Kelvin Goertzen (born June 12, 1969) is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He is a member of the Manitoba legislature. He was first elected in the 2003 provincial election, and was re-elected in the 2007 and 2011 elections.
Early life and education
Kelvin Goertzen was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba but was raised in Steinbach, Manitoba. He attended public school in Steinbach and graduated high school from the Steinbach Regional Secondary School in June 1987. Goertzen's father, Henry, died when Goertzen was only 11 years old and his mother, Anne, raised him and his sister Connie alone for a number of years before marrying Peter Wiens, originally of Grunthal, Manitoba. Wiens, like Goertzen's father, was a long distance truck driver with Penner International Trucking of Steinbach.
Despite coming from a relatively poor financial background, Goertzen obtained a Bachelor of Arts,majoring in Economics, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Law each from the University of Manitoba. While attending Robson Hall law school at the University of Manitoba, Goertzen was awarded more than a dozen academic prizes and was the schools top student during his second year of law studies.
Goertzen served for two years as the Vice-President of the Steinbach Arts Council and served as Vice-President of the Southeast Helping Hands Food Bank in Steinbach for seven years. He has been involved as a participant and fundraiser in a number of community related causes including the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum and the Steinbach Association for Community Living. He is a member of the South East Rotary Club.
In June 2007, Goertzen was awarded the "HOPE" medal by the Lions Club Foundation of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario for his community service work helping those less fortunate in Manitoba.
Goertzen became involved in political activities while attending high school, serving as an early organizer for the Reform Party of Canada. In 1995, Goertzen was hired as an intern at the Manitoba Legislature serving with the Progressive Conservative Caucus. Following the internship, he served in the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship and subsequently worked as an Executive Assistant to MLAs Jim Penner and Albert Driedger. Following the 2000 federal election, Goertzen also worked as an advisor to Provencher Member of Parliament Vic Toews and was a key local organizer for Toews in the 2000, 2004 and 2005 federal elections. Like Toews, Goertzen was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. In 2003, he participated in a public protest against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada.
Prior to seeking elected office himself, Goertzen also served as the President of the Steinbach Progressive Conservative Association, as a Regional Director on the Board of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party and as a member of the Management Committee of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party.
One week prior to the calling of the 2003 provincial election, Steinbach MLA Jim Penner announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and would not be seeking re-election. After the election was called a short nomination process occurred. Some critics suggested Goertzen's service as local association President gave him an advantage in the short nomination time frame. The sudden events had no impact on the election result, however. Steinbach is an extremely safe seat for the Progressive Conservatives, and Goertzen was elected with over 74% of its popular vote, despite the poor showing of PC candidates elsewhere in the province. Goertzen became the youngest MLA ever elected in the Steinbach Constituency (age 33) as well as the first Manitoba Legislative Intern to be elected to the Manitoba Legislature.
After his election to the Manitoba Legislature, Goertzen was appointed his Party's Chief Justice Critic and in 2005 was also appointed Deputy House Leader. Goertzen quickly became one of the most vocal and effective representatives in the Legislature and is seen as a likely appointment for Cabinet when the Manitoba Progressive Conservative's again win government.
As Justice Critic, Goertzen has called for increased police resources, stronger laws against organized crime, electronic monitoring of sex offenders and a drug treatment court to assist individuals addicted to drugs and alcohol. In 2005-2006, Goertzen held a series of informational meetings across Manitoba about Crystal Meth and lobbied for new legislation to allow parents of drug addicted teenagers to place their children in drug treatment. The NDP government accepted that suggestion and legislation was passed June 13, 2006.
Goertzen was a strong supporter of Manitoba P.C. Leader Stuart Murray and refused to participate in internal Caucus dissent that ultimately led to the end of Murray's leadership in November 2005.
Goertzen was among the first MLAs to endorse the provincial PC leadership campaign of Hugh McFadyen who eventually won the leadership. McFadyen reappointed Goertzen as Justice Critic after his leadership election and also appointed him the Progressive Conservative House Leader. Goertzen was again nominated the provincial PC candidate for Steinbach on September 8, 2006. On May 22, 2007 Goertzen was re-elected in the Steinbach Constituency with 83% of the vote, the largest Progressive Conservative victory in the history of the riding.
In February 2010, Goertzen was named Deputy Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. On October 4, 2011, Goertzen was re-elected in the Steinbach constituency by another larger majority, although the PC's once again lost the election to the NDP. With the resignation of McFayden as party leader after the election, there has been some speculation in the local media that Goertzen may be a candidate for the position.
Goertzen married his wife Kimberley (Hiebert) in 1997. They live in Steinbach with their son, Malachi, who was born September 30, 2006, and are members of Southland Community Church, which has one of Western Canada's largest congregations.
Goertzen has published several articles related to law and politics including in the Asper Review of International Business and Trade Law (Volume 3- 2003) and Underneath the Golden Boy (Volume 3-2004). In November 2006, he published a book on the life of Jim Penner, his predecessor in the Legislature, entitled A Life Well Lived: The Story of Jim Penner and Penner Foods (National Library of Canada ISBN 0-9781405-0-8).
- "MLA Biographies - Living". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.