Alberta Green Party leader stepping down; party plans fall leadership contest

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PHOTOS: Outgoing Green Party of Alberta Leader Janet Keeping. Below: Leadership candidate Romy Tittel.

Janet Keeping, leader of Alberta’s tiny Green Party, is stepping down and the Greens will embark on a leadership contest this fall.

With most of our attention focused on the antics of the major parties in the Legislature – especially the efforts of Alberta’s often-fractious right to create One Big Conservative Party – it’s easy to forget that little parties can play a big role in our Westminster-style Parliamentary system.

Canadians had a stark reminder of that recently when British Columbia’s Green Party tripled its caucus in the Legislature in Victoria to three MLAs and, more importantly, found itself holding the balance of power between the province’s New Democrats and (conservative) Liberals. We’re yet to see exactly how that’s going to shake out.

Meanwhile, back here in what we used to know as Wild Rose Country before the ideological right hijacked that lovely name, the Greens may not yet be in a position to decide the fate of the Legislature, but funny things can happen.

Before taking on the seemingly hopeless task as the head of Alberta’s Greens, which began in the fall of 2012, Ms. Keeping had a distinguished a career as a lawyer, director of the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre and the Canadian Institute of Resources Law’s Russian program at the University of Calgary, as well as a specialist in human rights, environmental protection and accommodation of Indigenous interests in the context of oil and gas development. She was also president of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership and ran for the Alberta Greens in Calgary-Foothills in the 2015 provincial election.

She’s an honourary law professor at one Russian university and has been awarded a medal of service by another.

Born in Montreal, Ms. Keeping was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Calgary. In addition to her science and law degrees, she has a Master’s degree in philosophy.

So far, the party says, only one candidate has been approved to campaign for Ms. Keeping’s job – businesswoman Romy Tittel, who ran for the Green Party of Canada in the federal Foothills riding in 2015. Ms. Tittel was Alberta’s second female journeyman electrician.

Green Party of Alberta President Carl Svoboda said, however, that at least one more candidate is expected to come forward in the next week or two.

The deadline for entry into the leadership race is Sept. 10, and more details will be published in a statement next week, Mr. Svoboda said.

Categories Alberta Politics