Ted Morton

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Ted Morton
Ted Morton 2014.jpg
Ted Morton in 2014
Minister of Energy in the Alberta government
In office
October 12, 2011 – 2012
Preceded by Ron Liepert
MLA for Foothills-Rocky View
In office
Preceded by New District
Minister of Finance and Enterprise in the Alberta government
In office
January 15, 2010 – January 27, 2011
Preceded by Iris Evans
Succeeded by Lloyd Snelgrove
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development in the Alberta government
In office
December 15, 2006 – January 15, 2010
Preceded by David Coutts
Succeeded by Mel Knight
Personal details
Born (1949-03-28) March 28, 1949 (age 65)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Patricia
Residence Calgary, Alberta
Alma mater Colorado College
University of Toronto
Website http://www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=our-people

Frederick Lee Morton (born March 28, 1949), known commonly as Ted Morton, is a Canadian politician and former cabinet minister in the Alberta government. As a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, he represented the constituency of Foothills-Rocky View as a Progressive Conservative from 2004 to 2012 (in the 26th and 27th Alberta Legislative Assemblies). He did not win reelection in the 2012 Alberta general election. Morton was a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association in its 2006 and 2011 leadership elections. Dr. Morton is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and Senior Fellow, Energy and Environment, at the Manning Foundation. He also serves on the Board of the Alberta Land Institute and the Board of Governors of the Council of Canadian Academies.

Personal life[edit]

Morton was born in Los Angeles in 1949.[1] In 1952, Morton moved with his parents to Casper, Wyoming, where his father, Warren A. Morton (1924–2002), worked in the oil and natural gas exploration business and was the Republican Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1979–1980[2] and his party's gubernatorial nominee in 1982. Morton's mother, Katharine Allen Morton (born 1926), was the daughter of former U.S. Representative Robert G. Allen, a Democrat from western Pennsylvania.

Morton moved to Canada in 1981 and became a Canadian citizen in 1991. Morton and his wife Patricia have three children.[3]

Political views[edit]

Ted Morton is a member of the Calgary School, which includes a group of conservatively inclined professors at the University of Calgary, such as Barry Cooper, Tom Flanagan, Rainer Knopff and history professor David Bercuson.[4][5][6][7] Morton is "pro-life, anti-gay-marriage, anti-deficit at all costs and open to more private health care." [4] In an interview in 2011, Ted Morton described his political concerns, “Almost all the issues that will affect us in the coming decade – equalization, health-care transfers, labour-force mobility, new export pipelines – will depend on the relationship with Ottawa,... I've known and worked with Prime Minister Harper for over 20 years. We understand each other, and we trust each other.”[4]

In 2001 Ted Morton, (at the time described as Alberta Senator-elect) Stephen Harper, then President of the National Citizens’ Coalition, Tom Flanagan, the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Ken Boessenkool, Premier Christy Clark’s Chief of Staff Premier sent a letter to Alberta's former Premier Ralph Klein, in which they called for Alberta to exercise its Constitutional provincial powers including: "withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan, ending the provincial contract with the RCMP, a provincial take-over of health care decision-making, and collecting revenue for the province from income tax" in order to "limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach on legitimate provincial jurisdiction."[8]

Academic career[edit]

Morton obtained his B.A. from Colorado College and earned his Masters and PhD in political economy from the University of Toronto.[3] During his time in college, Morton was involved in protests against the Vietnam War.[citation needed] In 1981, Morton joined the faculty of the University of Calgary as a political science professor.[3]

Morton is part of a group of academics called the Calgary School, whose influence is credited with shaping modern conservatism in Canada.[citation needed]

He has published several books, often focusing on criticisms of the role of the judiciary and Charter of Rights jurisprudence, including The Charter Revolution and the Court Party (with Rainer Knopff, 2000), Morgentaler v. Borowski: Abortion, the Charter and the Courts (1992, winner of the 1993 Writer Guild of Alberta's Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction[9]), and Law, politics, and the judicial process in Canada (1984). Morton has published more than fifty scholarly articles and his columns have appeared in the National Post, the Calgary Herald, the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Sun.

Political career[edit]

Morton was elected as a Reform Party Senator-in-Waiting in the 1998 Alberta Senate nominee election.[3]

In 2001, Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day appointed him Parliamentary Director of Policy and Research for the party. That same year, he was one of a group of six Albertans (including Stephen Harper—later to become prime minister in 2006) who authored the "Alberta Agenda," also known as the Firewall Letter, a manifesto that called on the government of Alberta to use all of its constitutional powers to reduce the influence of the Federal government in the province, including the creation of a provincial police force to replace the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan in favour of a provincial pension plan.

MLA for Foothills-Rocky View[edit]

In the 2004 Alberta general election, Morton won the newly created seat of Foothills-Rocky View and now sits as an MLA for the Progressive Conservatives. In that role, he has advocated for tax cuts, for increased saving of energy revenues, for a lobbyist registry, for fixed election dates, against the 2005 Prosperity Bonus, and against same-sex marriage. He introduced Bill 208 (2006), which would have legislated protections for individuals who oppose gay marriage, allowed provincial marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriages, and added an opt-out clause for students and teachers where same-sex marriage is included in the curriculum.[10][11] This Bill was criticized by some public figures as legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians, and failed to come to a vote due to procedural tactics employed by opposition members.[12][13]

PC leadership candidate, 2006[edit]

As a candidate in the 2006 PC leadership election to replace Ralph Klein, Morton placed second to front runner Jim Dinning on the first ballot, and third behind Dinning and winner Ed Stelmach on the second ballot. His platform included implementing the components of the Firewall Letter, opposing judicial activism, implementing the provision of Bill 208, introducing fixed election dates, lowering taxes and capping public spending growth, and introducing private health insurance and clinics.[14][15]

Minister of Sustainable Resource Development[edit]

On December 15, 2006, Morton was named Minister of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD). In this position, Morton developed a land use framework in 2008[16][17] and the legislation that implemented this policy, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, which passed in the 2009 Spring session of the Alberta Legislature.[18]

Morton also introduced an online licensing system and community website for fishing and hunting,[19][20] and expanded youth hunting opportunities by allowing Sunday hunting and introducing an official Provincial Hunting Day[21][22] and Waterfowler Heritage Days.[23] He also oversaw the opening of the Bow Habitat Station,[24][25] an aquatic ecosystem interpretive centre that promotes the education of stewardship to youth. With the government's 2007 cancellation of the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement, SRD adopted a replacement policy which Morton contended complied with Métis hunting rights as set out in the Supreme Court of Canada's Powley decision,[26] but which Métis organizations contend is a violation of their constitutional harvesting rights.[27]

Minister of Finance[edit]

On January 15, 2010, Morton was sworn in as minister of finance and enterprise by Premier Ed Stelmach in a major cabinet shuffle.[28] In this position, Morton discussed plans for dealing with Alberta's large deficit, criticized the Canada Health Transfer,[29] and released a joint statement with Quebec Minister of Finances and Revenue Raymond Bachand opposing the creation of a federal securities regulator.[30]

PC leadership candidate, 2011[edit]

On January 27, 2011 he resigned his cabinet post as minister of finance to seek the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.[31] His renewed leadership bid coupled with his 2006 support for bringing private health care into Alberta's public health care system has raised concerns by Friends of Medicare, and others about the negative consequences of American-style health care being brought to Alberta.[32][33] He finished fourth out of six candidates on the ballot with 11.7% of the vote and was eliminated from the second round ballot.[34]

Energy Minister[edit]

On October 12, 2011, he was sworn in as Energy Minister and served in that role until the provincial election that was called for April 23, 2012.

After politics[edit]

Dr. Morton is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and Senior Fellow, Energy and Environment, at the Manning Foundation.[35] He also serves on the Board of the Alberta Land Institute and the Board of Governors of the Council of Canadian Academies.


Ted Morton is often described as a member of the Calgary School, which includes a group of conservatively inclined professors at the University of Calgary, such as Barry Cooper, Tom Flanagan, Rainer Knopff and history professor David Bercuson [5][6][7] who are strongly committed to strategic and direct influence on public affairs with a long term vision. [notes 1]

By 1998, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a public policy research institution based in Washington, DC had already observed the ascendancy of the role of Calgary-based academics on Canadian public policy, specifically the Calgary School of political science (Rovinsky 1998:10).[5]

In The Court Party, Knopff and Morton took on judicial activism. Cooper and Bercuson’s Deconfederation undermined the Meech Lake agenda of endless concessions to Quebec. In First Nations? Second Thoughts, I stood up against the juggernaut of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. All these books were widely discussed in the media and have had some impact on the course of public affairs.

— Tom Flanagan, Advice to progressives from the Calgary School, Literary Review of Canada

Election results[edit]

2012 Alberta general election Turnout % Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal %
     Wildrose Bruce McAllister 10,374 %
     Progressive Conservative Ted Morton 6,237 %
     Liberal Siân Ramsden 584 % % *
     NDP Nathan Salmon 542 % % *
Total ' 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined '
Eligible Electors
     Wildrose pickup new district Swing %


2008 Alberta general election results ( Foothills-Rocky View ) Turnout 48.0%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Ted Morton 6,916 57.4%
     Liberal Herb Coburn 2,200 18.3%
     Wildrose Alliance Joseph McMaster 1,797 14.9%
Greens Larry Ashmore 937 7.8%
     NDP Ricardo de Menezes 196 1.6%
2004 Alberta general election results ( Foothills-Rocky View ) Turnout 50.5%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Ted Morton 6,782 60.3%
     Liberal Herb Coburn 1,956 17.4%
     Alberta Alliance Jason Herasemluk 1,088 9.7%
Greens Shelley Willson 1,188 10.6%
     NDP Roland Schmidt 232 2.1%


  1. ^ "There are tensions between the socially conservative and economically conservative factions within the school. Bercuson publicly criticized Morton's social policies, saying "[they] were hard to stomach for a libertarian." (McLean, Archie. "Morton would use Alberta as his 'guinea pig': Social, religious views will drive policy, expert says", Edmonton Journal, 2 December 2006.)Such division brings into question whether its members reflect a coherent "school" of thought (Wikipedia article on Calgary School)."

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ State of Wyoming Legislature. Legisweb.state.wy.us. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Morton's Legislative Assembly of Alberta biography". 
  4. ^ a b c Wingrove, Josh (5 August 2011). "Ted Morton: Alberta's charisma-challenged firebrand takes his shot". Edmonton, Alberta: The Globe and Mail. 
  5. ^ a b c David J. Rovinsky (February 16, 1998). The Ascendancy of Western Canada in Canadian Policymaking (PDF) (Report). Policy Papers on the Americas. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Tom Flanagan (2010). "Advice to progressives from the Calgary School: Response to Sylvia Bashevkin". Toronto, CA: Literary Review of Canada. ISSN 1188-7494. 
  7. ^ a b Frédéric Boily, ed., Stephen Harper: De l’Ecole de Calgary au Parti conservateur: les nouveaux visages du conservatisme canadien (Québéc: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2007).
  8. ^ Elizabeth May. "British Columbia "firewall" anyone?". 
  9. ^ Alberta Literary Competitions Finalists. Writersguild.ab.ca (February 12, 2011). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  10. ^ https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_26/session_2/20060222_bill-208.pdf
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ "Time runs out in Alta. for anti-gay marriage bill". CTV News. May 10, 2006. 
  13. ^ "Alberta same-sex bill blocked by opposition". CBC News. August 28, 2006. 
  14. ^ Archived November 28, 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  15. ^ "Ted Morton talks about private clinics". 
  16. ^ http://www.landuse.alberta.ca/AboutLanduseFramework/LanduseFrameworkProgress/documents/LanduseFramework-FINAL-Dec3-2008.pdf
  17. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (December 3, 2008). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  18. ^ [3][dead link]
  19. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (May 12, 2008). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  20. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (June 2, 2008). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  21. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (September 13, 2007). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  22. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (September 18, 2009). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  23. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (August 27, 2009). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  24. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (October 2, 2009). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  25. ^ [4][dead link]
  26. ^ http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2003/2003scc43/2003scc43.html
  27. ^ "Alberta Metis table petition on Harvesting in Legislature". Albertametis.ca. November 29, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  28. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (January 13, 2010). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  29. ^ "On the record: Ted Morton – The Globe and Mail". Globe and Mail (Toronto). October 15, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Quebec, Alberta again reject national regulator". CBC News. June 15, 2010. 
  31. ^ [5][dead link]
  32. ^ "Tory Shake Up Raises Health Care Fears". 
  33. ^ "Private Health Insurance Ensures You Pay Lots". 
  34. ^ [6][dead link]
  35. ^ http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/hon-ted-morton-appointed-senior-150000325.html
  36. ^ "Canada and Alberta Politics News from". the Calgary Herald. August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.