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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Introducing the Honourable Heather Klimchuk

Heather Klimchuk is my new MLA and my friend and is now Minister of Service Alberta. It has been quite a week.
Heather is going to bring a new sensibility, a different political perspective and a critical skill set to the Stelmach government. This is because of her personal experiences (political and otherwise), her character qualities and her engaging persuasive personality.

Heather as been actively involved in Progressive Conservative party politics ever since she was 3 years old, when her folks brought/dragged her to numerous town hall meetings and election rallies. She has a real-world sensibility as she and her husband deal with the day-to-day challenges of bringing up two teenage children. She has been the ultimate volunteer and an uber-citizen. For years she has been continually active in the issues that affects her community from education to transportation, to recreation and development issues.

She is a long time activist in Alberta Progressive Conservative Party she has served at the constituency level as a board member and as a Constituency President. She has volunteered on dozens of election campaigns and now she has become a successful candidate in her own right. She will now get to continue to bring her talents, imagination and insights to her community's needs, but now to a larger community as well and in her new role as the MLA for Edmonton Glenora.

Heather has a wealth of retail political experience. She was recently elected to the PC Party Provincial Executive and served until her election victory. She has plenty of practical front line political experience coming from her 10 years of work in the offices of both Premier’s Lougheed and Getty.

Heather personal life is typical of busy women, wives and mothers all over Alberta. She knows what they are dealing with in trying to cope with the overwhelming demands of working inside and outside the home, being totally immersed in the day-to-day demands of bringing up a family and running a household. She, like so many other women in her situation, still finds time and energy to volunteer and contribute to the betterment of their communities.

There is a need for our political system to have more appreciation of the demands that are put on so many women these days, especially those who are in personally challenging circumstances. In the male dominated world of provincial politics and government these realities can easily be overlooked. With Heather in the “House” I don’t think that failure to notice will be happening anymore.

Heather and I have been friends for over 20 years. We have shared thoughts on a wide array of political and policy issues over the years. I can tell you she also knows the important role of good government to our society, our environment and our economy. She is especially well versed in how a progressive and conservative approach can be applied to meet the challenges we Albertans now face, both individually and together.

She worked hard for her election success. I know she is honoured and humbled with the Premier’s appointment to Cabinet. All this mean is that she will get to bring her experiences, skills and capacity for caring to bear even more on setting the future directions and defining the new destination for Alberta.

Good Cabinet choice Ed - and congratulations Heather.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:34 am

    The only qualification you mention that suggests that Klimchuk will be a good cabinet minster is that she has been a progressive conservative for a long time.

    What is it about her training, education and employment experience that will make her an effective manager of thousands of employees and billions of dollars?

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  2. Morning Anon @ 8:34 - I think you parse my words a tad. It is not her party PC affiliation that makes her a good choice for cabinet. It is her values that learned and honed through her life experience in grassroots politics and community engagement that makes her a good choice.

    Politicians are policy makers - not managers. I think the most important attribute a modern politician can bring to governance is the value set they have as people.

    I want them to have intelligence that is focused on seeking wisdom instead of conveying cleverness. I want public policy makers who have an orientating personal story that is rooted in caring, integration and inclusiveness as priority attributes. These are some of the key qualities a candidate must have to gain my respect, my trust and my consent to govern me.

    The personal qualities of the leader and the local candidate are much more important than any party affiliation for how I make my voting decisions at election time.

    Life experience, education and a capacity to make sound decisions are important too. Being adaptive and able to learn is even more vital to effective performance of a political responsibility.

    Financial expertise or human resource management skills are necessary elements for good government but they insufficient in themselves for good governance and policy making. Besides that stuff is operational expertise that can be bought...you don't have to elect it.

    Having an active curiosity, a profound caring and compassion melded with a capacity for balancing competing values and principles in coming to sound judgments are much more important skills and talents for politicians.

    I want politicians who have some real virtuosity in using their personal tools of wisdom and judgment in designing public policy. Reading a financial statement and balancing a budget is important. Don't get me wrong. But knowing what you want the budget to do and being able to design and execute a plan that gets you to your goal is a more vital skill for an elected policy maker.

    The job of Cabinet Minister and MLA will not be "to manage thousands of employees and billions of dollars." There are excellent people in the Alberta bureaucracy who are very capable and have the responsibly for those crucial day to day management functions of government.

    Being effective and successful in political office is much more complex and much more difficult than performing those necessary professional and operational management functions.

    For the record Heather has a BA and has owned and managed her own small business for years...if that really means anything in politics today.

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  3. Anonymous10:36 pm

    Her lack of qualifications is a little scary but I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt - however, at the first sign she is screwing things up, I hope Ed can cut her loose.

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  4. Anonymous8:41 am

    He cut Boutilier lose and he was ostensibly very qualified a Harvard grad and all.

    But when other Cabinet Ministers started visiting Ft Mc on the ground they say how much needed to be done and how little had been done. One wonder's what Guy had been doing to get the real Ft. Mc story out adn something done about it in the past decade.

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