operations Committee.
To round out the new east-west political structure is MLA George Rogers, Leduc-Beaumont-Devon. Mr. Rogers serves as a member of the following committees: Select Special Ombudsman Search Committee , Select Special Information and Privacy Commissioner Search Committee , Standing Committee on Legislative Offices, Special Standing Committee on Members Services and Standing Committee on Public Safety and Services.
Redford cut the number of departments to 20 from 23, amalgamating much of Social Service delivery under one new super-sized department titled Human Services. Overall the new Government of Alberta Cabinet is pretty balanced with five cabinet ministers from Calgary, including Redford, four from Edmonton, four from southern Alberta, four from the central region, and four from the north.
Alison Redford – Premier, president of Executive Council, Chairwoman of Agenda and Priorities Committee
Doug Horner – Deputy premier, president of Treasury Board
David Hancock – Human Services, Government House leader
Ted Morton – Energy
Verlyn Olson – Justice and Attorney General, Deputy Government house leader
Fred Horne – Health and Wellness
Ron Liepert – Finance
Thomas Lukaszuk – Education
Diana McQueen – Environment and Water
Jonathan Denis – Solicitor General, Public Security, Deputy Government House leader
Cal Dallas – International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations
Evan Berger – Agriculture and Rural Development
Frank Oberle – Sustainable Resource Development
George VanderBurg – Seniors
Ray Danyluk – Transportation
Jeff Johnson – Infrastructure
Doug Griffiths – Municipal Affairs
Greg Weadick – Advanced Education and Technology
Jack Hayden – Tourism, Parks and Recreation
Heather Klimchuk – Culture and Community Services
Manmeet Bhullar – Service Alberta