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Brian Jean

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Brian Jean
Jean in 2015
Minister of Energy and Minerals
Assumed office
June 9, 2023
PremierDanielle Smith
Preceded byPeter Guthrie
Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development
In office
October 21, 2022 – June 9, 2023
PremierDanielle Smith
Preceded byTanya Fir (Jobs, Economy and Innovation)
Succeeded byMatt Jones
Leader of the Opposition of Alberta
In office
May 5, 2015 – July 24, 2017
Preceded byHeather Forsyth
Succeeded byNathan Cooper
Leader of the Wildrose Party
In office
March 28, 2015 – July 24, 2017
Preceded byHeather Forsyth (interim)
Succeeded byNathan Cooper (as interim leader of the UCP)
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
In office
February 7, 2006 – March 26, 2011
MinisterLawrence Cannon
John Baird
Chuck Strahl
Denis Lebel
Preceded byCharles Hubbard
Succeeded byPierre Poilievre
Parliamentary constituencies
Member of the
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche
(Fort McMurray-Conklin; 2015–2018)
Assumed office
March 15, 2022
Preceded byLaila Goodridge
In office
May 5, 2015 – March 5, 2018
Preceded byDon Scott
Succeeded byLaila Goodridge
Member of Parliament
for Fort McMurray—Athabasca
(Athabasca; 2004–2006)
In office
June 28, 2004 – January 17, 2014
Preceded byDavid Chatters
Succeeded byDavid Yurdiga
Personal details
Brian Michael Jean

(1963-02-03) February 3, 1963 (age 61)
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Political partyUnited Conservative Party
Other political
Conservative (federal)
Wildrose (provincial; until 2017)
Kimberley Michelutti
(m. 2016)
Residence(s)Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Alma materWarner Pacific College
Bond University
University of Calgary
  • Politician
  • lawyer

Brian Michael Jean KC ECA MLA (born February 3, 1963) is a Canadian politician who has previously served as Alberta's and Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development. On June 9, 2023 Jean was appointed as Alberta's Minister of Energy and Minerals, with Larry Kaumeyer as his Deputy-Minister, the former CEO of Ducks Unlimited. He has served as member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche since March 16, 2022. He was leader of the Opposition and the last leader of the Wildrose Party from 2015 to 2017 before its merger into the United Conservative Party (UCP). Jean was a member of Parliament (MP) with the Conservative Party from 2004 to 2014 before entering provincial politics.

Jean worked as a lawyer in Fort McMurray for 11 years before he was elected to Parliament, where he represented Athabasca from 2004 to 2006 and Fort McMurray—Athabasca from 2006 to 2014, when he resigned from the House of Commons. He returned to political life in February 2015 when he announced that he would seek the leadership of the Wildrose Party. He was elected party leader on March 28, 2015. In the 2015 provincial election, Jean was elected in the provincial riding of Fort McMurray-Conklin and became the leader of the Opposition as the Wildrose Party formed the Official Opposition to the governing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP). Jean ceased to lead the Wildrose Party merged with the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) to become the United Conservative Party in 2017 and ran to be leader of the new party, losing to Jason Kenney. He resigned his seat in the Alberta legislature on March 5, 2018.

Jean re-entered provincial politics after winning a by-election on March 16, 2022. Upon Premier Kenney's resignation announcement on May 18, 2022, Jean declared his candidacy in the United Conservative party leadership election, which took place on October 6, 2022.[1] He finished third on the first ballot with 11 percent of the vote, ultimately losing to Danielle Smith after his elimination from the sixth and final ballot.[2]


Jean was born in Kelowna, British Columbia, and moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta in 1967 when he was four years old. His mother, Frances Jean founded Fort McMurray's first newspaper in this same year, as well as City Centre Group, Inc., a business that primarily owns car-washes, car-detailing services, and some commercial office space rentals. City Centre Group, Inc. also owns Alberta Local History Publishing, a small-scale publishing house with titles focused on the "determination, adventure, and [...] new frontier" history of Northern Alberta.[3] Despite frequently claiming to have a poor working-class background, Jean stated as recently as 2006 that his family's net-worth grew in just 10 years from "$2 million to $20 million".[4]

Jean has a Bachelor of Science degree from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, and Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Bond University in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. He also attended the law school at the University of Calgary, where he received qualification to be admitted to the Law Society of Alberta. This allowed him to practice law for 11 years in Fort McMurray prior to his political career.

Jean has worked as a farmhand, a printer's assistant, a businessperson, a lawyer, and an inspirational speaker. In his community, Jean served as the chairman of the Children's Health Foundation in Northern Alberta, chair of the Alberta Summer Games, president of the Fort McMurray Downtown Business Association, and director of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce.

He currently sits on the advisory board of Barkuna Capital, a Calgary-based financial institution that describes itself as "More Than Merchant Banking".[5]

Political career[edit]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Jean was first elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative Party of Canada candidate in the riding of Athabasca in 2004, sitting in the Official Opposition to Paul Martin's Liberal government. He was re-elected in the renamed riding of Fort McMurray—Athabasca in 2006, when the Conservatives formed government under Stephen Harper. In February 2006, Jean was appointed as the parliamentary secretary to minister of transport, infrastructure and communities, Lawrence Cannon. Jean was re-elected again in 2008 and 2011. After the 2011 election, he declined reappointment as parliamentary secretary in order to focus on his constituency needs. In the House of Commons, Jean served on the Finance, Justice, and Industry Committees.[citation needed]

On January 10, 2014, Jean announced that he would be resigning his seat on January 17, 2014, to return to private life in Fort McMurray.[6][7]

Leader of the Wildrose Party[edit]

The Wildrose Party was in disarray in late 2014 after eleven MLAs, including leader Danielle Smith, crossed the floor to the ruling Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. A leadership election was organized to choose a new leader and Jean was encouraged to run. Jean entered the race on February 25, 2015.[8] He was elected party leader on March 28, 2015, with 55 per cent of the vote, defeating Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes and former Strathcona County mayor Linda Osinchuk.[9]

The 2015 Alberta election was held on May 5, 2015, less than two months after Jean became Wildrose leader. The party retained its standing as Official Opposition in the legislature, growing its caucus from 17 in 2012, and 5 at dissolution, to 21. For the first time in Alberta history, the NDP formed government, with Rachel Notley becoming the premier of Alberta. This marked the end of 43 years of government by the Progressive Conservatives.[10][11]

On August 30, 2016, Jean was hosting a forum in Fort McMurray when a local advocate for seniors complained about the quality of housing and health care for seniors. Jean answered that he had "been beating this drum for 10, 11 years" and said “I will continue to beat it, I promise. But it's against the law to beat Rachel Notley.”

Jean then apologized for what he later called "an inappropriate attempt at humour" and insisted Notley cares about housing and health care for seniors. He also led the room to applaud Notley for approving the construction of a long-term care home for seniors built in downtown Fort McMurray,[12] an issue that former premier Ed Stelmach and PC MLA Guy Boutilier had feuded over.[13]

Merger with PCs into UCP[edit]

Jean's former federal caucus colleague Jason Kenney became Progressive Conservative leader after winning that party's leadership election in early 2017. Kenney's platform called for uniting the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties to form a united right-of-centre alliance. On March 20, 2017, Jean met with Kenney to begin unity discussions.[14]

On May 18, 2017, Jean and Kenney announced that their two parties had come to a merger agreement and on July 22, 2017, the merger was passed with 95 per cent support from both the PCs and the Wildrose. The merger agreement formed the United Conservative Party, a leadership election occurred on October 28, 2017, in which Jean was defeated by Kenney,[15] and a founding convention to be held in 2018.[16]

Jean announced his resignation from the legislature on March 5, 2018. He said in an interview that he knew people would accuse him of being a sore loser following his defeat to Kenney, but insisted he was resigning to rebuild his home that was destroyed in 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and spend time with family, including a sister who was battling Stage 4 cancer at the time.[17] He was succeeded by UCP MLA Laila Goodridge in the 2018 Fort McMurray-Conklin by-election.[18]

Return to politics[edit]

Jean became a vocal critic of Kenney's leadership through social media and guest columns in the Edmonton Journal. After criticizing Kenney's leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic,[19] Jean called for his resignation on June 7, 2021.[20]

On November 3, 2021, Jean announced that he would seek the UCP nomination for an upcoming by-election in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, and won this nomination contest on December 12 against Joshua Gogo, with 68 per cent of the vote.[21][22]

During the nomination race, a post to Jean's LinkedIn profile said Kenney and his supporters were “pushing a Nigerian economist who lives in Fort McMurray” to be the UCP candidate, referring to Gogo's ethnicity. The post was removed and Jean apologized, saying the post's "unacceptable connotation" was written by an unnamed volunteer.[23]

Jean continued to criticize Kenney's leadership during the by-election campaign and accused Kenney of being too weak to defeat Rachel Notley in the 2023 Alberta general election. The UCP did not send any volunteers to help Jean with his campaign and Kenney criticized Jean for resigning from public office twice before.[24]

Jean won the March 15, 2022 by-election after he openly campaigned in favour of removing Kenney from the leadership of the UCP.[24]

Upon Kenney's announcement on May 18, 2022 that he would resign as premier, Jean declared his candidacy in the United Conservative party leadership election, which occurred on October 6, 2022.[1] Upon Danielle Smith’s victory in the leadership race Jean was appointed to Smith’s Cabinet as the Minister for Jobs, Economy, and Northern Development.[25]

Electoral record[edit]


2023 Alberta general election: Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Conservative Brian Jean 7,692 73.57 +9.93
New Democratic Calan William Simeon Hobbs 2,561 24.50 +5.99
Independent Kdmkevin Johnston 202 1.93
Total 10,455 99.33
Rejected and declined 70 0.67
Turnout 10,525 42.90
Eligible voters 24,536
United Conservative hold Swing +3.63
Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes %
Danielle Smith 34,949 41.3 34,981 41.4 35,095 41.7 38,496 46.2 39,270 47.7 42,423 53.77
Travis Toews 24,831 29.4 25,054 29.7 25,593 30.4 26,592 31.9 30,794 37.4 36,480 46.23
Brian Jean 9,301 11.1 9,504 11.3 10,157 12.1 11,251 13.5 12,203 14.8 Eliminated
Rebecca Schulz 5,835 6.9 6,180 7.3 6,784 8.0 6,972 8.4 Eliminated
Todd Loewen 6,496 7.7 6,512 7.7 6,596 7.8 Eliminated
Rajan Sawhney 1,787 2.1 2,246 2.7 Eliminated
Leela Aheer 1,394 1.6 Eliminated
Total 84,593 100.00 84,405 100.00 84,225 100.00 83,311 100.00 82,267 100.00 78,903 100.00
Alberta provincial by-election, 15 March 2022: Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
United Conservative Brian Jean 3,717 63.6% -2.73
New Democratic Ariana Mancini 1,081 18.5% -6.01
Wildrose Independence Paul Hinman 628 10.8%
Liberal Abdulhakim Hussein 211 3.6%
Alberta Party Michelle Landsiedel 98 1.7% -4.08
Independent Brian Deheer 57 1.0%
Alberta Advantage Party Marilyn Burns 25 0.4%
Alberta Independence Steven Mellott 24 0.4% -1.43
Total valid votes 5,837
Total rejected ballots 0
Turnout 24.27%
Eligible voters 24,048
2015 Alberta general election: Fort McMurray-Conklin
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Wildrose Brian Jean 2,950 43.85 +3.70
New Democratic Ariana Mancini 2,071 30.79 +22.86
Progressive Conservative Don Scott 1,502 22.33 −26.62
Liberal Melinda Hollis 204 3.03 +0.06
Total valid votes 6,727 99.10
Rejected, spoiled and declined 61 0.90 +0.07
Turnout 6,788 44.45 +8.15
Eligible electors 15,272
Wildrose gain from Progressive Conservative Swing +15.16
Elections Alberta. "Election Results - Fort McMurray-Conklin". Retrieved December 27, 2021.


Athabasca district (in Alberta)

2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Brian Jean 21,988 71.84 +4.72 $68,113
New Democratic Berend Wilting 4,053 13.24 +0.33 $24
Liberal Karen Young 3,230 10.55 -0.05 $20,825
Green Jule Asterisk 1,374 4.49 -1.88 $2,734
Total valid votes/Expense limit 30,605 100.00
Total rejected ballots 144 0.47 +0.13
Turnout 30,749 40.75 +5
Eligible voters 75,456
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Brian Jean 17,160 67.12 +2.67 $48,046
New Democratic Mark Voyageur 3,300 12.91 -1.58 $1,853
Liberal John Webb 2,710 10.60 -4.17 $5,459
Green Dylan Richards 1,628 6.37 +1.47
Independent Shawn Reimer 350 1.37 $666
First Peoples National John Malcolm 233 0.91 -0.47
Christian Heritage Jacob Strydhorst 186 0.73 $733
Total valid votes/Expense limit 25,567 100.00 $101,823
Total rejected ballots 86 0.34 +0.03
Turnout 25,653 36 -12
2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Brian Jean 20,342 64.45 +4.16 $59,027
Liberal Mel H. Buffalo 4,663 14.77 -9.28 $3,333
New Democratic Roland Lefort 4,573 14.49 +4.03 $19,091
Green Ian Hopfe 1,547 4.90 -0.28 $8
First Peoples National John Malcolm 437 1.38
Total valid votes 31,549 100.00
Total rejected ballots 97 0.31 -0.06
Turnout 31,646 48.32 +0.47
2004 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Brian Jean 17,942 60.3 -6.40 $84,096
Liberal Doug Faulkner 7,158 24.05 -4.35 $52,713
New Democratic Robert Cree 3,115 10.46 +7.94 $4,942
Green Ian Hopfe 1,542 5.18 +4.18 $112
Total valid votes 29,757 100.00
Total rejected ballots 112 0.37 +0.07
Turnout 29,869 47.85 -8.43


  1. ^ a b McDermott, Vincent (May 25, 2022). "Jean confident in UCP's preparedness for 2023 provincial election as leadership campaign begins". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  2. ^ "Danielle Smith wins UCP leadership race, to be next Alberta premier". Global News. Retrieved March 18, 2023.
  4. ^ "The Brian Jean Story: we've heard about the rags … why not the riches?". Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  5. ^ "Barkuna Capital".
  6. ^ "Alberta Conservative MP Brian Jean stepping down". CBC News. January 10, 2014. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  7. ^ Wingrove, Josh (January 10, 2014). "Conservative MP representing oil sands resigns". Globe and Mail. Ottawa. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Wood, James (February 25, 2015). "Brian Jean enters Wildrose leadership race". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  9. ^ "Brian Jean elected new leader of Wildrose Party". CBC News. Edmonton. March 28, 2015. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  10. ^ Mccarthy, Shawn (May 5, 2015). "Brian Jean brings Wildrose back to respectability". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  11. ^ Dehaas, Josh (May 5, 2015). "Alberta election: NDP wins majority, ending 44 years of PC rule". CTVNews. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  12. ^ McDermott, Vincent (August 31, 2016). "Wildrose Leader Brian Jean apologizes for joking during public forum about beating Premier Notley". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  13. ^ McDermott, Vincent (June 23, 2021). "First residents move into Willow Square Continuing Care Centre". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  14. ^ Bellefontaine, Michelle (March 20, 2017). "Brian Jean, Jason Kenney take first steps toward uniting Alberta conservative parties". CBC News. Archived from the original on April 20, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  15. ^ Wood, James (October 29, 2017). "Kenney wins big in UCP leadership race, fires warning shot at NDP". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Graney, Emma (May 19, 2017). "Wildrose-PC members to vote on new united party July 22". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  17. ^ McDermott, Vincent (March 5, 2018). "Former UCP leadership contender Brian Jean quits as Fort McMurray MLA". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  18. ^ McDermott, Vincent (July 12, 2018). "United Conservatives win Alberta byelections". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  19. ^ Jean, Brian (April 21, 2021). "Brian Jean: It shouldn't be politics as usual when dealing with COVID". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  20. ^ Braid, Don. "Braid: Kenney's troubles deepen as Jean says he should quit, MLA quits key post". Calgary Herald. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  21. ^ "Brian Jean pursues UCP nomination in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche". Edmonton. November 4, 2021. Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  22. ^ Braid, Don (December 12, 2021). "Braid: Jean wins nomination handily in major blow to Kenney's leadership". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on January 26, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  23. ^ Graney, Emma (November 14, 2021). "UCP hopeful Brian Jean apologizes for social-media post aimed at Northern Alberta riding rival". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  24. ^ a b McDermott, Vincent (March 15, 2022). "Brian Jean elected UCP MLA in Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, pledges to oust Kenney at leadership review". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  25. ^ "Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development". www.alberta.ca. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  26. ^ "60 - Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche". officialresults.elections.ab.ca. Elections Alberta. Retrieved June 9, 2023.

External links[edit]