Edmonton

Former Alberta cabinet minister back in the skies with Air Canada

Ricardo Miranda was the minister of culture and tourism under former premier Rachel Notley. After his defeat in the election last April, Miranda went back to his old job as a flight attendant with Air Canada.

Former NDP cabinet ministers returning to old jobs after defeat in April election

Ricardo Miranda was Alberta's culture and tourism minister under former NDP premier Rachel Notley. (CBC)

Five months ago, Ricardo Miranda was the minister of culture and tourism under former premier Rachel Notley.  After his defeat in the April election, Miranda went back to his old job as a flight attendant with Air Canada. 

"Back to flying has been amazing," Ricardo Miranda told CBC News. "I got to fly to Tokyo, I went on my honeymoon, I just got back from Frankfurt. 

"All of that put together, I've had a pretty exciting summer."

On April 16, Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party won 63 seats, sending the NDP to the opposition benches. Miranda lost his seat in Calgary-Cross. 

After mulling some offers to do advocacy work, Miranda decided to return to the job he loves. 

Miranda had been a flight attendant for 16 years when he was elected in 2015. 

Since returning to Air Canada at the end of June, Miranda says he has run into passengers who recognize him.

He also came face-to-face with the candidate who defeated him — Mickey Amery of the UCP.

Miranda works as a service manager in first class, so he didn't see Amery until the end of the flight. 

"When I was saying goodbye to people I saw him coming out," he said. "He shook my hand and he walked off." 

'Life moves on' 

Miranda isn't the only former cabinet minister who has returned to his old job. Former Childrens' Services Minister Danielle Larivee is back working as a public health nurse in Slave Lake.

Oneil Carlier, who served as Agriculture and Forestry Minister, returned to his job as a regional representative with the Public Service Alliance of Canada. 

Former Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson has returned to his old company in a different role. Anderson worked as a technician with Telus prior to his election as the MLA for Leduc-Beaumont in 2015. He now works as a relationship manager. 

Carlier took a leave of absence from his job with PSAC when he was elected the MLA for Whitecourt-Ste. Anne in 2015. He returned to his old position in May where he works on behalf of unionized federal employees in northern Alberta.

Carlier said some people did a double take when he showed up at a recent meeting for Parks Canada employees at Elk Island National Park. 

"Their reaction was, 'Well, what are you doing here?'" Carlier recounted. "[I said] well this is my job now. Life moves on. I'm glad I'm back."

Former Banff-Cochrane MLA Cameron Westhead was an operating room nurse at Foothills Hospital in Calgary when he was elected in 2015. After taking a few months off, he is returning to work at a different hospital. 

"It's been nice to get back to a normal citizen's life," Westhead said. "Public life can be very difficult and challenging. I would do it again and I was honoured to have done it. "

Westhead isn't done with politics. He plans to run for second vice-president of the United Nurses of Alberta this fall. His former caucus colleague Larivee told CBC she is planning to run for UNA first vice-president. 

Miranda was the president of his union before he was elected to the legislature. Even though he's back at his old job, he's happy to leave the union work to the people that came after him. 

"I'm so enjoying flying that I can't even think of that right now," he said. 

Other former MLAs are pursuing new opportunities in their post-political life. 

Karen McPherson, the former Alberta Party MLA for Calgary-McKay-Nose Hill, decided not to run again. She told CBC News in an email that she is working on a startup to get internet to rural Alberta and First Nations communities. 

Estefania Cortes-Vargas, who represented Strathcona-Sherwood Park for the NDP, was named the executive director of the Pride Centre of Edmonton in July. 

Former NDP Calgary-Klein MLA Craig Coolahan now works as a representative for Local 212 of  the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

Former Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson is working as an equipment sales representative. 

Former Calgary-Shaw MLA Graham Sucha is working as a community outreach specialist with Cybera, a non-profit "digital accelerator." 

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