File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS                                Finance minister, and Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA, Travis Toews, left, seen here with Alberta premier Jason Kenney, was voted Alberta’s legislature member of the year Wednesday.

File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Finance minister, and Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA, Travis Toews, left, seen here with Alberta premier Jason Kenney, was voted Alberta’s legislature member of the year Wednesday.

Alberta Finance Minister voted MLA of the year in poll of political peers

EDMONTON — Finance Minister Travis Toews come on down, you’ve been voted Alberta’s legislature member of the year.

The straight-shooting, low-talking, cowboy-boot-wearin’ member for Grande Prairie-Wapiti was the top choice among his political peers in an informal vote conducted by Speaker Nathan Cooper.

Toews was one of nine award winners in ballots cast over the past week.

“I thought it would be fun,” Cooper said prior to announcing the awards in the chamber Wednesday.

“(It’s) where parliamentarians have the opportunity to put down their tools and just reflect upon what has happened over the year and how individual members have done with respect to serving their constituents or Albertans.”

The most promising newcomer award, essentially rookie of the year, went to Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney, the first-term member from Calgary-North East.

The most collegial MLA, the legislature’s version of the NHL’s Lady Byng Trophy, was awarded to United Conservative backbencher Martin Long of West Yellowhead.

When it comes to on-the-ground hustle, UCP Drumheller-Stettler legislature member Nate Horner was voted the best representative for his constituents, while NDP deputy whip Janis Irwin of Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood was voted best at community outreach.

Alberta’s hardest working MLA, or the legislature’s Energizer bunny award, went to UCP backbencher Tracy Allard of Grande Prairie.

The legislature’s sharpest tongue honour was captured by Shane Getson. The UCP backbencher from Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland won the title of best debater.

NDP advanced education critic David Eggen of Edmonton-Northwest is the winner of the MLA lifetime achievement award. He is serving his fourth term in the legislature in a political career approaching two decades.

Alberta’s most knowledgeable parliamentarian title, the rules-braniac-wonk award, goes to Deputy Speaker Angela Pitt.

Should Albertans be concerned, Cooper was asked, that the Speaker of the House was not named the most knowledgeable parliamentarian?

Cooper paused, ummed and ahhed, then said he took his name out of the voting.

“I was not eligible to win.”

Cooper said more than half of the 87 MLAs returned the anonymous ballots.

No definitions were attached to the award titles, so voters were free to interpret them as they wished. There was no room for comments and there were no spoiled ballots.

Cooper said this is the first of what will be an annual poll, with modifications to come next time around, such as a committee to put forward nominees in each category.

It’s a legislature that could do with a little fence mending.

The fall sitting has been sluiced with acrimony, as Premier Jason Kenney’s government has overhauled and expunged a raft of rules passed by the former NDP government, while introducing a budget and letters warning that thousands of public sector jobs may have to go over the next three years.

Both sides have already handed out their own dubious superlative “awards.”

Kenney and the UCP have labelled Notley’s NDP “the worst government” in the history of Alberta and former finance minister Joe Ceci “the worst finance minister” in provincial annals.

Notley, in turn, has taken to calling Kenney “the most corrupt premier” in Canadian history for passing legislation to fire an independent elections watchdog who had been investigating — and heavily fining — Kenney’s party for fundraising violations.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in her daily update on Monday that 362 new COVID cases have been identified and 7,200 tests done in the last 24 hours. (File photo)
COVID-19: UK variant may have entered broader community says Alberta health minister

25 cases of two variants identified in Alberta and one not linked to travel

An ice sculpture of a bee with a timely message was created near the Ross Street Patio. It’s party of a Downtown Business Association initiative to draw more people downtown to support local businesses. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Ice sculptures created to draw more people to downtown Red Deer

Three sculptures can be seem at various venues

Lab and x-ray technologist Rebecca Walter demonstrates a new digital radiographic X-ray unit funded by an $850,000 donation. The new unit is at the Sylvan Lake Advanced Ambulatory Care Service.
Photo contributed
New Sylvan Lake X-ray unit up and running

Radiographic x-ray unit made possible by $850,000 donation from Sylvan Lake couple

(Black Press file photo)
Police seeking suspects in Bowden armed robbery

Man was beaten and robbed of his wallet

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Toronto Maple Leafs alumni George Armstrong, right, and son of Maple Leafs alumni Syl Apps, Syl Apps Jr., shake hands during a pre-game ceremony before the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets NHL game in Toronto on February 21, 2015. George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the '60s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died. He was 90. The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Former Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong dies

Former Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong dies

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos pauses after losing the NFC championship NFL football game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 to advance to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Aaron Rodgers’ ‘uncertain’ future hangs over Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers’ ‘uncertain’ future hangs over Green Bay

Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich calls the plays on the sideline against Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg on August 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Scott Milanovich steps down as Edmonton’s head coach to pursue opportunities in NFL

Scott Milanovich steps down as Edmonton’s head coach to pursue opportunities in NFL

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) goes under Indiana Pacers guards Malcolm Brogdon (7) and Jeremy Lamb (26) to shoot during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Conroy
Brogdon scores 36 points to lead Pacers over Toronto Raptors

Brogdon scores 36 points to lead Pacers over Toronto Raptors

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2020, file photo, baseballs occupy a bucket after use during fielding practice during spring training baseball workouts for pitchers and catchers at Cleveland Indians camp in Avondale, Ariz. Major League Baseball is suspending all political contributions in the wake of last week's invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a mob loyal to President Donald Trump, joining a wave of major corporations rethinking their efforts to lobby Washington. “In light of the unprecedented events last week at the U.S. Capitol, MLB is suspending contributions from its Political Action Committee pending a review of our political contribution policy going forward,” the league said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Cactus League asks MLB to delay spring training due to COVID

Cactus League asks MLB to delay spring training due to COVID

Patrick Cantlay, right, bumps fists with Andrew Putman before teeing off on the first hole during the final round of The American Express golf tournament on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Si Woo Kim holds off Cantlay to win The American Express

Si Woo Kim holds off Cantlay to win The American Express

Danielle Kang winds up to hit her tee shot on the fifth hole during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Jessica Korda rallies to beat Kang in playoff at LPGA opener, Henderson ninth

Jessica Korda rallies to beat Kang in playoff at LPGA opener, Henderson ninth

COVID-19 scare prompts cancellation of Canada-U. S. soccer scrimmage in Florida

COVID-19 scare prompts cancellation of Canada-U. S. soccer scrimmage in Florida

Most Read