Unequal representation for Alberta: what else is new?

There’s no need to read too much into the fact that rural Alberta MPs don’t get much prominence when the federal Conservative Party hands out shadow cabinet posts (or cabinet, if and when it forms government). At least it doesn’t necessarily reflect on their talents or competence. What it does reflect on is that Alberta can be and is taken for granted. That’s probably why Dave Chatters never got anywhere near a cabinet post and why Arnold Viersen also is overlooked and will likely continue to be. If any riding can be counted on to elect a Conservative to Ottawa, it’s northwestern Alberta.

The Conservative shadow cabinet, announced recently by new party leader Erin O’Toole, is predictably heavy on Quebec and Ontario MPs, with a sprinkling of others to demonstrate ‘regional balance.’ And it’s big! Forty-two members, plus the ‘House of Commons leadership team’ of 10, makes for 42 per cent of the total Conservative team in parliament . But, to be fair, it does have half a dozen Alberta MPs. Shannon Stubbs of Lakeland is the only truly rural MP on it. She’s the CPC critic for public safety and emergency preparedness.

But getting back to Alberta representation: The six members on the elite team represent 11 per cent of the total, whereas Alberta’s 33 Tory MPs are 27 per cent of the 121 in parliament. So not a fair deal, but better than nothing, which is what we get in the cabinet of the government in power. It has not a single Alberta MP to choose from.

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