If there’s an Alberta version of what used to be known as a “Kremlinologist,” they’ll be puzzling over yesterday evening’s social media announcement by Premier Rachel Notley about the departure of former Status of Women Minister Stephanie McLean.
Premier Notley’s statement on Facebook at about 10 p.m. begged a few questions and suggested a need to read between the lines.
“We have received notice that MLA Stephanie McLean has resigned from her position as an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta,” it began, which seems an odd way to start something like this.
The first question that might spring to an inquiring reader’s mind is, “When?” No details were provided.
Rather than celebrate Ms. McLean’s role in cabinet at much length, the premier’s statement talked about her past legal business first.
Perhaps in the name of economy of words, it passed rather lightly over the historic role Ms. McLean played as the first Alberta MLA to give birth while in office. Her son, Patrick, was born on Feb. 12, 2016. The Notley Government thereafter made an effort to make the Legislature a friendlier place for MLAs with young children.
Ms. McLean left cabinet on June 18. Her interest in the government and governing seems to have waned considerably since then.
In May, she announced she did not plan to seek re-election. She has been on leave from the Legislature throughout the Fall 2018 Session. She has not been much seen in her Calgary-Varsity electoral district in recent months, and is thought to have been living for the past couple of months in Edmonton where her husband works.
While it’s not clear why Ms. McLean chose to quit before the election, creating potentially less than ideal optics for the government, the timing suggests there was a political calculation to ensure her resignation was late enough not to require a by-election before the general election expected in the spring.
Ms. Notley’s statement concluded by noting that Ms. McLean led the government’s “commitment to end sexual violence and organized a campaign to encourage women to run for municipal office.” It wished her and her family well in their future endeavours.
Don’t expect to hear much more about this from the government, and probably not that much from the Opposition either. Everyone will likely be moving on quickly.
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story had Ms. McLean’s son as being both four months old and two years and four months old. The latter age is the right one, and the story has been edited to reflect the facts. Like the Conservatives on the topic of the NDP role in the international price of oil, I blame Rachel Notley for this … in this case because she announced the former minister’s departure so late. Aged bloggers, like young toddlers, need an early bedtime to be at their best. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. DJC