|Senator for Alberta|
March 24, 2005
|Appointed by||Adrienne Clarkson|
|MLA for Calgary-West|
|Preceded by||Peter Lougheed|
|Succeeded by||Danny Dalla-Longa|
March 7, 1946 |
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Independent Progressive Conservative (2013–2016)
Progressive Conservative (2005–2013)
Elaine McCoy, QC (born March 7, 1946 in Brandon, Manitoba) is a Canadian senator from Alberta. She was the last remaining member of the Canadian Senate to sit as a Progressive Conservative following the retirement of Senator Lowell Murray on September 26, 2011. On February 11, 2013 she changed her designation to Independent Progressive Conservative, before changing it once again, to Independent, on February 17, 2016.
Senate of Canada
McCoy was appointed to the Senate by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Paul Martin, on March 24, 2005. She sits in the Upper House representing Alberta as an Independent. Unless she resigns, McCoy will continue to sit in the Senate until March 7, 2021. She currently sits on the Senate Committee for Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, and previously, on the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Since being appointed to the Senate, McCoy has been an influential voice for the role of the individual Senator, for effective Senate reform, for an inclusive federation and the role of Alberta in Canada. McCoy broke new ground with her website, www.albertasenator.ca, and was one of the first members of the Senate of Canada to blog and tweet on her experiences in Ottawa and the political issues of the day. She sits as an Independent Senator which ensures her independence and acknowledges her political heritage. A feature article on McCoy in Maclean's magazine calls her a "symbol of defiance" as one of only two Progressive Conservative Senators then remaining in federal politics and someone who "defines herself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative."
During her tenure as Senator, she has launched two web-based projects. Savvy Senate, provides precis of several dozens of landmark Senate reports organized alphabetically by topic, highlighting the context, import and public reception (positive and negative) for each report, with hyperlinks to the report and media follow up.
In April 2014, McCoy launched a new web-based initiative on energy and the environment for the Canadian context: Your Energy Story. According to the site, it was designed "to make linkages between energy end uses and energy sources" and provides raw data on energy consumption and generation for both renewable and non-renewable resources, organized by provinces and territories across Canada. It employs one common energy unit for all types of energy – the gigajoule – in order to make comparisons between energy types possible for the average consumer. It also provides greenhouse gas emissions for the production of each energy type and end use.
McCoy is an important part of Calgary's environmental and charitable communities. She currently has or has had held memberships and leadership positions in many organizations, including:
- Vice-Chair, Alberta Climate Change Central
- Governor, Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology
- Chair, Joint Review Committee, Right-to-Work Study (Alberta Economic Development Authority and Alberta Government - 1995)
- President, Winston Churchill Society
- Committee Chair, Alberta Economic Development Authority
- Founding Director, Famous 5 Foundation
- Founding Director, Angela Cheng Foundation
- Senior Member, Alberta Ministerial Advisory Committee for Environmental Protection
- Director and lifelong honorary member, Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta
- Member, Law Society of Alberta
- Member, Canadian Evaluation Society
- Member, Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society
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A lawyer by profession, McCoy is President of the Macleod Institute, affiliated with the University of Calgary, which is known for its expertise on program evaluations and environmental management. In this position, she authored the influential Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Strategy. Other highlighted achievements while at the Macleod Institute include:
- Action Plan for the Government of the Northwest Territories for the purpose of achieving long-term benefits from oil and gas development in the NWT.
- Comprehensive report on micro-power distributed generation for Alberta Economic Development (Barriers and Options for Improving Electricity Supply), and delivered results from a multi-stakeholder workshop that was instrumental in launching the New Energy Resources Alliance, a Canadian micro-power distributed generation industry cluster.
- Governance Case Study of the Vancouver Agreement, an urban development agreement between Canada, British Columbia and the City of Vancouver. The Case Study explores intergovernmental partnerships and recommends that Vancouver partners increase the effectiveness of their collaboration by systematizing operating paradigms.[clarification needed]
- Canada-wide evaluation of Post-Secondary Education programs and Band-Operated and Federal Schools (BOFS) for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada that resulted in recommendations for improved resources and a broader vision for the department’s education secretariat.
- Alberta’s first Aviation Strategy and Action Plan which detailed 40 action items to be implemented by the newly formed, industry-led Aviation Strategy Action Group (now called Aviation Alberta).
- Method to integrate thresholds into cumulative effects assessment and management in Canada’s North.
- Evaluations and strategic reviews of the Western Diversification Program and all Canada Business Service Centres in Western Canada for Western Economic Diversification.
- Evaluation of the West Kitikmeot/Slave Study (WKSS). The WKSS comprises a partnership of three federal and territorial governments, together with several First Nations, industry and NGO organizations.
- Evaluation of accountability practices among more than 100 boards, agencies and crown corporations reporting to both the Government of the Northwest Territories and their own constituencies.
- Evaluation of Alberta Environment’s lab analysis and accreditation policies and programs, based on extensive interviews and a comparative review of Canadian and US practices. An analytical framework was developed as a first critical step in preparing recommendations which were subsequently adopted by the Government of Alberta.
- Analytical model which predicts the cost of regulatory delay for Alberta Environment. The report contributed to finalizing an agreement on harmonization entered into by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.
Alberta Right-to-Work Joint Review Committee
In 1995, McCoy was asked by the Alberta Government to Chair a Joint Review Committee (JRC) into whether or not Right-to-Work (RTW) legislation would be beneficial to the province. The study defined RTW legislation as ‘legislation that would prohibit employers and employees from agreeing to any form of union shop, closed shop or dues check-off arrangement.’ The Committee was formed on March 14, 1995 and had both labour and management representatives. It delivered its unanimous report in November of the same year. It received 225 written submissions from Albertans on the issue.
The JRC ultimately did not recommend RTW legislation for Alberta, as it found no evidence of economic advantage to it, and that it may well disrupt Alberta’s strong and stable labour relations of the time.
From 1986 to 1993, McCoy was the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Calgary-West in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. In 1986, she was named to the Executive Council of Alberta as Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Minister responsible for Women’s Issues by Premier Don Getty. As Minister, McCoy was responsible for creating the Insurance Council of Alberta, restructuring the Alberta Securities Commission, and for introducing a variety of new policies to protect consumers. She was also involved in developing foreign credentials recognition for immigrant professionals.
In 1989, McCoy was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for Human Rights, in which portfolio she was responsible for Alberta’s personnel administration office. She set up an Alberta Human Rights commission inquiry into the Aryan Nations which was responsible for investigating and eliminating supremacist activity in the province. McCoy also shed light on violence against women and spearheaded the Lake Louise Declaration, which was Alberta’s first action plan designed to fight violence against women, and the first all-Canada declaration on the subject.
The McCoy Plan
At the 1992 Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta leadership convention, McCoy ran for the leadership of the party against the eventual winner, Ralph Klein. She ran on a platform known as the McCoy Plan, points of which were eventually co-opted by the Klein government.
Key points of the McCoy Plan:
- five-year business plans for all government departments and agencies
- zero-based budgeting; accrual accounting
- management and administrative costs cut in half
- rationalization of the tax burden on people and companies
- “one-window” co-ordinated service delivery throughout Alberta
- more training, skills development and educational opportunities for people across Alberta
- support for local communities so that they can do things their way
Prior to entering provincial politics, McCoy pursued a career in law as senior legal counsel for the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and as counsel for TransAlta Utilities Corporation.
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