David Forbes (politician)

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David Forbes
MLA for Saskatoon Centre
In office
2003 – present
Preceded by Founding Member
MLA for Saskatoon Idylwyld
In office
2001–2003
Preceded by Janice MacKinnon
Succeeded by riding dissolved
Personal details
Born 1956 (age 57–58)
Political party New Democratic Party

David Forbes (born 1956) is a Canadian provincial politician.[1] He is the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for the constituency of Saskatoon Centre.[2] Forbes serves as the Opposition critic for Labour, Education, Housing, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board, and Diversity, Equality and Human Rights.[3]

Family life and education[edit]

Before entering politics, Forbes taught for 18 years in both Saskatoon and rural Saskatchewan. He received his Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina (with Distinction, 1982) and a Masters Degree in Education Administration from the University of Saskatchewan (1996). Forbes is currently on leave from the Saskatoon Public School Division where he held many positions with the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) and the Saskatoon Teachers' Association.

Forbes has been a volunteer for his local community association, the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Fest, and as a coach of youth football and softball. He is a past president of Cross Country Saskatchewan and the Nordic Ski Club of Saskatoon.

Forbes was raised in a farming family at Mortlach, Saskatchewan. Forbes is married with three grown children.

Political life[edit]

2001 by-election[edit]

Forbes was first elected in a by-election for Saskatoon Idylwyld in November 2001 with 57.09% of the vote.[4] During his time as a back-bencher, Forbes was Legislative Secretary for School PLUS and sat on the Standing Committees for the Crown Corporations and Agriculture.

In the fall of 2002, Forbes served as vice-chair of the Premier's Voluntary Sector, which produced Saskatchewan's Voluntary Sector: Reflecting Our Strength.

2003-2006: Minister of Environment[edit]

Before the 2003 election the Saskatoon Idylwyld constituency was dissolved and the Saskatoon Centre constituency was created. David Forbes ran in the new constituency in the Saskatchewan general election, 2003 winning the seat with 61.85% of the vote[4]

Forbes was appointed to Executive Council as Minister of Environment, with responsibilities for the Office of Energy Conservation and the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. During his tenure, he released Caring for Natural Environments: A Biodiversity Action Plan for Saskatchewan's Future 2004-2009, the first major environmental blueprint in Western Canada. Other initiatives included Saskatchewan's Green Strategy,[5] Conserving our Water, A Water Conservation Plan for Saskatchewan[6] and The Great Sand Hills Land Use Strategy. Under Forbes' direction, a greater proportion of the Great Sand Hills were protected from 94.5 to 362.6 square kilometres creating a balance between ecological protection and gas and natural resource development.[7]

In 2003, Forbes was presented the Special Merit Award for service and support to Saskatoon's lesbian and gay community at the Gay and Lesbian Awards (GALA).

2006-2007: Minister of Labour[edit]

On February 3, 2006, Forbes was appointed Minister of Labour, with responsibilities for SaskWater. During his time as Labour Minister, advancements were seen in the fight against bullying in the workplace. "Effective on October 1, 2007, the statutory definition of harassment in Saskatchewan was expanded to include personal harassment in the workplace, such as the abuse of power and bullying, under amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.[8] In addition to broadening the definition of harassment, a special adjudicator position was created to resolve harassment appeals independently."[9]

As Minister of Labour, Forbes was responsible for implementing Saskatchewan's newest holiday - Family Day[10] and the Improving Work Opportunities Report[11] which included raising the provincial minimum wage to LICO standards. Many workplace safety improvements such as the anti-harassment unit and introducing labour standards in the North also took place during his time as Minister of Labour.

2007-2011: Opposition Critic[edit]

In November 2007, Forbes was again elected as the MLA for the Saskatoon Centre constituency with 57.36% of the vote.[4] The Saskatchewan Party won control of the Saskatchewan government and the Saskatchewan NDP became the official opposition. David Forbes sat as the Opposition critic for Social Services, Disabilities, Housing and the Community Based Organization Sector.[3]

In November 2010, Forbes introduced a Private Member's Bill to protect service animals, such as guide dogs and police dogs. One week after introducing this bill it became law as a part of The Animal Protection Act.[12]

In April 2011, Forbes introduced a second Private Member's Bill, "The Saskatchewan Respectful Language Act," which would see phrases and words such as 'mental retardation,' 'retarded' or 'retard' found in government legislation, regulations and materials replaces with the use of 'intellectual disability.'[13] The law was based on President Barack Obama's 'Rosa's Law.' The legislation was re-introduced by government and passed into law on May 18, 2011.[14] Forbes received the Francis Schaan Award from People First Saskatchewan for his "outstanding commitment to promote respectful language in government."

As critic for housing, Forbes called on the government "to come forward with a comprehensive affordable housing strategy and poverty reduction strategy, and to address the underlying causes of the crisis."[15] As part of addressing the shortage of housing in the province and raising rents, Forbes championed a push for the implementation of rent controls.

2011-present: Opposition Critic and Caucus Chair[edit]

In November 2011, Forbes was re-elected as the MLA for Saskatoon Centre with 54% of the vote.[4] His colleagues elected Forbes to be Caucus Chair. From 2011 to March 2013 Forbes sat as Opposition critic for Labour, Municipal Affairs, Housing, Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board, Enterprise Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Water Corporation.

In December 2011, Forbes introduced Jimmy's Law, a bill to help protect workers' physical safety during late-night shifts.[16] The Law's namesake is Jimmy Ray Wiebe who was shot twice in the early morning hours of June 20, 2011 during his late night shift at a gas station in Yorkton. Jimmy's Law was proposed as an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The bill required employers to either schedule a minimum of two employees for late night shifts or ensure that an individual worker is safe behind a locked door or barrier.[16]

In November 2012, David's hard work led to an increase in safety regulations for late-night retail workers.[17] The government added new regulations that include a check-in system and personal emergency transmitters for all employees working alone in late-night retail establishments.[17] The changes fell short of Jimmy's Law to make employers schedule at least two employees per shift at night.

In March 2013, with the election of Cam Broten as leader of the Saskatchewan NDP,[18] David was appointed as Opposition critic for Labour, Education, Housing, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board, and Diversity, Equality and Human Rights.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.saskarchives.com/sites/default/files/pdf/members_of_the_legislative_assembly.pdf
  2. ^ "Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan". 
  3. ^ a b David Forbes MLA
  4. ^ a b c d Elections Saskatchewan
  5. ^ [1], Sask Launches Consultations on Building a Green Strategy.
  6. ^ [2], Conserving Our Water.
  7. ^ [3], Regulations in Place to Conserve the Great Sand Hills.
  8. ^ [4], Saskatchewan's workplace bullying ban now in place.
  9. ^ , Oliver, Bobbie, Ed. Labour History in the New century, p. 205.
  10. ^ [5], Saskatchewan Celebrates First-Ever Family Day, Feb. 16, 2007.
  11. ^ [6], Final Report and Recommendations of the Commission on Improving Work Opportunities for Saskatchewan Residents, Feb. 16, 2006.
  12. ^ [7], Animal Protection Act Passes in Record-breaking time.
  13. ^ [8], MLA Seeks Language Update.
  14. ^ [9], NDP 'Respectful Language' Initiative Passes into Law, May 18, 2011.
  15. ^ [10], NDP calling on Wall Government to Immediately Develop a Housing and Poverty Reduction Strategy, Nov. 22, 2010
  16. ^ a b [11], NDP introduces Jimmy's Law, Dec. 15, 2011.
  17. ^ a b [12], Sask gov't to introduce new night shift rules, Nov. 3, 2012.
  18. ^ [13], Cam Broten elected as new leader of Saskatchewan NDP, March 9, 2013.
  19. ^ [14], NDP Leader Cam Broten Shuffle NDP Caucus, March 11, 2013.