Calgary

Alberta's 'revolving door' of municipal affairs ministers raises concern

Bedbugs typically live at least six months, an enviable lifespan for municipal affairs ministers in Alberta. The province has now seen six different people at the head of the portfolio in the past 22 months.

Half-a-dozen people have been at the helm of municipal affairs portfoilio in the past 22 months

Remember her? Diana McQueen was municipal affairs minister for eight months under the previous PC government, making her one of the longer-serving people in the portfolio lately. (CBC)

Bedbugs typically live at least six months, an enviable lifespan for municipal affairs ministers in Alberta these days.

The province has now seen six different people at the head of the portfolio in the past 22 months.

Danielle Larivee, the MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, is the latest to take over the role, being appointed by Premier Rachel Notley Thursday to replace Deron Bilous, who will now head up the new Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

The upheaval comes as Alberta continues to negotiate with both Calgary and Edmonton on the long-contentious issue of city charters, which would spell out a new relationship between the provincial and municipal governments, and grant new powers to the cities.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann noted city-charter agreements were "delayed again and again" under the previous PC government, which also saw frequent turnover in the municipal affairs portfolio.

'Revolving door'

Swann said he has respect for Larivee as a legislator, but he's worried about the impact of having yet another new face at the negotiating table.

"I am deeply concerned about the revolving door of ministers at Municipal Affairs ... our cities require more continuity than that." Swann said in an email.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who has quarrelled with one municipal affairs minister, in particular, in the past, said he's optimistic Larivee will continue the negotiations and meet the target of having new charters agreed upon by spring 2016.

"I look forward to working with her to help get her up to speed on the key issues for Calgarians," Nenshi said.

"The provincial government has made good progress on advancing timelines for the Municipal Government Act review and the creation of new city charters, and I am confident those timelines will stay in place."

Ministers gone by

Here's a list of the past half-dozen municipal affairs ministers, when they left the job, and why:

  • Doug Griffiths — December 2013 (demoted by premier Alison Redford)
  • Ken Hughes — April 2014 (resigned to run for PC leadership)
  • Greg Weadick — September 2014 (was interim minister, shuffled out)
  • Diana McQueen —  May 2015 (government defeated)
  • Deron Bilous — October 2015 (shuffled to new portfolio)
  • Danielle Larivee — Current

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