Jonathan Denis

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Jonathan Denis
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
March 3, 2008 – May 5, 2015
Preceded by Denis Herard
Succeeded by Brandy Payne
Constituency Calgary-Egmont (2008-2012)
Calgary-Acadia (2012-2015)
Personal details
Born (1976-09-22) September 22, 1976 (age 38)
Regina, Saskatchewan
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Breanna Palmer (2014-) separated
Residence Calgary, Alberta
Alma mater University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan
Occupation Lawyer, businessperson
Religion Christian

Jonathan Brian Denis, QC (born September 22, 1976 in Regina, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian politician. On May 9, 2012, he was named Solicitor General, Attorney General, and Minister of Justice for the province of Alberta but resigned from cabinet on April 25, 2015. He represented the constituency of Calgary-Acadia (formerly Calgary-Egmont) as a Progressive Conservative in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 2008 until 2015. He is of German descent.[1]

He was first elected in the 2008 provincial election and was appointed to cabinet in January 2010, making him the second youngest person to be named to cabinet in Alberta history.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

He received a commerce degree from the University of Regina in 1997 and a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 2000. While in law school, Denis was invited as a speaker at an international law conference in Montreal, Quebec.[3]


Prior to becoming an MLA, Denis was a senior associate, specializing in government relations, at Miller Thomson LLP,[4] a major Canadian law firm. He was also the co-founder and President of 3D Contact Inc.,[5] the other founder being Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre Listed contacts of 3D Contact Inc. are Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, and Ted Morton.[6] He was also the founder of a successful real estate investment firm named Liberty West Properties Inc.[7] Denis resigned from both positions after being elected.

Political career[edit]

For approximately two months in 1996, Denis was a staffer for Lynda Haverstock when she was an Independent MLA in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly. Haverstock had previously been leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party.[8][9]

After completing law school, Denis moved to Calgary and began articling. During this time, he became active in the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the Canadian Alliance and later the Conservative Party of Canada. Denis sought public office for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives in the 2008 provincial election in the constituency of Calgary-Egmont where he received 43.6% of the vote. He has served as a member of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, the Public Accounts Committee, the Standing Committee on Health, and the Cabinet Policy Committee on Health.[10]

Deputy Premier Ron Stevens also appointed Denis to the Alberta/Alaska Bilateral Council.[11]

In the summer of 2008, Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert asked Denis to conduct a widely-based consultation for the Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy. Denis's report came up with ten key recommendations for changes to pharmaceutical policy for the Alberta government.[12]

Also in 2008, Sustainable Resources Minister Ted Morton appointed Denis to the Land Use Framework Committee [13]

On September 16, 2009, Denis was named the Parliamentary Assistant for Energy.[10] Later that year he was appointed Queen's Counsel by the Alberta government.[14]

Denis was sworn in as Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs as well as Deputy Government House Leader on January 15, 2010,.[15] The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation wrote an article praising Denis for reducing spending in his department by 39% while still achieving targets.[16]

He was named as one of Avenue Magazine's "Top 40 under 40" in 2010.[17] which the magazine describes as "an annual selection of the brightest and most active leaders under the age of 40".[18]

On October 12, 2011, Denis was sworn in as Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security.[19] He was named Solicitor General, Attorney General, and Minister of Justice for the province of Alberta on May 9, 2012.

Denis resigned on April 25, 2015, during the 2015 election campaign, due to "legal proceedings" between himself and his estranged wife, Breanna Palmer. The specific details which led Premier Jim Prentice to ask Denis to resign were not disclosed.[20] Denis continued as a candidate but was defeated in the May 5, 2015 general election.

Earlier in the campaign, Denis denied vandalizing his own campaign signs so that they'd read "Jonathan Penis" as a way of getting attention.[21]


The Canadian Taxpayers' Federation has twice given Denis a "nice" award for having the best expenses in the entire Alberta government, calling his expenses "boring".[22]

Law and order[edit]

Denis has pursued a "law and order" policy on crime, increasing the amount of RCMP in rural areas [23] and a provincial grant for 300 new police officers in the cities.[24]

Election results[edit]

Alberta general election, 2008: Calgary-Egmont
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Jonathan Denis 5,415 43.61% -7.20%
Liberal Cathie Williams 3,289 26.49% 5.30%
Independent Craig Chandler 2,008 16.17%
Wildrose Alliance Barry Chase 676 5.44% -9.38%
Green Mark McGillvray 582 4.69% -3.13%
New Democratic Jason Nishiyama 447 3.60% -1.76%
Total 12,417
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 69
Eligible electors / Turnout 33,970 36.76%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing -6.25%
The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly. Elections Alberta. July 28, 2008. pp. 198–201. 


Order of precedence
Preceded by
Verlyn Olson
Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2013
Succeeded by
Doug Griffiths