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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

judy wilson leaves alberta liberal caucus. former mla rick miller new chief of staff.

Following the recent trend of staff departures at the Alberta Legislative Assembly that have included Larry Johnsrude and Troy Wason, Official Opposition Chief of Staff Judy Wilson is now the departing the Dome.

After serving as Director of Operations at Government House for 13 years, Judy Wilson joined the Official Opposition caucus in 2007 as Chief of Staff under former leader Kevin Taft, and remained in her position after David Swann was selected as leader of the Liberal Party in December 2008. Wilson will be succeeded by Rick Miller, who served as the MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford and Finance Critic from 2004 to 2008.

Media Release

March 3, 2009

Alberta Liberal caucus sees change in Chief of Staff

Edmonton – Judy Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Alberta Liberal Caucus will be leaving her position, effective Friday March 6, 2009. Rick Miller, former MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford, will be stepping into that role.

“Our caucus has a new leader, and he has decided to take a new direction,” said Wilson. “I wish Rick all the best in his new role.

“I’m looking forward to new challenges and opportunities, and to having time to focus on other projects that are important to me – like the Student Refugee program at the U of A, and my Rotary club. I’ll have more time to devote to coaching my daughter’s soccer team,” says Wilson.

“I have appreciated working with Judy and all that she has contributed to our Caucus in her nearly 2 years here”, says Dr. David Swann, Leader.

Rick Miller will assume his new role effective Monday, March 9, 2009.

“I see this as an opportunity to contribute to democracy in this province, which has always been important to me,” said Miller.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to come into an organization where a strong, solid foundation has been built, thanks to the commitment and talents of Judy Wilson. I’ve known Judy for many years – we are in the same Rotary Club and worked together in caucus when I was an MLA. I have tremendous respect for the skills that she brings to any endeavour in her future,” concluded Miller.

-30-
One of the first challenges faced by Miller will be to boost the moral and provide internal direction in Alberta's Official Opposition caucus, which fell to 9 elected MLAs in 2008. Miller will also face the challenge of plugging leaks that have contributed to a rumour mill of anonymous gossip emanating from the Liberal Caucus over the past couple months. Many of the anonymous rumours surrounded Wilson's participation in conversations being held by various groups of Albertans dissatisfied with the state of democracy in this province (including myself and Jason Morris from Gauntlet.ca).

46 comments:

eh said...

Smart move.

Tiny Perfect Blog said...
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Anonymous said...

I think Tiny Perfect Blog is the outlet for the rumour mill of anonymous gossip.

Miller can shape this ship up.

Anonymous said...

Miller is widely held to be a centrist (or Blue) Liberal. This was a good pick for Swann, and a sign that he's getting his house in order.

Michael from Calgary said...

I've met Rick Miller a number of times and if there is anyone who can whip a group of people into shape, it's him.

With Miller, hopefully David Swann can move the Opposition past the era of petty gossip and partisanship and towards a direction of forward thinking ideas and attitudes.

I'm ready for it.

Anonymous said...

Great pick by Swann. Miller was the most level headed Liberal MLA while he was in office.

-Tom B.
Grande Prairie

Blake said...

How do you think Swann's choice of Miller will effect the dynamic between Liberal MLA's?

Anonymous said...

And thus ends a months long campaign by certain Liberal MLA's to get rid of Judy Wilson.

Good luck to Miller. Maybe he will have a better chance at surviving the negative attitudes of vindictive MLA's.

If only the opposition could get it's act together and give Albertans an alternative to the directionless Stelmaconservatives.

Justin said...

Rick is a great choice. Well done Swann.

KGH said...

Didn't Tiny Perfect accuse Rick Miller of being a Liberal splitter?

daveberta said...

Agreed, Justin. Rick is a solid choice for this position.

Locale said...

Miller knows politics, knows Edmonton, and he knows the Legislature. He alone increases the Liberal bench strength by 10fold.

Wilson may have been a great public servant but politics may not have been her field (but good luck to here in the future).

Anonymous said...

TPB has accused everyone of everything. Rick was definitely one of the most competent former Liberal MLAs, has ran his own business and should be a good pick, one would think.

Sponge Bob Stelmach said...

Miller knows politics, knows Edmonton, and he knows the Legislature.

Does he know how to get re-elected?

Tiny Perfect Blog said...
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daveberta said...

SBS - to be fair, Miller was defeated by only just over 100 votes in an election where other Edmonton Liberal MLAs were swept away with +1000 vote margins.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:47...don't forget Wilson's campaign to start a new party...hard to blame certain MLAs for wanting somebody loyal to the party they represent. That's not vindictive, that's pretty basic.

Miller is "blue" which is probably good for the Libs right now, given some of the fractures. And his reputation is that he has a "level" head.... But the job requires way more than that, at least if it's going to be done right. Come on Daveberta and Justin, don't just restart the cheerleading.

daveberta said...

Anonymous 4:22:00 PM: Writing that Rick Miller is "a solid choice" is cheerleading?

Anonymous said...

As the release points out, Miller is also really tight with Wilson.... Can anyone say "awkward"?

Anonymous said...

daveberta: yup, sounds like cheerleading to me.

Some reason to be hopeful, but lots of reasons to suspend judgement.

JS said...

Dave you missed the biggest and most important breaking story of the day. 2 NDP MLA's have given Ed Stelmach a failing grade on the NDP report card. F, F, F, F, and D-.

Anonymous said...

A normal move by any new party leader.

Next story.

SD said...

JS just made my day. I agree, Dave, where is the critical analysis? This is important!

Justin said...

Not just cheerleading - I actually do think he's a great choice.

Rick is a smart guy with a background in small business, as an MLA he was finance critic and opposition caucus whip, and he's a former ALP President (yep, look it up trolls) and long time active member of the ALP, so he understands the party side of the ledger.

For the reasons above, and also for his general competence and aptitude, I can't think of a better person for this job right now. So like I said, great choice.

Anonymous said...

Justin,
No doubt you think he's a great choice. I'm not sure what running a small business necessarily has to do with anything, but you're right, he did.... And simply reasserting his competence and aptitude (at what, for what) doesn't get us any further. Was he a successful Whip? From what I hear, that's definitely up for debate. And hopefully he understands the party side well enough to know he's no longer on that side, and knows what sort of coordination is appropriate and what sort of things aren't. I also hear that he remains convinced that the Libs ran a fantastic campaign in 08. That alone raises questions about whether he gets politics sufficiently to really be top notch. They've been through so many chiefs of staff there that it suggests nobody has a clear idea what the person is supposed to do, which also raises real questions about whether he can be successful. Anybody really believe Swann knows what he needs and wants from that position?
But here's hoping. I'm not saying he can't do a decent job. Maybe he can. But the bandwagon picked up lots of passengers awfully quick, which is a habit the Libs seem to have....

oil man repenting said...

Miller will be a better chief-of-staff than Wilson. However, he absolutely has to disown or sever ties with the "revolution" group if he wants to be credible.

He was there in the beginning and remained involved with Wilson and Daveberta and the others even through the leadership contest. Actually I was puzzeld how he was picked to conduct the count! Someone asleep at the wheel or a bigger conspiracy to elect Swann?

Want a rumour? After Miller, the other person Swann will recruit will be Elsalhy, when he's done with the party renewal thing. Miller as Chief-of-Staff for caucus and Elsalhy, the next Executive Director for the party or perhaps even President after Grant Dunlop leaves end of April. Another blue Liberal? A stronger bench?

Anonymous said...

I assume caucus will make it clear that as far as his Chief role, he's there to support the current caucus. He'll need to put his personal views aside, which was something Wilson didn't seem to understand. Until Swann figures out where he stands on the revolution, dumping the party name, starting a new party, etc., it's almost immaterial where Miller stands. But from what my sources tell me, there's enough damage to repair and improvements to be made on the caucus side that he'll be busy.

On the Elsalhy rumour...wow. Really? Blue, maybe. Stronger bench, uhhhh.

Tiny Perfect Blog said...
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oil man repenting said...

Elsalhy's vote, like Swann's, went up in 2008 albeit slightly (1 of only 4 incumbants, the other 2 being Chase and Agnihotri). Stronger too in the sense that while almost all other former MLAs vanish and get forgotten, this dude became more active after losing his seat, stayed media-quoteable, ran for the leadership, and is now heading the renewal taskforce. The Libs need more people with this kind of drive and ambition.

Oh, and he will be the reason the splitters/splinters either get silenced or are forced to leave. NDers don't like him, naturally ;-)

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how a former MLA does as head of the caucus office. Also, if Rick did have any ties to the Revolution Group, I'm sure he will have severed them before taking on his new job.

Anonymous said...

It's only a temporary job for him until the 2012 election. He wants revenge and wants back as an MLA. He was probably the most angry and devastated, borderline depressed actually, after the March vote.

Anonymous said...

oilman, are you sure about that stat? A quick Wikipedia search tells me Dave Taylor's vote also increased between 2004 and 2008. Haven't checked any others though.

oill man repenting said...

5 then, not 4, my mistake. Only Agnihotri and Elsalhy went up in Edmonton. Another good stat would be the ranking of votes obtained by Grit candidates.

Anonymous said...

Taft got the most votes of any Liberal candidate (7,471). Swann was second (7,086)

Chester J said...

Sure, and Nancy Cavanaugh was third for the Liberals at 6999. But she lost by 5000 votes. Raw votes don't mean anything.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, self-promotion is such a rare art in politics. Wasn't one of his quotes something to the effect that his loss didn't matter because he could go make more money in the private sector? I'm not sure how someone at the end of the Liberal front bench who got pushed by the voters to the back bench and is now jumping up and down on that bench saying "look at me", increases their bench strength.

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't one of his quotes something to the effect that his loss didn't matter because he could go make more money in the private sector?"

It was Mike Nickel who said that after Don Iveson unseated him in the Ward 5 City Council race in 2007.

Anonymous said...

I think Elsalhy said something similar. It's a common refrain of the bitter and defeated candidates.

Anonymous said...

Most defeated candidates, regardless of which party, say stuff along these lines, it's typical.

Chances are, it's also probably true, more money and less headache.

Defeated, yes. Bitter, no. Elsalhy never once blamed the voters. furthermore, him, Agnihotri and MacDonald were the only ones who saw what was coming in 2008. I worked for caucus then and lived through it all.

Anonymous said...

Surely Tiny Perfect Blogger has so many sources, it doesn't need to appeal for information in blog comment streams?

Anonymous said...

David Xiao only won because:

1) he bussed people in, all from a particular heritage or ethnic background, to vote - most with no id or proof of address.
2) he lied about immediately getting overpasses built on the Anthony Hendy ring road.
3) he lied when he told people Elsalhy was a part-time MLA, that he was still practicing pharmacy the other half of his time

And so on, you catch my drift! Even the Tories sitting on the PC riding association in McClung don't like Xiao.

Kay said...

Losing candidates are known to say dumb stuff in the moment of defeat. Losing sucks.

One of the worst I remember was PC Don Weideman when Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman beat him for the third time in 2004.

"I think it's a great day for Alberta. Not so great for Edmonton and even worse for Edmonton-Centre," Weideman said"

Chandler Kent said...

Anon at 11:18. Are you serious? He won by 1200 votes. Are you suggesting he committed fraud to such a degree that he bussed 1200 (or more) people in? Were the DROs at every polling place asleep at the switch? As for "immediately getting overpasses built on the Henday," even if he made such a promise, what kind of idiot would believe it? Is Xiao endowed with magical powers? I think we all catch your drift, pal, and it's in your first point - unfortunately for people like you, we DO allow non-Caucasians to vote...

oil man repenting said...

Working hard and losing, saying dumb things because you're angry is one thing, and I can live with it. Being in denial and blaming everything and everyone but yourself is a totally different story. Like Taft with his post-election leader's dinner speech (his western tiger plan) or complaining about being outspent 10:1.

Judy Wilson and Larry Johnsrude both sucked and needed to go. Rick has an opportunity to pull people together and pull them up.

Swann is sure surrounding himself with some interesting people. The latest addition is his new communications director who was the LPCA Stampede breakfast co-chair in 2007, a federal Liberal - another deviation from the Taft years. Question is, will all of these guys deliver?

Tiny Perfect Blog said...
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Anonymous said...

I agree TPB, Miller's connection to the revolution group is an important issue.

Hey Anon 10:56, You don't have to blame the voters to be bitter. You can, like Anon 11:18, blame all kinds of other factors, real or imagined. I wonder who Anon 11:18 is...

Given your insider perspective, Anon 10:56, what do you think about the changes in caucus staff?