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.