Raymond Speaker

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Ray Speaker
Member of Parliament
for Lethbridge
In office
Preceded by Blaine Thacker
Succeeded by Rick Casson
Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta
In office
Preceded by Robert Curtis Clark
Succeeded by Grant Notley
MLA for Little Bow
In office
Preceded by Peter Dawson
Succeeded by Barry McFarland
Personal details
Born (1935-12-13) December 13, 1935 (age 78)
Enchant, Alberta
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Ingrid Marie Schwab
(m. 1966)
Children two
Alma mater University of Alberta
Profession farmer, teacher

Raymond Albert "Ray" Speaker, PC OC (born December 13, 1935) is a farmer and Canadian politician.

Speaker was born and raised in Enchant, Alberta where he farms to this day. He also worked as a teacher until 1962.

Provincial politics[edit]

He entered politics in the 1963 provincial election when he was elected as an Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the Social Credit Party of Alberta from the mostly rural riding of Little Bow. He served as minister without portfolio in 1967, Minister of Health and Social Development and Minister of Personnel in 1968, and Chairman of the Human Resources Development Authority in 1969.

He remained a Social Credit MLA for many years after the party lost power in the 1971 election, usually winning handily even as the party's support ebbed away in the rest of the province. He served in the early 1980s as Leader of the Opposition and parliamentary leader of the Social Credit Party. However, in 1982, Speaker announced that Social Credit would be sitting out the next provincial election due to dwindling support for the party. A few months earlier, the party had badly lost a by-election which cost it official party status. Speaker's announcement was disavowed by party officials. Soon after the writs were dropped for the election, Speaker and Walt Buck resigned from the party and were reelected as independents.

Denied funding guaranteed to political parties, Speaker and Buck formed the Representative Party of Alberta, which served as an alternative right wing party as well as a home for former Socreds after the party collapsed. Speaker was elected its leader. However, in 1989, Speaker crossed the floor to the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. He was reelected with 70 percent of the vote in 1989, his highest total. Following that election, he was named to the cabinet as Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs.

National politics[edit]

Speaker ran for and won a seat in the Canadian House of Commons in the 1993 election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Reform Party of Canada in the Federal Riding of Lethbridge. He served as finance critic and then House Leader of the Reform caucus. He retired from politics at the 1997 election.

In 1999, Speaker was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, an agency which provides an external review of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and was named to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

In 2001, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[1]

In 2003, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lethbridge, Honorary Doctorate of Laws.

After the Conservative Party won a plurality of seats in the 2006 federal election, Speaker was appointed to the Prime Minister's transition team. He also was the chair of the Conservative Alliance merger.

He was appointed as a mentor for the Trudeau Foundation of Canada in January 2008.


External links[edit]

Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Preceded by
Peter Dawson
MLA Little Bow
Succeeded by
Barry McFarland
Preceded by
Robert Curtis Clark
Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta
Succeeded by
Grant Notley
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Blaine Thacker
Member of Parliament Lethbridge
Succeeded by
Rick Casson