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Alberta energy minister appointment Notley’s first mistake?

May 25, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

Who is Marg McCuaig-Boyd? Someone, it appears, with very few qualifications to be Alberta energy minister

Energy executives were busy Googling Marg McCuaig-Boyd, the new NDP Alberta energy minister, and what little they found couldn’t have been reassuring.

Alberta energy minister

Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta energy minister.

The unknown new politician was appointed yesterday by Premier Rachel Notley and McCuaig-Boyd was immediately busy reassuring the industry that everything will be A-OK under her leadership.

“I’m very collaborative. I’m very pragmatic, a great listener, my door is going to be open. It’s all going to be open and transparent as we move along. So they don’t have to worry,” McCuaig-Boyd told reporters. She was elected May 5 in the riding of Dunvegan-Central-Peace-Notley.

Not everyone was reassured. Martin Pelletier of TriVest Wealth Counsel in Calgary says he was surprised Premier Rachel Notley didn’t choose a more high-profile name for Alberta energy minister.

Sonny Mottahed, the CEO of Black Spruce Merchant Capital, says he’d liked to have seen someone with more oil and gas experience appointed to the file.

Which raises the question, Who in the NDP caucus has more energy industry experience?

Alberta energy minister

Marlin Schmidt, NDP MLA for Edmonton-Goldbar.

One name that stands out is Marlin Schmidt of Edmonton-Goldbar. According to his official bio, Schmidt has a Master’s degree in hydrogeology and spent the past six years working for Alberta Environment, specializing in remediating contaminated sites, and before that was employed in the upstream oil and gas industry as an environmental consultant.”

The 36-year old Schmidt has industry experience down in the trenches and relevant education. Compare that with McCuaig-Boyd’s jobs as a teacher, school administrator, college official and business consultant. Oh, and she’s from the Peace River district, which is home to some oil and gas activity.

McCuaig-Boyd is no doubt a very competent college administrator, and having uncles in the oil industry – as she noted for reporters – may come in handy (one assumes they are now on speed dial), but appointing an Alberta energy minister with no hands on experience in the industry is a very questionable call by the Premier. Especially when Notley had at least a more qualified option in her caucus.

In the next few months, the energy minister will have to oversee the NDP’s review of the oil and gas royalty regime – sure to be a highly contentious issue – and possibly take measures to encourage more processing of oil and gas within Alberta’s borders. Those are challenging issues for a more experienced politician, let alone a political rookie with little industry expertise.

Notley should explain why she chose McCuaig-Boyd to oversee the economic engine of the province, and to a large extent, of the country. And if she intends to appoint someone like Schmidt to a position where he can provide support to a minister who very likely will be in over her head.

Cabinet appointments are a new premier’s first big test. Notley’s choice for the energy portfolio is not reassuring.

 

With files from The Canadian Press.

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Category: Markham

About the Author ()

Markham Hislop is the publisher of Beacon News and Beacon Energy News. He also reports and writes about Alberta and British Columbia energy issues.

Comments (1)

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  1. Lisa Harrison says:

    Very interesting. We have to give her a chance. Sometimes someone with little experience has a different perspective and a fresh view of things. I think we need this for this particular position. Let’s see what she can do first before we hang her out to dry.

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