PHOTOS: The PC Alberta Drum Band. It’s not this bad, but close enough. Below: Grant Notley, Raj Pannu and Brian Mason.


Well, we have to give them this much: the Alberta Progressive Conservatives have managed to produce a shadow cabinet even smaller than Premier Rachel Notley’s minimalist ministry!

Not that they had much choice in the matter, but while there are now plenty of New Democrats in the Alberta Legislature to populate the premier’s tiny 12-member cabinet, alas for the PCs the number of the formerly dynastic governing party’s cabinet critics is limited by the number of PC members actually remaining in the House.

And if you count interim-type leader Ric McIver, there are still only nine of them. (Actually, if the recent performance of their support staff is anything to go on, this may be a small mercy from the PCs’ perspective.)

Well, their caucus could grow to 10 if by some miracle something changes with the appeal of the judicial recount of the recount that gave an election-night tie in Calgary-Glenmore to NDP candidate Anam Kazim rather than Conservative Linda Johnson on May 5.

In the mean time, the PCs can comfort themselves with the thought that right after the 2004 election, when supposed frugality meister Ralph Klein named two dozen MLAs to his PC cabinet (if you count two “cabinet liaisons,” anyway), New Democrats Brian Mason and Raj Pannu has to split 22 critic portfolios between them!

What’s more, the late Grant Notley had to be the critic for every one of the 20-plus ministers in Peter Lougheed’s cabinet!

Truth be told, this probably won’t comfort the 2015 Tories very much. But at least, individually, they don’t have as much to keep track of as did any of Mr. Notley, Mr. Mason or Dr. Pannu.

Here the PC critics are, for future reference, just in case anyone happens to keep track of such minutia:

  • Rick McIver, interim leader, labour, municipal affairs
  • Wayne Drysdale, agriculture, forestry; rural development, transportation
  • Richard Starke, culture, tourism, health, parks and recreation
  • Richard Gotfried, international and intergovernmental relations, seniors
  • Manmeet Bhullar, finance and treasury board, infrastructure
  • Dave Rodney, aboriginal relations, innovation and advanced education
  • Sandra Jansen, education, human services, status of women
  • Rick Fraser, energy, environment
  • Mike Ellis, justice, Service Alberta

Um … That’s it.

Well, there’s one thing the Tories can still brag about: Reduced though their numbers may be, the man who put a stop to Alison Redford’s Sky Palace is definitely in their shadow cabinet!

Stand up, Ric McIver! … I mean, stand up, Wayne Drysdale! I mean … ummm …

Join the Conversation


  1. Kind of tough to criticize a bus driver whose only qualification would be to be, umm, Minister of Transportation. What a joke!

    1. As comments from trolls allowed on this blog because of the author’s profound commitment to free speech, this would be one of the more idiotic I’ve seen. Mr. Mason, the real one, has one sterling quality above all that entitles him to high office in a democracy. To wit: He can get elected, and so can his party. Good lord, I’d vote for a bus driver any day over the holder of a master of business administration!

    2. And what were the qualifications of somebody like Peter McKay who just left the political arena? Other than the fact that he was born into political royalty since his dad was Elmer McKay, a former Mulroney era cabinet minister.

      Politics is a dance. I’m guessing a bus driver can kick up their heels with the best of them after having their feet pressed on the gas pedal all day.

  2. It wasn’t a bus driver who hurled the Western world into a perpetual middle eastern war, when he decided to attack Iraq. It was in fact a Yale educated master of business administration graduate – George Bush II.

    And what pray tell is your occupation Troll “Mason”?

    I’m with David on this: Better a bus driver than a fucking idiot with an MBA.

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