St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud at the moment she defied tradition and criticized a Conservative! (Photo: Screenshot of unattributed video).

St. ALBERT, Alberta — My goodness, it’s rough being a government minister in this province!

Sometimes people will even criticize you!

Dale Nally, associate minister of natural gas and electricity and MLA for Morinville-St. Albert (Photo: Government of Alberta).

I mean, seriously, the nerve! This never used to happen to the old Progressive Conservatives back in the day when they occupied all but one or two of the seats in the provincial Legislature.

Consider the plight of Dale Nally, United Conservative Party MLA for Morinville-St. Albert and associate minister of natural gas and electricity in Premier Jason Kenney’s cabinet.

Ms. Renaud (Photo David J. Climenhaga).

The thin-skinned Mr. Nally turned up at St. Albert City Hall on Monday in the company of Culture, Multiculturalism and status of Women Minister Leela Aheer for a ceremony at which a rainbow flag was raised to acknowledge that June is Pride Month.

Ms. Aheer is often criticized for saying the right things about human rights but being part of a government that doesn’t exactly do the right thing. She is used to this and appears to deal with it with aplomb.

Mr. Nally, whose cabinet duties such as they are involve helping push through polices the fossil fuel industry wants, is apparently not so used to the idea that being criticized now and then comes with the job of being a minister of the Crown, albeit only an associate one.

So he was shocked, just shocked, when St. Albert’s other MLA, Marie Renaud, the NDP’s community and social services critic, said a few words that acknowledged an undeniable truth and were therefore critical of the government in her brief remarks, which at 112 words were 166 words shorter than Abraham Lincoln’s famously concise Gettysburg Address!

“It is one thing to raise the flag, and it is quite another to have done the work to deserve to raise the flag,” she said. “And, sadly, currently, right now, our provincial government is really the only one in Canada that has rolled back LGBTQ rights for students. And so, I’m glad the minister is here today, but for all of us to make a commitment actually to do the hard work, and to make the investments that make us, sort of, to be eligible to be there today, to raise the flag and to say, proudly, that we are doing everything that we can to promote inclusion. So, thank you very much.”

Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and status of Women Minister Leela Aheer (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Mr. Nally, it turns out, was not only shocked by Ms. Renaud’s remarks, he was appalled. Safely back in his office — or maybe in the car on the way back — he dashed off a letter to St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron expressing his outrage.

“MLA Renaud’s partisan attack was extremely inappropriate, divisive, and unprofessional,” he huffed to the mayor. “A community celebration should focus on working together instead of scoring cheap political points for social media.”

For those of you unconvinced that speaking up for human rights is a mere cheap political point, Mr. Nally continued, tellingly, to warn Mayor Heron that “it also makes it more difficult for me to convince other ministers to attend St. Albert celebrations when the mood is less than welcoming.”

“I kindly ask,” he concluded, “that you attempt to impress upon all elected officials the need for decorum at community events.”

St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

There you go, Ms. Heron, you’re on notice — any more backchat from anyone in St. Albert, and you’ll never see another UCP minister around here again. Then you’ll be sorry!

That would be a change from the days when Doug Horner, one of those old opposition-free PCs and a holder of various important cabinet posts, practically used to camp out at City Hall.

Wait, that’s not all. Mr. Nally was so upset that he even tabled the letter in the Legislature, perhaps in the hope Mr. Speaker would rap Ms. Renaud’s knuckles.

Well good luck with that. I expect Nathan Cooper knows better than to try.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to Ms. Renaud. As an advocate for disabled Albertans and the director of a St. Albert charity before she was an MLA, she was warned on more than one occasion by senior civil servants and an MLA to zip her lip. It didn’t work then, either.

Well, never let it be said that snowflakery, as conservatives like to suggest, is the exclusive prerogative of progressive politicians.

I expect some of Mr. Nally’s constituents will make this clear to their sensitive MLA in the columns of our local community newspaper. And to whom will he report them? Will he ask to speak to the manager?

Courtney Howard, president of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, to seek federal Green leadership

Speaking of politicians who are bound to annoy Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP by speaking self-evident truths, I see that Yellowknife emergency room physician Dr. Courtney Howard, president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, intends to seek the leadership of the Green Party of Canada.

Green Party of Canada leadership candidate Courtney Howard (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Dr. Howard not only has the temerity to argue that global climate change is a public health issue, in 2015 she led a successful campaign to get the Canadian Medical Association to divest its fossil-fuel holdings.

As a result, in 2016 the CMA announced it had completed divestment of its own organizational fund from fossil fuels and set up a fossil-fuel-free investment fund that physicians are also encouraged to use for their own savings.

She has described climate change as “an urgent new frontier for humanitarianism.”

Perhaps as the minister of natural gas, Mr. Nally should write another stiff letter to the CMA.

Full disclosure: The author of this post is a resident of St. Albert. He lives in Ms. Renaud’s riding. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Some of these new UCP members haven’t really been in a position that they can be criticized publicly before. So they have very fragile egos and a sense of entitlement. They thought they could just bully people without any push back. Thankfully this is rallying a people to vote them out next election.

  2. “Goodness gracious me, Mayor! Cannot a parochial tertiary elected official of the provincial government visit your town for a ceremony and NOT be orally assaulted by a mere opposition MLA representing the riding next to ours? I suggest you lay down the law to your vocal taxpayer and make sure next time I visit, that taxpayer is bound and gagged, a red carpet is rolled out for me and that a suitable number of floral bouquets will be dotted around my ducal vicinity. Individual citizens are in no postion to criticize this government because both their home workstations and the ground beneath their feet have been designated as critical infrastructure. If it happens again, then all concerned in the failure to suppress cutting remarks will be severely punished!”

    About sums up this twit’s sense of self-importance. He is no doubt used to being treated with deep respect as an emissary of the Emperor, told how handsome and intelligent he is, and fed artisanal hors d’oeuvres together with a dry sherry accompaniment, refillable on demand, as a light but satisfying lunch. Next time he might turn up in a unform to stress who’s in charge.

  3. A provincial minister of the crown complaining to a local mayor about a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition? Sort of like a schoolkid tattling to the janitor that another kid was mean to them (no disrespect to either the mayor or to janitors).

    1. Given Dale’s reputation as the resident meathead and always-Trumper, there should be no surprise that he tried to emulate his idol, the Racist-In-Chief of ‘Murica.

      No doubt he will declare that St. Albert is in the hands of anarchists and demand that the Montana National Guard be deployed to dominate the streets.

      1. Please, for heaven sake, don’t offer these grifters any more ideas. We already live in (far too) interesting times, as in the ‘curse’.

  4. The name is interesting…

    Dale Nally

    The BBC broadcasts a hilarious prank show called “The Revolution Will Be Televised”. The premise of the show is that its hosts, comedians Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubinstein, go around embarrassing notable, pompous and usually irritating Britons, like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

    Rubinstein plays a “fearless hetero journalist”character called “Dale Maily” whose name is a play on the Daily Mail tabloid. All this character does is rampage about spewing right-wing and hyper-conservative talking points at various politically sensitive events. The results are funny and, potentially, life threatening for Rubinstein.

    Dale Maily. Dale Nally. This stuff just writes itself.

  5. So let me get this straight if a UCP MLA feels slighted, apparently it doesn’t take much, you can expect that they and their buddies will no longer show up to public events? I’m trying to see the negative here. Now if only we could find my MLA, shorter man, lawyer and accountant by trade, had ambitions of being minister of finance, last seen shortly after the last election. He must be too busy working on that hospital expansion he promised would be as good as done if he was elected.

  6. Nah, Nally won’t report any pesky letter-writers. He will just show up on their driveways and yell at them. He’s a quick study, after all.

  7. It sure seems more than a few of the UCP ministers or almost ministers are quite sensitive types when it comes to criticism of their party.

    I think they bought their own delusion that everyone, or almost everyone, in Alberta was a Conservative and expected crowds to show up with flowers and gifts for them as thanks for liberating Alberta from the socialists. I suppose they are a bit dumbfounded when instead the public seems somewhat less than grateful, which seems to be a more common sentiment these days.

    Thin skinned and oblivious, I wonder where they get this interesting combination of qualities from? Their dear leader perhaps?

  8. Dale Nally’s apparently a snowflake because he objected to a municipal event celebrating the LGBT community being turned into a partisan attack ad for the NDP.

    Given how Mr. Climenhaga thinks Mr. Nally is being overly sensitive, I’m looking forward to his future article where he excoriates Marie Renaud for getting thrown out of the legislature because someone gave her a mean look.

    P.S. I love how the other replies here all accuse Mr. Nally of being a racist homophobic moron who loves Donald Trump and the USA for some reason. He has been a consistent advocate for LGBT rights in the UCP (yes, there is such a thing). I know progressives love cutting down conservatives at any opportunity but you should really do your homework about the ones you choose to cut down.

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