Canada

The political career of Alberta's 13th premier

A look back at some key dates in the career of Ed Stelmach, who announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election.
Ed Stelmach announced Tuesday that he would not be seeking re-election in Alberta's next provincial election. He has been premier since December 2006. ((Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press))
Oct. 20, 1986: Ed Stelmach enters public life winning election as a municipal councilor in Lamont County. He will serve as reeve of Lamont County from 1987 until he runs for provincial office in 1993.

June 15, 1993: Stelmach wins the riding of Vegreville-King in the provincial general election. He serves as deputy whip as a rookie MPP.

March 29, 1999: Stelmach is appointed minister of agriculture, food and rural Development, entering Ralph Klein's cabinet for the first time. In subsequent years, he will also serve as minister of infrastructure, minister of transportation, and minister of intergovernmental relations.

Sept. 20, 2006: After a lacklustre endorsement in a leadership review, Ralph Klein resigns as Alberta premier, triggering a leadership race for the Progressive Conservative Party. Stelmach resigns his cabinet post to seek the leadership.

Dec. 3, 2006: Stelmach wins the PC leadership vote, becoming Alberta's 13th premier.

Ed Stelmach, left, chats with outgoing Alberta premier Ralph Klein on Dec. 6, 2006, a few days after winning the Progressive Conservative leadership. ((John Ulan/Canadian Press))

Jan. 16, 2008: Speaking to an audience of Canadian businesspeople and political staffers in the U.S. Senate finance committee chamber, Stelmach says, "There's a myth out there that oilsands production comes at too high an environmental cost." He told the committee U.S. objections to Alberta's oilsands could jeopardize America's access to oil, as it could fall behind less squeamish Asian countries.

Feb. 4, 2008: Stelmach advises Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong to dissolve the legislature, precipitating an election call.

March 3, 2008: Despite a lacklustre campaign and record low voter turnout (40 per cent), Stelmach increases the PC party's seat count from 62 to 72. It's a record 11th consecutive election victory for the Alberta Conservatives.

April 7, 2009: Alberta introduces a budget with a $4.7 billion deficit — the first deficit in 16 years and the largest ever. The budget forecasts deficits for the following three years.

July 7, 2009: Stelmach rules out tax increases to deal with Alberta's worsening financial position. After inheriting multibillion-dollar surpluses, Stelmach's government struggles with deficits in the wake of the financial crisis. "As long as I'm premier of this province, there will be no tax increases ... No tax increases, period," Stelmach forcefully tells reporters after a cabinet meeting in Calgary.

Wildrose Alliance Party Leader Danielle Smith, left, welcomes former Progressive Conservative Party MLAs Rob Anderson, centre, and Heather Forsyth, right, into the fold on Jan. 4, 2010. ((Jeff McIntosh /Canadian Press))

Dec. 28, 2009: A poll suggests the upstart Wildrose Alliance Party has more support than Stelmach's Conservatives. Stelmach notes the party was much lower in the polls in 1992.

Jan. 4, 2010: Stelmach's leadership suffers a blow when two members of his caucus cross the floor and join the Wildrose Alliance Party. Heather Forsyth and Rob Anderson said the government had lost its way under Stelmach.

Jan. 25, 2011: Stelmach announces that after 25 years in public office, he won't seek re-election and will step down as Alberta premier.

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