Alberta Politics
Hugh MacDonald shortly before his retirement announcement, at the 2011 Edmonton Labour Council Labour Day BBQ (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

With an election in the wind, it’s always worth remembering there’s life after politics.

Consider Hugh MacDonald, once renowned as Alberta’s hardest-working MLA.

The former Alberta Liberal Party stalwart served four terms as MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar and certainly would have been elected to a fifth had he chosen to run again in 2012.

From the day he was elected in March 1997, voters in Gold Bar loved Mr. MacDonald, who was raised on the Liberal-red soil of Prince Edward Island and retained more than a trace of his Down Home accent.

They loved him with good reason. In opposition, “Hughie” was a scourge of the government. He was sincerely offended by dishonesty and self-interest in high places. He was much more likely to be found evenings digging through government files in the Legislature Library than going to lobbyists’ cocktail parties. And he knew how to present a story in a way journalists were bound to respond to with plenty of ink or its digital equivalent.

Just because it was always a Conservative government during his long service in the Legislature doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have held a government of another stripe to the same high standards.

Mr. MacDonald had succeeded Liberal Bettie Hewes as MLA. Between the two of them, Edmonton-Gold Bar was a Liberal stronghold from 1986 until Mr. MacDonald retired in 2012. Working-class voters in…

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