Janis Irwin

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Janis Irwin
Janis Irwin MLA.png
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Assumed office
April 16, 2019
Preceded byBrian Mason
Personal details
Born (1984-09-09) September 9, 1984 (age 37)
Barrhead, Alberta
Political partyAlberta NDP
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta
Alma materUniversity of Alberta
University of Calgary
OccupationTeacher, civil servant

Janis Irwin (born September 9, 1984)[1] is a Canadian politician who was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in the 2019 Alberta general election.[2] She represents the electoral district of Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood as a member of the Alberta New Democratic Party.[3] She serves as the Official Opposition Critic for Status of Women and LGBTQ2S+ Issues, and is the Official Opposition Deputy Whip.[4]

A teacher prior to her election, Irwin is queer, and is the only openly LGBTQ MLA in the Alberta legislature.[2] She previously ran as the federal New Democratic Party candidate for Edmonton Griesbach in the 2015 Canadian federal election.

Personal life[edit]

Irwin grew up in Barrhead, Alberta.[5] Prior to being elected, Irwin was a high school social studies teacher in Bawlf, Alberta and served as vice-principal in Forestburg, Alberta.[6][7][8][9] Irwin came out in her late 20s.[10] In 2010, Irwin moved back to Edmonton to start working with Alberta Education, focusing on curriculum.[11]


Irwin holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, a Master of Education from the University of Calgary, and completed PhD-level coursework at the University of Alberta without defending her thesis.

Provincial politics[edit]

Since being elected as a member of Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Irwin has been an advocate against conversion therapy by citing the harmful organization Journey Canada with its ties to this practice.[12] Another issue Irwin has been strongly advocating on is the legal protections of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in the education system in Alberta.[13][14]

Irwin serves on the Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future, as well as the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills.[15]

Irwin was previously a member of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund and the Standing Committee on Families and Communities.[15]

Irwin is the Official Opposition Deputy Whip and Critic for LGBTQ2S+ and Women's Issues.[15]

In the Legislature, Irwin confessed humorously to having a "gay agenda", which she described as consisting of her drinking coffee, going to work, mowing her lawn, and cleaning her house just like heterosexual people do.[13] Irwin has joked that she is the only openly "ML-gay" in the legislature, which does not mean she needs to speak on all gay-related issues.[10]

Electoral history[edit]

2015 federal election[edit]

2015 Canadian federal election: Edmonton Griesbach
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Kerry Diotte 19,157 39.96 –12.55 $93,048.30
New Democratic Janis Irwin 16,309 34.02 –3.45 $150,799.22
Liberal Brian Gold 10,397 21.69 +15.11 $14,575.14
Green Heather Workman 1,129 2.35 –1.08 $1,404.61
Libertarian Maryna Goncharenko 415 0.87 $150.44
Marijuana Linda Northcott 279 0.58
Rhinoceros Bun Bun Thompson 144 0.30
Marxist–Leninist Mary Joyce 112 0.23
Total valid votes/expense limit 47,942 99.40   $214,842.90
Total rejected ballots 289 0.60
Turnout 48,231 59.35
Eligible voters 81,265
Conservative hold Swing –4.55
Source: Elections Canada[16][17]

2019 general election[18][edit]

2019 Alberta general election: Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Janis Irwin 10,008 63.7 -14.37%
United Conservative Leila Houle 3,953 25.2 +6.68%
Alberta Party Tish Prouse 1,048 6.7
Green Taz Bouchier 243 1.5
  Independence Joe Hankins
  Alberta Advantage Chris Poplatek
Communist Alex S. Boykowich 103 0.7
Total valid votes 15,758
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 70 88 8
Registered electors 33,063
Turnout 47.9%
New Democratic hold Swing -14.37%


  1. ^ @JanisIrwin (9 September 2020). "It's my birthday! And what do I want? At the top of my list is an @albertaNDP government! I'd love if you could help make my birthday wish come true: albertandp.ca/donate/ehln #ableg" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b Jason Markusoff (April 18, 2019). "Why Jason Kenney's workaholic style may not work when he's premier". Maclean's. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  3. ^ Alex Antoneshyn (April 24, 2019). "Edmonton MLA-elect wins seat, then $100K in lottery". CTV News Edmonton. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "Janis Irwin". www.albertandpcaucus.ca. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  5. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 18, 2019.
  6. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 27, 2019. p. 1294.
  7. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 19, 2019. p. 1056.
  8. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 18, 2019. p. 941.
  9. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 11, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 24, 2019. p. 1156.
  11. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 11, 2019. p. 710.
  12. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 25, 2019. p. 1171.
  13. ^ a b "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 24, 2019. p. 1157.
  14. ^ "Alberta Hansard" (PDF). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. June 11, 2019. p. 710.
  15. ^ a b c "Janis Irwin Bio". Legislative Assembly of Alberta. October 8, 2019.
  16. ^ "Official Voting Results". Elections Canada. 29 February 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  17. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  18. ^ "Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood 2019 election result".