Brian Mason

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Brian Mason
Mason in May 2015
Minister of Transportation of Alberta
Assumed office
May 24, 2015
Preceded byWayne Drysdale
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Edmonton Highlands (2000-2004)
In office
June 12, 2000 – April 16, 2019
Preceded byPam Barrett
Succeeded byJanis Irwin
Leader of the
Alberta New Democratic Party
In office
July 13, 2004[1] – October 18, 2014
Preceded byRaj Pannu
Succeeded byRachel Notley
Personal details
Brian David Mason

(1953-10-12) October 12, 1953 (age 65)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Political partyAlberta New Democratic Party
Alma materUniversity of Alberta
OccupationBus Driver
PortfolioMinister of Infrastructure, Minister of Transportation

Brian David Mason (born October 12, 1953) is a Canadian politician who was leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party from 2004 to 2014 and is the Minister of Transportation in Rachel Notley's NDP government.[2] He also serves as the Government House Leader. Mason was first elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for the now-defunct riding of Edmonton Highlands in a 2000 byelection. He was subsequently re-elected, and was elected in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood after the riding was created in 2004. Mason is currently the longest serving NDP MLA in Alberta history, and his career in politics spans more than twenty years.[3]

Early political involvement[edit]

Mason was born in Calgary in 1953,[4] the son of an electrical engineer. His father was a Red Tory who later helped found the Reform Party of Canada while his mother was a Liberal.[3]

Mason first became politically active in the mid-1970s while studying political science at the University of Alberta. He served as executive director of the Federation of Alberta Students from 1977 to 1979. While there he boarded at the traditionally Tory fraternity Phi Gamma Delta and was roommates with future Progressive Conservative Premier Dave Hancock, who teased him by calling him a communist.[5] Upon leaving university Mason began working as bus driver with the Edmonton Transit Service.[3]

Municipal politics[edit]

Mason first ran for Edmonton city council after he was temporarily laid off from ETS in 1983, before becoming president of the Edmonton Voters Association, a municipal political party.[5] He tried again for a seat on the council in 1989 with a dynamic campaign running in Ward 3. Mason's campaign came with a legal challenge he mounted against a provincial law forbidding municipal employees from running as candidates in a civic election unless they resigned their position with the city.[5]

The legal challenge was unsuccessful, however Mason was elected city councillor for Ward 3 in October 1989.[5] Shortly after the election the law Mason challenged was repealed, and municipal workers in Edmonton were subsequently allowed to run for civic office without resigning their positions. Mason remained on city council until 2000, when he ran for political office for the New Democratic Party.[6]

Provincial politics[edit]

In 2000, following the mid-term resignation of then leader of the Alberta New Democrats and MLA for Edmonton Highlands Pam Barrett, Mason left city council and ran for the NDP in the ensuing by-election. He held the Legislative Assembly seat with a strong majority, and was re-elected in the 2001 provincial election.[6]

Alberta NDP Leader[edit]

Mason was appointed the role of interim party leader for the NDP following the resignation of then leader Raj Pannu in July 2004. He became the official leader of Alberta's NDP on September 18, 2004, following a vote at the party convention.

Mason held his seat during the provincial election in 2004, which saw the caucus welcome the return of former leaders Pannu and Ray Martin, along with newcomer David Eggen. In the provincial election of 2008 Mason again retained his seat, and was joined in caucus by newly elected NDP MLA Rachel Notley from Edmonton-Strathcona, the seat previously held by Pannu.

During his tenure as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Mason has become the outspoken champion of issues such as:

  • Protecting public health care and long-term care
  • Defending senior citizens
  • Diversifying Alberta's economy
  • Refining more bitumen in the province
  • Banning political contributions from corporations and unions (like what has been done federally)
  • Denouncing PC electricity deregulation
  • Increasing education funding
  • Regulating automobile insurance rates

Mason also hosted various community meetings across the province. In 2009, Mason hosted a Round Table forum to discuss provincial budget concerns with a wide cross-section of Albertans. In 2009 and 2010, Mason hosted two provincial tours, each visiting several Alberta communities. The first tour took place in September 2009, with the public forums focusing on health care concerns, and resulted in the publication of the What People Want report. This report included more than 35 recommendations for health care reforms that would protect public services and improve the general health of Albertans. The second tour took place in May 2010, where the NDP again held public consultations. This time they invited Albertans to discuss concerns over the future of Alberta's energy economy and environment, as well as the erosion of public health services including long-term care.

In the 2012 provincial election the NDP picked up two seats in Edmonton, regaining their previous four seat total. Both Notley and Mason safely held onto their seats while David Eggen was re-elected as the member for Edmonton-Calder. Newcomer Deron Bilous was also elected in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, the seat formerly held by Martin. In many other ridings the party also won more votes than it had attained previously.[7]

On April 29, 2014, Brian Mason announced that he would step down as leader as soon as a leadership election could be held to choose his successor.[8] During the final few months of Mason's tenure the party was already enjoying strong polling in Edmonton, something which would eventually grow into the larger electoral sweep that the Alberta NDP managed in the 2015 provincial election under new leader Rachel Notley that resulted in the formation of Alberta's first ever NDP government.[9]

Member of Notley cabinet[edit]

On May 24, 2015, Mason was appointed Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Transportation, as well as Government House Leader.[5]

Edmonton Highlands-Norwood riding results, 2004 to present[edit]

2004 general election[edit]

2004 Alberta general election results[10]

Edmonton Highlands-Norwood

Turnout 42.74% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
     NDP Brian Mason 6,054 62.62% *
     Progressive Conservative Terry Martinuk 2,208 22.84% *
     Liberal Jason Manzevich 1,035 10.71% *
Alberta Alliance Ray Loyer 305 3.15% *
     Independent Dale Ferris 66 0.68% *
Total 9,668 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 91
20,681 Eligible Electors
     NDP pickup new district Swing N/A

2008 general election[edit]

2008 Alberta general election results[11]

Edmonton Highlands-Norwood

Turnout 32.54% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
     NDP Brian Mason 4,754 50.95% -11.67%
     Progressive Conservative Andrew Beniuk 2,978 31.92% 9.08% *
     Liberal Brad Smith 1,132 12.13% 1.42% *
Wildrose Alliance Travis Loewen 245 2.63% -0.52 *
Green Mohamad Maie 221 2.37% *
Total 9,330 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 39
28,795 Eligible Electors
     NDP hold Swing -10.38%

2012 general election[edit]

Alberta general election, 2012: Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Brian Mason 6,824 54.16 +3.21
Progressive Conservative Cris Basualdo 2,778 22.05 -9.87
Wildrose Wayde Lever 2,022 16.05 +13.42
Liberal Keegan Wynychuk 587 4.66 -7.47
Alberta Party Cam McCormick 200 2.59
Evergreen Dari Lynn 188 1.49 -0.88
Total valid votes 12,599 100.00
Total rejected ballots 184
Turnout 12,783 45.25 +12.71
Eligible voters 28,251
New Democratic hold Swing +3.21%

2015 general election[edit]

Alberta general election, 2015: Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Brian Mason 11,558 78.07
Progressive Conservative Jonathan Dai 1,778 12.01
Wildrose Joshua Loeppky 964 6.51
Liberal Matthew Smith 504 3.41
New Democratic hold Swing +23.94%


  1. ^ "About Brian Mason". Alberta's NDP. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "Rachel Notley sworn in as Alberta premier, reveals cabinet," CBC News May 24, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Brian Mason resigns as leader of Alberta NDP". CBC News. April 28, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Brian Mason to step down as Alberta NDP leader
  5. ^ a b c d e Jen Gerson (May 23, 2015). "Brian Mason, former bus driver who led the Alberta NDP for a decade, poised to wield real power for the first time". National Post. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Cosh, Colby (May 21, 2015). "How Rachel Notley became Canada's most surprising political star". Macleans. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  7. ^ "NDP Leader Brian Mason glides to victory". CBC News. April 23, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  8. ^ Bennett, Dean (May 2, 2014). "Alberta NDP to pick new leader in Edmonton". The Canadian Press. Global News. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  9. ^ Ryan Tumilty (7 May 2015). "Alberta NDP insiders say path to Rachel Notley's historic victory started long before election began". Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood Statement of Official Results 2004 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  11. ^ The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly. Elections Alberta. July 28, 2008. pp. 302–305.

External links[edit]