Executive Council of Alberta

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The Alberta wordmark, the de facto logo of the Alberta Government in everyday usage such as websites and public advertisements.

The Executive Council of Alberta, or more commonly the Cabinet of Alberta, is the Province of Alberta's equivalent to the Cabinet of Canada. The government of the province of Alberta is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature—the Legislative Assembly, which consists of 87 members elected first past the post (FPTP) from single-member constituencies.[1] The premier is normally a member of the Legislative Assembly, and usually draws the members of Cabinet from among the members of the Legislative Assembly. The legislative powers in the province however, lie with the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Its government resembles that of the other Canadian provinces. The capital of the province is Edmonton, where the Alberta Legislative Building is located. Government is conducted after the Westminster model.

Government of Alberta[edit]

Image looking west down Jasper Avenue showing the major financial centre in Edmonton
Jasper Avenue, a hub of major offices and the financial centres in Edmonton.

The executive powers in the province lie with the Premier of Alberta and the Cabinet of Alberta or the Executive Council of Alberta. The legislative powers in the province lie with the Legislature, which consists of two components: the Queen, represented by the Lieutenant-Governor, and the Legislative Assembly.

The Executive Council of Alberta is officially headed by the Lieutenant-Governor, as representative of the Queen in Right of Alberta and is referred to as the Governor-in-Council. Although the lieutenant governor is technically the most powerful person in Alberta, he is in reality a figurehead whose actions are restricted by custom and constitutional convention. The government is therefore headed by the premier. The current premier is Jason Kenney, who was sworn in as the 18th premier on April 30, 2019.

Legislative powers[edit]

The Legislative Assembly meets in the Alberta Legislature Building in the provincial capital, Edmonton.

The Legislative Assembly consists of 87 members, elected first past the post from single-member electoral districts.[2] The current Legislature is the 30th, since the creation of the province in 1905.

The last election was held on April 16, 2019, and returned a majority parliament controlled by the United Conservative Party commonly abbreviated to 'UCP'.

Executive powers[edit]

Executive Council of Alberta[edit]

Typically, although not necessarily consisting of members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, the Cabinet of Alberta is similar in structure and role to the Cabinet of Canada. As federal and provincial responsibilities differ there are a number of different portfolios between the federal and provincial governments.

The Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, as representative of the Queen in Right of Alberta, heads the council, and is referred to as the Governor-in-Council. Other members of the Cabinet, who advise, or minister, the vice-regal, are selected by the Premier of Alberta and appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor. Most cabinet ministers are the head of a ministry, but this is not always the case. In the construct of constitutional monarchy and responsible government, the ministerial advice tendered is typically binding, though it is important to note that, despite appearances of the contrary, the Royal Prerogative belongs to the Crown, not to any of the ministers,[3]

As at the federal level the most important Cabinet post after that of the leader is Minister of Finance. Today the next most powerful position is certainly the health portfolio which has a vast budget and is of central political import. Other powerful portfolios include Education and Energy.

Current Cabinet[edit]

The current Government has been in place since April 30, 2019, following the April 16, 2019 Alberta general election. Members are listed in order of precedence.

Portfolio Minister Appointment Date Riding
Premier of Alberta
President of Executive Council
Jason Kenney April 30, 2019 Calgary-Lougheed
Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General
Deputy House Leader
Doug Schweitzer April 30, 2019 Calgary-Elbow
Minister of Health Tyler Shandro April 30, 2019 Calgary-Acadia
Minister of Transportation
Deputy House Leader
Ric McIver April 30, 2019 Calgary-Hays
Minister of Economic Development, Trade & Tourism Tanya Fir April 30, 2019 Calgary-Peigan
Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange April 30, 2019 Red Deer-North
Minister of Finance
President of Treasury Board
Travis Toews April 30, 2019 Grande Prairie-Wapiti
Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon April 30, 2019 Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen April 30, 2019 Innisfail-Sylvan Lake
Minister of Energy Sonya Savage April 30, 2019 Calgary-North West
Minister of Community and Social Services Rajan Sawhney April 30, 2019 Calgary-North East
Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon April 30, 2019 Calgary-Beddington
Minister of Children Services Rebecca Schulz April 30, 2019 Calgary-Shaw
Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson April 30, 2019 Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin
Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides April 30, 2019 Calgary-Bow
Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism & Status of Women Leela Aheer April 30, 2019 Chestermere-Strathmore
Minister of Labour & Immigration Jason Copping April 30, 2019 Calgary-Varsity
Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu April 30, 2019 Edmonton-South West
Minister of Infrastructure Prasad Panda April 30, 2019 Calgary-Edgemont
Minister of Service Alberta Nate Glubish April 30, 2019 Strathcona-Sherwood Park
Associate Minister Red Tape Reduction Grant Hunter April 30, 2019 Taber-Warner
Associate Minister of Natural Gas Dale Nally April 30, 2019 Morinville-St. Albert
Associate Minister of Mental Health & Addictions Jason Luan April 30, 2019 Calgary-Foothills

Former Cabinets[edit]


In Alberta, the ministries' names have two forms, often coexisting. The usual one is "Alberta X", (e.g. Alberta Education) the older style is "Ministry of X" (e.g. Ministry of Finance). The newer style without the word "ministry" resembles the federal government's Federal Identity Program and the federal naming scheme, except in reverse order. Federal ministries and departments are usually "X Canada" (e.g. Environment Canada).

With every new cabinet ministries can be created or disbanded, renamed or gain or lose responsibilities. Some ministries such as finance or health are common to all provincial governments and are comparable to similar ministries or departments at the federal level or indeed even in other countries. However, some ministries are quite distinct to Alberta, such as the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development which oversees the management of public lands.

These are the current ministries as of 2015, listed alphabetically, with a short description and any notes to changes to that ministry's mandate.

Ministry Notes
Indigenous Relations Created 2008. Responsible for Aboriginal affairs. Also responsible for the Métis Settlements Appeals Tribunal, the Métis Settlements Ombudsman and the First Nations Development Fund. Renamed from Aboriginal Relations.
Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development Responsible for agriculture, forestry; responsibility for rural development added 2008.
Culture and Tourism Responsible for culture, community development, the voluntary sector, museums, heritage sites, and tourism. Also responsible for Human Rights and Citizenship Commission; Human Rights Citizenship and Multiculturalism Fund; Foundation for the Arts; Alberta Historical Resources Foundation; Wild Rose Foundation; and Government House Foundation.
Economic Development and Trade Responsible for economic growth and diversification in Alberta. Created October 22, 2015[4]
Education Responsible for Education in Alberta.
Energy Responsible for energy policy.
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Responsible for environmental policy and Crown land.
Executive Council The ministry which organizes, and reports directly to, cabinet.
Finance Responsible for economic policy. Gained responsibility for the Regulatory Review Secretariat, the Alberta Economic Development Authority, and the Northern Alberta Development Council in 2008.
Health Responsible for health policy.
Human Services
Infrastructure Created 2008. Responsible for infrastructure planning, and building and managing government-owned infrastructure. Also responsible for the administration of water/wastewater and other municipal infrastructure grants and the Natural Gas Rebate Program.
Innovation and Advanced Education Responsible for economic development and post-secondary education.
International and Intergovernmental Relations Responsible for relations with other governments in Canada and internationally In 2008 it lost responsibility for Aboriginal relations and added responsibility for investment attraction.
Labour Responsible for labour laws, immigration, and employment programs.
Justice and Solicitor General Responsible for the justice system.
Municipal Affairs Responsible for local government in Alberta. In 2008 lost responsibility for housing and the voluntary sector.
Parks and Recreation Responsible for provincial parks. In 2008 lost responsibility for culture and community development, museums, heritage sites, and reporting entities now in Culture and Community Spirit, as well as the First Nations Development Fund now in Aboriginal Relations.
Service Alberta Responsible for services including registries, land titles, consumer protection and the Alberta Queen's Printer.[5]
Solicitor General and Public Security Responsible for public security.
Status of Women Leads government's work to improve gender equality in Alberta.[5]
Transportation Created 2008. Responsible for planning, building and managing the provincial highway network, including the administration of municipal transportation grants. Also responsible for the Transportation Safety Board.
Treasury Board


Albertans are the lowest-taxed people in Canada, mostly because of the province's considerable oil and gas income as well as the more conservative financial philosophies of successive governments. It is also the only province in Canada where there is no provincial sales tax.[6] Alberta is one of few provinces that consistently has not received equalization payments from the federal government since 1962[7] (the others being British Columbia and (until 2008) Ontario, the original benchmark provinces). Alberta is now the largest net contributor to the program.


The 2016-2017 budget contained a $10.4 billion deficit, with $41.1 billion in revenue and $51.1 billion in expenditures. The budget also contained a $700 million risk adjustment, which was intended to reflect "volatility of Alberta’s resource revenue."[8]


The provincial government's revenue, although often described as predominantly coming from the province's resource base, actually is derived from a variety of sources. Non-renewable resource revenue provided the government with 24 percent of its revenue in 2010–11 with about the same coming from individual income tax, 14 per cent from grants from the federal government, and about eight percent coming from both corporations and the government's own business activities. (source: the Government of Alberta website) Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax (see also Sales taxes in Canada).

Government revenue comes mainly from royalties on non-renewable natural resources (30.4%), personal income taxes (22.3%), corporate and other taxes (19.6%), and grants from the federal government primarily for infrastructure projects (9.8%).[9] Albertans are the lowest-taxed people in Canada, and Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax (but residents are still subject to the federal sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax of 5%). It is also the only Canadian province to have a flat tax for personal income taxes, which is 10% of taxable income.[10]

The Alberta personal income tax system maintains a progressive character by granting residents personal tax exemptions of $16,977, in addition to a variety of tax deductions for persons with disabilities, students, and the aged.[11] Alberta's municipalities and school jurisdictions have their own governments which (usually) work in co-operation with the provincial government.

Alberta also privatized alcohol distribution. The privatization increased outlets from 304 stores to 1,726; 1,300 jobs to 4,000 jobs; and 3,325 products to 16,495 products.[12] Tax revenue also increased from $400 million to $700 million.

Politics of Alberta[edit]

Alberta's elections from 1948 to 2014 tended to yield results that were much more conservative than those of other Canadian provinces. Alberta has traditionally had three political parties, the Progressive Conservatives ("Conservatives" or "Tories"), the Liberals, and the social democratic New Democrats (and its predecessors, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation party and the United Farmers of Alberta). A fourth party, the Social Credit Party, which began as a radical monetary reform movement and government but after 1944 governed in a right-wing Christian fundamentalist style, was a power in Alberta for many decades, but fell into powerlessness and disfavour after Progressive Conservatives came to power in 1971. Progressive Conservatives were in government until 2015, when the NDP was elected with a large majority of the seats.

Only five parties have governed Alberta in the 110 years of its existence as a province: the Liberals, from 1905 to 1921; the United Farmers of Alberta, from 1921 to 1935; the Social Credit Party, from 1935 to 1971, the Progressive Conservative Party, from 1971 to 2015, and the NDP from 2015 on.

Alberta has had occasional surges in separatist sentiment. There are several currently active groups promoting the independence of Alberta.

In the 2008 provincial election, held on March 3, 2008, the Progressive Conservative Party was re-elected as a majority government with 72 of 83 seats, the Alberta Liberal Party was elected as the Official Opposition with nine members, and two Alberta New Democratic Party members were elected.[13]

April 23, 2012 election returned the Progressive Conservative Party to government, making leader Alison Redford Alberta's first female premier.[14] In the 2012 provincial election, held on April 23, 2012, the Progressive Conservative Party was re-elected as a majority government and party leader Alison Redford retained as premier with 43.9% of the vote and 61 of 87 seats (The Legislative Assembly had added 4 seats, increasing the total to 87), the Wildrose Party led by Danielle Smith was elected as the Official Opposition with 34.3% of the vote and 17 members (replacing the Liberal Party), five Liberals were elected with 9.9% of the vote and four NDP members were elected with 9.8% of the vote.[15]

The May 5, 2015 election saw the Alberta New Democrats elected to government, making leader Rachel Notley Alberta's second female premier and its first leftist premier since 1935.

After a single term the NDP was defeated by the United Conservative Party, who won the general election on April 16, 2019. This made leader Jason Kenney the 18th Premier of Alberta.

Federal-provincial governance: decentralization and devolution[edit]

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the federal government became more centralist, and Canada entered a stage of "conflictual federalism" that lasted from 1970 to 1984. The National Energy Program sparked a great deal of bitterness against the federal government in Alberta; as well, the federal government involved itself in disputes over oil with Newfoundland and Saskatchewan.[16] With the passage of the Constitution Act, 1982 through the addition of section 92A to the Constitution Act, 1867, the provinces were given more power with respect to their natural resources.

Between 1982 and 1992 the federal government favoured devolution of powers to the provinces, culminating in the failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. After a merger with the heavily devolutionist Canadian Alliance, the new Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper has continued the same stance.[17]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Connors, Richard; John M. Law (2005). Forging Alberta's constitutional framework. University of Alberta – Centre for Constitutional Studies. ISBN 0-88864-457-4. Retrieved October 21, 2012.


  1. ^ Elected Members of the Assembly.
  2. ^ Elected Members of the Assembly
  3. ^ Neitsch, Alfred Thomas (2008). "A Tradition of Vigilance: The Role of Lieutenant Governor in Alberta" (PDF). Canadian Parliamentary Review. Ottawa: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. 30 (4): 23. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 14, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  4. ^ https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/notley-shuffles-cabinet-to-focus-on-albertas-economic-diversification/article26936786/
  5. ^ a b Alberta, Government of. "Ministries". www.alberta.ca. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
  6. ^ Taxation – provincial sales tax
  7. ^ "A Short History of Equalization, part 1: 1930–2006". thoughtundermined.com. May 12, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  8. ^ "Alberta Fiscal Plan Overview (2016)" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Budget 2009, Building on Our Strength". Government of Alberta. Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  10. ^ "What are the income tax rates in Canada for 2009?". Canada Revenue Agency. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  11. ^ "Alberta Tax and Credits". Government of Alberta. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  12. ^ "The Right Way to Sell Booze in New Brunswick". Taxpayer. Archived from the original on January 18, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  13. ^ "2008 Alberta Election Results". CTV. Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  14. ^ "2012 Alberta Election Results". CTV. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  15. ^ Provincial General Election April 23, 2012 Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Dyck 2012, pp. 416–420
  17. ^ Banting, Keith G.; Simeon, Richard (1983). And no one cheered: federalism, democracy, and the Constitution Act. Toronto: Methuen. pp. 14, 16. ISBN 0-458-95950-2.

External links[edit]