Mel Knight

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This article is about the Canadian politician. For the radio presenter, see Mel Knight (radio presenter).
Mel Knight
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Grande Prairie-Smoky
In office
March 12, 2001 – April 23, 2012
Preceded by Walter Paszkowski
Succeeded by Everett McDonald
Alberta Minister of Energy
In office
December 15, 2006 – January 15, 2010
Preceded by Greg Melchin
Succeeded by Ron Liepert
Personal details
Born (1944-07-30) July 30, 1944 (age 69)
Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta
Spouse(s) Diana
Children Three: Darren, Shawna, and Gregory (10 grandchildren)
Profession Mechanic, businessman, farmer

Melvin Reginald Knight[1] (born July 30, 1944) was the Minister of Energy of Alberta and a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Early life[edit]

Mel Knight was born July 30, 1944 in Beaverlodge, Alberta.[2] His father worked for Northern Alberta Railways, and Knight grew up in the Peace Country.[1] He graduated from Hillside High School in Valleyview,[2][3] and worked as a roughneck and repairing equipment before earning his certification as a journeyman mechanic.[1][2][3] He worked for drilling and petroleum companies until 1970, when he founded his own firm, Knight Measurement and Control, which eventually employed 55 people.[1][2][3] He retired from this company in 1996.[1] In 1972 he moved to a farm south of Vallyview, where he raised cattle and grew forage commercially.[2][3] He bought a service station in 1974 that later operated as an antique shop (later shut down when the MD purchased the land for road access) .[2] He is also active in real estate.[2]

Municipal politics[edit]

Knight served as a municipal councillor for the Municipal District of Greenview No. 16.[2][3]

Provincial politics[edit]

Electoral record[edit]

Knight first sought provincial office in the 2001 Alberta election as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the riding of Grande Prairie Smoky, where incumbent Progressive Conservative Walter Paszkowski was not seeking re-election. Knight was easily elected, taking more than two thirds of the vote against three opponents.[4] He was re-elected by smaller margins, although still with absolute majorities, in the 2004 and 2008 elections.[5][6]


As a backbencher in Ralph Klein's Progressive Conservative caucus, Knight moved a number of government bills. The first was 2003's Electric Utilities Act, which made some changes to the government's deregulation of the province's electricity market.[7] Much of the debate around the bill was about whether the government's deregulation had worked well to date.[7][8][9][10] The bill was passed on a party line vote, with Knight's fellow Progressive Conservatives voting unanimously in favour and the opposition Liberals and New Democrats voting unanimously against.[11] Knight also sponsored the Securities Amendment Acts, separate bills with the same name from different years, 2005 and 2006.[12][13] The first of these was designed to harmonize the securities regulation with that of other provinces.[14] It was supported by Liberals Rick Miller and Bill Bonko, who considered it a step in the right direction.[15] New Democrats gave it a mixed reception, with Ray Martin agreeing that it did make some improvements,[15] but with his colleague David Eggen trying to kill it on third reading, saying that what was needed was a supra-provincial securities regulator.[16] The 2006 edition of the Securities Amendment Act implemented further harmonization, and passed with little debate.[17] The Securities Transfer Act of the same year consolidated and harmonized the province's rules for transferring securities, and passed with all-party support.[18]

In the 2006 Progressive Conservative leadership race, Knight endorsed eventual winner Ed Stelmach.[19]

Minister of Energy[edit]

When Ed Stelmach became Premier in December 2006, he named Knight to his cabinet as Energy Minister.[20] In this capacity, Knight oversaw some of the Stelmach government's most contentious policy issues, beginning with the government response to the Alberta Royalty Review, which recommended dramatically higher royalty rates from companies extracting oil in Alberta.[1] The government rejected many of the review's recommendations, but did increase royalty rates by approximately 20% (25% less than recommended by the panel).[21] These increases were criticized as too low by the opposition Liberals and New Democrats and as too high by some industry groups and Paul Hinman, the Wildrose Alliance Party's leader and sole MLA.[21][22][23]

Knight also dealt with the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board affair, which resulted from the June 2007 revelation that the EUB, a government-mandated and appointed body responsible for regulating energy resource development, pipelines, transmission lines, and investor-owned electric, water, and natural gas utilities, as well as certain municipality-owned utilities, admitted that it had hired private investigators to spy on landowners who opposed the construction of a major power line in the Rimbey area.[24] Even as Stelmach defended the use of investigators, Knight called on the EUB to explain itself.[25] He ordered a judicial investigation into the issue, to run parallel to an investigation being conducted by provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work.[24][26] After Work's investigation found that the EUB had violated provincial law and infringed on the landowner's privacy, the opposition parties called for Knight's resignation.[27] However, when Stelmach unveiled his new cabinet after his victory in the 2008 election, Knight remained as Energy Minister.[28]

The major legislative initiative of Knight's time as Energy Minister has been the Alberta Utilities Commission Act, which became better know by its order paper designation, Bill 46.[29] The bill split the EUB into two parts, the Alberta Utilities Commission (responsible for regulating utilities) and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (responsible for regulating oil and gas).[30] The legislation was controversial, as elements of the EUB's governing legislation that provided for public notice and consultation in the event of energy construction projects were missing from the new entities.[31] Opposition parties and activists protested the bill, but it passed through the legislature with the support of all Progressive Conservatives present.[32]

Knight has also presided over the appointment of an expert panel charged with evaluating the possibility of introducing nuclear energy into Alberta.[33] He was exposed to criticism when, in response to a question from Liberal leader Kevin Taft about why the panel did not include representation from environmental groups, he asserted that the Sierra Club supported the use of nuclear energy in Europe; in fact, the Sierra Club opposes the use of nuclear energy and does not operate in Europe.[34] Knight apologized for his error.[35]

In the government's 2008 throne speech, it asserted its intention to provide funding to expand Alberta's biofuels sector.[36] Knight has asserted that this expansion will not result in increased food prices for Albertans.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Knight is married to Diana, and the pair has three children - Darren, Shawna and Gregory - and ten grandchildren.[3] He is a volunteer hockey coach, and is active with his local gun club and petroleum association.[2]

Election results[edit]

2008 Alberta general election results (Grande Prairie Smoky) Turnout 30.5%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Mel Knight 4,769 59.4%
     Liberal John Croken 1,089 13.6%
     Wildrose Alliance Todd Loewen 1,049 13.1%
     NDP Neil Peacock 832 10.4%
Greens Rebecca Villebrun 285 3.6%
2004 Alberta general election results (Grande Prairie Smoky) Turnout 35.3%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Mel Knight 4,369 56.4%
     Liberal Neil Peacock 1,965 25.4%
     NDP Georgina Szoke 724 9.4%
     Alberta Alliance Hank Rahn 685 8.8%
2001 Alberta general election results (Grande Prairie Smoky) Turnout 43.9%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Mel Knight 6,241 67.5%
     Liberal Barry Robinson 1,777 19.2%
     NDP Leon Pendleton 842 9.1%
     Independent Dennis Young 380 4.1%


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mel Knight: Alberta's New Energy Minister Is Thoroughly Oil-Soaked". DOB Magazine. December 18, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Knight's biography on his personal website". Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Knight's Legislative Assembly of Alberta biography". Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  4. ^ "2001 Alberta provincial election results, Grande Prairie Smoky" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  5. ^ "2004 Alberta provincial election results, Grande Prairie Smoky" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Alberta 2008 provincial election results, Grande Prairie Smoky". Retrieved 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "February 26, 2003" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  8. ^ "February 26, 2003" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  9. ^ "March 4, 2003" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  10. ^ "March 5, 2003" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  11. ^ "March 26, 2003" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  12. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 26th Legislature - 1st Session (2005)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 26th Legislature - 2nd Session (2006)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  14. ^ "March 23, 2005" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  15. ^ a b "April 7, 2005" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  16. ^ "April 20, 2005" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  17. ^ "April 11, 2006" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  18. ^ "May 1, 2006" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (Legislative Assembly of Alberta). 
  19. ^ "List of MLA endorsements during 2006 Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race". Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  20. ^ "Stelmach names smaller cabinet". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 15, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  21. ^ a b "Alberta increases royalties charged to energy companies". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  22. ^ Fekete, Jason (January 22, 2008). "Stelmach defends easing royalty rules; Opposition calls retooling a sign of flawed plan". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  23. ^ Markusoff, Jason; Jason Fekete, Archie McLean (February 5, 2008). "Stelmach opponents promise to reopen royalty debate". National Post. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  24. ^ a b Fong, Patti (August 25, 2007). "Utilities regulator admits hiring spies". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  25. ^ "Alberta energy board's use of private eyes under investigation". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  26. ^ "Landowners want police to look into spying accusations". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. July 10, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  27. ^ "Energy and Utilities Board, minister pressured to resign". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 18, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  28. ^ Harding, Jon (March 13, 2008). "Knight keeps post as energy minister". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  29. ^ Kovats, Anthony (January 8, 2008). "MLA Supports Bill 46". Alberta Farmer. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  30. ^ Scotton, Geoffrey (December 18, 2007). "'It's been quite a year':Mel Knight". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  31. ^ Gorman, Lyn (October 31, 2007). "Bill 46 another step back for democracy in Alberta". Vue Weekly. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  32. ^ "Marathon legislative session breaks record". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 5, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  33. ^ "Expert panel to study use of nuclear in Alberta". World Nuclear News. April 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  34. ^ Loome, Jeremy. "Minister expected to apologize to Sierra Club". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Minister admits he got nuke ad facts wrong". Red Deer Advocate. April 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  36. ^ Waugh, Neil (April 16, 2008). "Fantasyland under dome". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  37. ^ D'Aliesio, Renata; Jason Fekete (April 16, 2008). "Alberta biofuel push won't drive up food prices: minister". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
Alberta Provincial Government of Ed Stelmach
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Greg Melchin Minister of Energy
Ron Liepert