Guy Boutilier

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Guy C. Boutilier
Guy Boutilier.jpg
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
March 11, 1997 – November 22, 2004
Preceded by Adam Germain
Constituency Fort McMurray
In office
November 22, 2004 – 2012
Succeeded by Mike Allen
Constituency Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo
Alberta Minister of International, Intergovernmental, and Aboriginal Relations
In office
December 15, 2006 – March 12, 2008
Preceded by Pearl Calahasen (Aboriginal Affairs)
Gary Mar (International and Intergovernmental Relations)
Succeeded by Gene Zwozdesky (Aboriginal Affairs)
Ron Stevens (International and Intergovernmental Relations)
Alberta Minister of the Environment
In office
November 24, 2004 – December 15, 2006
Preceded by Lorne Taylor
Succeeded by Rob Renner
Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs
In office
March 15, 2001 – November 24, 2004
Preceded by Walter Paszkowski
Succeeded by Rob Renner
Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
In office
April 1, 1995 – 1997
Preceded by New municipality
Succeeded by Doug Faulkner
Mayor of Fort McMurray
In office
October 22, 1992 – April 1, 1995
Preceded by E.C. (Betty) Collicott
Succeeded by Amalgamated Regional Charter
Fort McMurray Alderman
In office
October 20, 1986 – October 22, 1992
Personal details
Born 1958/1959 (age 56–57)[1]
Political party Progressive Conservative
Wildrose Alliance
Spouse(s) Gail
Residence Fort McMurray
Alma mater St. Francis Xavier University
St. Mary's University
Harvard University

Guy Carleton Boutilier is a Canadian politician, who sat as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1997 to 2012. He was elected as a Progressive Conservative, and served in several capacities in the Cabinet of Alberta under Premiers Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach before being ejected from the PC caucus in July 2009; he joined the Wildrose Alliance Party after sitting as an independent for a year.

Before entering provincial politics during the 1997 Alberta election, he was involved in municipal politics, having served two terms on the city council of Fort McMurray before being elected mayor of that city in 1992. When Fort McMurray was amalgamated with the surrounding area to form the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in 1995, Boutilier served as the new municipality's first mayor.

Early life[edit]

Boutilier earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University, a Bachelor of Education from St. Mary's University, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University.[2] He has worked as a financial analyst in the petroleum industry and as a business management instructor at Keyano College.[2] He is currently lecturing business economics at the University of Alberta's school of business.[2]

Political career[edit]

Municipal politics[edit]

Boutilier was elected to the Fort McMurray city council on October 20, 1986, to a three-year term as alderman. He was re-elected October 16, 1989, and was elected the youngest mayor in the city's history October 22, 1992.[3] He served in this capacity until April 1, 1995, when Fort McMurray lost its status as a city and was rolled into the new Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.[3] He was the first mayor of this new municipality, serving until 1997 when he resigned to enter provincial politics.[3]

Provincial politics[edit]

Boutilier was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in the 1997 Alberta election, when he ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Fort McMurray.[4] The incumbent Liberal, Adam Germain, was not seeking re-election, and Boutilier won by defeating John Vyboh by more than a thousand votes.[4] As a backbencher, he moved several bills: the Mines and Minerals Amendment Act was a 1997 government bill designed to enable the implementation of a generic royalty regime for new development in the Alberta oilsands and streamline the process for land leases to oil and gas companies by moving administrative elements from legislation to regulation.[5][6] The bill passed with Liberal support, but New Democratic leader Pam Barrett opposed the bill out of concerns that it left the legislature out of debates in which it should play a role and provided overly-generous incentives to oil companies without requiring anything from them in return.[6][7] Also in 1997, Boutilier sponsored the Cost Declaration Accountability Act, a private member's bill that never reached second reading.[5]

In 1998, Boutilier sponsored two more bills.[8] The Railway Act was a government bill that modernized the rules governing the operation of railways in Alberta.[9] The Liberals expressed general support for the bill,[10] but ultimately opposed it on the basis of a clause that allowed cabinet to make regulations on "any matter that the Minister considers is not provided for or is insufficiently provided for" in the Act, which they considered to be dangerously broad.[11] The bill passed.[8] The same year, Boutilier sponsored the Government Accountability Amendment Act,[8] a private member's bill that would have required all government bills to include an associated financial cost to come before the legislature with an estimate of those costs for the ensuing three years.[10] The bill was hoisted for six months on second reading on a motion by Wayne Cao, which, since the legislature was not in session six months later, effectively killed the bill.[8][12]

He was re-elected in the 2001 election with a substantially increased margin over Vyboh.[13] Following the 2001 election, Premier Ralph Klein named Boutilier to his cabinet as the Minister of Municipal Affairs.[14] In this capacity, Boutilier sponsored the Municipal Government Amendment Act in 2003.[15] The Act allowed municipalities to charge developers off-site road levies, a practice which had been common but which had recently been successfully challenged in court, and passed largely without controversy.[16][17][18] Boutilier kept the municipal affairs until after the 2004 election (in which he was again re-elected handily, this time in the newly formed Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo riding),[19] when Klein transferred him to the post of Minister of the Environment.[20] He held this post in 2005, when a Canadian National Railway train derailed, spilling oil into Wabamun Lake.[21] At the time, Boutilier described himself as "damn well pissed off" about the spill and about the allegation that CN had neglected to report that the spill contained carcinogenic chemical, and pledged "to bring to the full extent of the law anyone who has breached Alberta law."[22] CN was eventually charged under federal statutes.[23] He was also at the forefront of his government's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, at one point slipping his Quebec counterpart Thomas Mulcair a note during a United Nations conference on the subject in Montreal, which Mulcair interpreted as a request that Quebec soften its support of Kyoto in exchange for investment in the Montreal Stock Exchange by Alberta industry.[24] Boutilier characterized the note as "discussions in terms of what we would want to be able to do in a positive environmental initiative" and denied that he was trying to influence Quebec's position.[24]

In the 2006 Progressive Conservative leadership election, Boutilier initially backed Lyle Oberg,[25] and switched his support to eventual winner Ed Stelmach after Oberg was eliminated on the first ballot.[26] When Stelmach succeeded Klein as premier, he named a smaller cabinet than Klein's.[27] This included a merger of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio with Intergovernmental and International Relations, and Stelmach gave the expanded portfolio to Boutilier.[28] Boutilier was re-elected by another expanded margin in the 2008 election,[29] but was not named to Stelmach's new cabinet, making him the only returning member of the pre-election cabinet not to receive a portfolio.[30] His demotion was met with protest in his home riding, which contains much of the oilsands activity driving Alberta's economy at the time, and the local Progressive Conservative riding association sent a letter of protest to Stelmach.[31][32]

In July 2009, Stelmach ejected Boutilier from the Progressive Conservative caucus for publicly criticizing the government. Boutilier was upset with delays in the construction of a long-term care facility in his riding, and said that without the facility seniors were being kept in "holding cells" in the local hospital.[33] Stelmach's spokesman said that his ejection was due to his seeking "preferential treatment" for his riding; Boutilier denied that he had done so.[34] In June 2010, after nearly a year as an independent, he joined the Wildrose Alliance Party, saying that the move was "a natural flow", and in hindsight calling his expulsion from the PC Party "the best thing that ever happened to me in my political career".[35]

In the 2012 election, Boutilier ran for re-election as a Wildrose candidate in the new electoral district of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, but was defeated by Mike Allen.

Return to municipal politics and resignation[edit]

In July 2013, Allen was arrested in a prostitution sting during a government trip to St. Paul, Minnesota.[36] Boutilier remained silent on a possible political comeback,[37] but in October, announced he would be seeking a Ward 1 municipal council seat in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. When it came to local governance, Boutilier commented that residents were beginning to feel that "the inmates are running the asylum.”[38]

Boutilier would win one of six seats representing the urban Ward 1. Boutilier quickly earned a reputation as a strong fiscally conservative voice on council and frequently criticized past administrations for hiring consultant firms based outside Alberta. In May 2014, the Fort McMurray Today discovered Boutilier did consultant work for the municipality prior to being elected to council. After the 2012 provincial election, he submitted a "strategic roadmap" for projects approved by the previous council administration.[39]

For the work on his two-page report, Boutilier was paid $2,957.58. His payment included a $1,050 expense for two round trips from Edmonton to Fort McMurray. The report and invoice was leaked to the Fort McMurray Today, and showed Boutilier ran his business out of a residential home in Edmonton. The address and the expenses raised questions regarding Boutilier's residency and his eligibility to hold a council seat. Boutilier said he maintained the property because his son regularly had treatments related to his autism at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Centre. Boutilier also said it served as a second home for when he lectured part-time at the University of Alberta.

In November, local businessman Robert Vargo, who supported Boutilier's Wildrose campaign, filed a legal challenge questioning Boutilier's residency.[40] In his affidavit, Vargo wrote that Boutilier had relocated to Edmonton shortly after Stelmach expelled him from the Progressive Conservative Party's caucus. Three individuals filed separate affidavits claiming they had rented his Fort McMurray home and had rarely seen him.[41] They also claimed Boutilier was claiming a northern living allowance, despite allegedly living in Edmonton.[42]

Boutilier would not comment on the matter publicly. His lawyer dismissed the affidavits as "a frivolous application" and said they were working on a defence. At the same time, the Fort McMurray Today reported Boutilier was simultaneously entertaining job opportunities in the private sector.[43]

The case never went to court, because in January 2015, Boutilier resigned from council one day after Vargo dropped the challenge.[44] Boutilier denied his resignation was related to the dropped case. On the same day as his resignation, Boutilier purchased a membership with the Progressive Conservative Party's riding association for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, leaving many to believe he would attempt to run as an MLA. When asked how it felt to return to the party that once expelled him from their ranks, he praised the leadership of Premier Jim Prentice and said "it’s all water under the bridge for me. There’s a lot of water under that bridge when it comes to this party." The lawyers for Vargo and Boutilier said the motivations behind dropping the challenge would remain a private matter between the two men.[44][45]

Boutilier did not attempt to seek the PC nomination in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. A byelection to fill Boutilier's seat was called for April. Colleen Tatum was reelected to council.[46]

Election results[edit]

2008 Alberta general election results (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) Turnout 21.6%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Guy Boutilier 4,534 63.5%
     Liberal Ross Jacobs 1,751 24.5%
     NDP Mel Kraley 550 7.7%
Green Reg Normore 301 4.2%
2004 Alberta general election results (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) Turnout 26.4%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Guy Boutilier 4,429 63.2%
     Liberal Russell Collicott 1,800 25.7%
     NDP Dave Malka 460 6.6%
Alberta Alliance Eugene Eklund 224 3.2%
     Independent Reg Normore 94 1.3%
2001 Alberta general election results (Fort McMurray) Turnout 38.0%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Guy Boutilier 5,914 64.4%
     Liberal John Vyboh 1,759 19.2%
     NDP Lyn Gorman 1,498 16.3%
1997 Alberta general election results (Fort McMurray) Turnout 45.6%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Progressive Conservative Guy Boutilier 5,420 55.8%
     Liberal John Vyboh 4,008 41.3%
     NDP Rodney McCallum 280 2.9%
Alberta general election, 2012: Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Mike Allen 3,611 49.06%
Wildrose Guy Boutilier 3,165 43.00%
New Democratic Denise Woollard 363 4.93%
Liberal Amy McBain 221 3.00%


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  8. ^ a b c d "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 2nd Session (1998)". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  9. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. March 3, 1998. 
  10. ^ a b |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. March 10, 1998. 
  11. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. April 21, 1998. 
  12. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. March 11, 1998. 
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  18. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. December 3, 1998. 
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  23. ^ Brooymans, Hanneke (March 18, 2008). "Three charges against CN for Wabamun spill". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  24. ^ a b De Souza, Mike (November 6, 2007). "Kyoto proposal sensationalized, politician says". CanWest News Services. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  25. ^ Johnsrude, Larry (November 10, 2006). "Dinning in Oilers colours". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
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  28. ^ "Stelmach names smaller cabinet". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 15, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
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  30. ^ Braid, Don (March 15, 2008). "Stelmach cabinet snubs Fort McMurray". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  31. ^ Gerein, Keith (March 13, 2008). "Fort McMurray dismayed over Boutilier's exclusion". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  32. ^ "Dismay grows over benching of Boutilier". Edmonton Sun. March 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-26. [dead link]
  33. ^ Braid, Don (July 17, 2009). "Bold critique of Stelmach endangers Alberta Tory MLA". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  34. ^ Braid, Don (July 18, 2009). "Stelmach boots Boutilier from caucus". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2009-07-18. [dead link]
  35. ^ Bennett, Dean (June 25, 2010). "Former Alberta cabinet minister joins Wildrose Alliance". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  36. ^ McDermott, Vincent (July 19, 2013). "Mike Allen Charged, Scheduled to Appear in Court". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  37. ^ McDermott, Vincent (July 17, 2013). "Boutilier Silent on Possible Comeback". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  38. ^ McDermott, Vincent (September 23, 2013). "Guy Boutilier running for council in Ward 1". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
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  40. ^ McDermott, Vincent (November 9, 2014). "Long-time business owner challenging Boutilier's legitimacy on council". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  41. ^ McDermott, Vincent (January 7, 2015). "Affidavit claims Boutilier seldom stayed at Thickwood home until 2013 election". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  42. ^ McDermott, Vincent (January 12, 2015). "Two more claim Boutilier was not eligible for council seat". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  43. ^ McDermott, Vincent (December 14, 2014). "Boutilier named possible top boss for RRC". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  44. ^ a b McDermott, Vincent (January 24, 2015). "Boutilier resigns from council, but silent on PC run". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  45. ^ McDermott, Vincent (January 26, 2015). "Details of Vargo's legal settlement with Boutilier remain private". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  46. ^ McDermott, Vincent (April 3, 2015). "Colleen Tatum elected to municipal council in Ward 1". Fort McMurray Today. Retrieved 2016-03-27.