Kerry Diotte

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Kerry Diotte
2013-05-16 Kerry Diotte.jpg
Diotte in 2013
Member of Parliament
for Edmonton Griesbach
In office
October 19, 2015 – September 20, 2021
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byBlake Desjarlais
Edmonton City Councillor
In office
October 26, 2010 – October 29, 2013
Preceded byWard established
Succeeded byMike Nickel
ConstituencyWard 11
Personal details
Born
Kerry Thomas Diotte

(1956-02-26) February 26, 1956 (age 66)
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Political partyConservative
Residence(s)Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Alma materCarleton University
OccupationJournalist

Kerry Thomas Diotte (born 1956) is a Canadian journalist and former politician who was the member of Parliament (MP) for Edmonton Griesbach from 2015 to 2021 and sat on the Edmonton City Council from 2010 to 2013. A Conservative, Diotte was elected to the House of Commons twice–in the 2015 and 2019 elections–but would lose his seat to New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Blake Desjarlais in 2021. He ran for mayor of Edmonton in 2013, placing third. In June 2022 he joined Rebel News to become their Alberta Legislature reporter and political correspondent.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Diotte was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on February 26, 1956. He was educated at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

Diotte was employed at the Edmonton Sun from 1985 until October 2009 where he worked as Legislature bureau chief, as well as a copy editor, reporter, and assignment editor. Prior to that, he worked for the Calgary Sun and newsmagazines, including Alberta Report and Maclean's. He has also worked for a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation affiliate where he was an on-camera television reporter. For many years, Diotte was president of the Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Association of Journalists and a national director of the organization. He resigned those positions to campaign for a city council seat in the 2010 Edmonton municipal election.[3]

2004 police sting[edit]

On November 18, 2004, seven members of the Edmonton Police Service targeted Diotte along with then-police commission chairman Martin Ignasiak in a controversial undercover drunk-driving operation at an Edmonton bar, the Overtime Broiler & Taproom. Police were staked out in anticipation of catching the two men driving home drunk, but both took cabs home.

Subsequent legal proceedings produced evidence, including police radio conversations from that night, showing officers set up the operation because they were upset by Diotte's newspaper columns about policing, including criticism of photo radar operations. After an internal police investigation exonerated the officers involved in the unwarranted would-be sting, then-police chief Fred Rayner was fired from his position by the Edmonton Police Commission.

In September 2008, Alberta's Law Enforcement Review Board ruled a senior police officer abused his power by targeting Diotte because the law enforcement official was frustrated by the columnist's viewpoints on police matters. The panel decided there was "no credible evidence" to suggest Diotte would drive drunk when leaving the November 18, 2004 function and noted the journalist has no criminal record.[4] In the decision, the panel chair wrote: "Mr. Diotte had the right, without fear of police reprisal, to freedom of speech, which includes the freedom to write critical articles about policing in his community."[5]

Political career[edit]

Municipal politics[edit]

Diotte ran for city council in the 2010 Edmonton municipal election, winning Ward 11 with 44.3% of the vote.[3] On May 16, 2013, Diotte announced his candidacy for the mayoralty of Edmonton.[6] He finished in third with 32,917 votes.[7]

Member of Parliament[edit]

On February 26, 2014, Diotte announced his intention to seek the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the new federal riding of Edmonton Griesbach.[8] Diotte won the nomination election on December 6, 2014.[9] In the 2015 election, Diotte won the seat, defeating his closest opponent, Janis Irwin, by less than 3,000 votes.[10][11][12]

On September 15, 2016, he was appointed deputy critic of Urban Affairs in Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose's shadow cabinet.[13]

Diotte was a member of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations in the 42nd Parliament.[14]

He was appointed in September 2018 as a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.[15]

Diotte sponsored private member's Bill C-306, An Act to establish a Crimean Tatar Deportation ("Sürgünlik") Memorial Day and to recognize the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as an act of genocide. This bill sought to recognize the mass deportations of Crimean Tatars in 1944 by the Soviet Union as genocide and establish May 18 as a day of commemoration.[16] Bill C-306 was defeated at second reading.[17]

Diotte was appointed Deputy Shadow Minister for Public Services and Procurement in Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer's shadow cabinet.[18]

On February 6, 2020, Diotte voted in support of Bill C-233 – an act to amend the Criminal Code (sex-selective abortion), which would make it an indictable or a summary offence for a medical practitioner to knowingly perform an abortion solely on the grounds of the child's genetic sex.[19][non-primary source needed]

On October 28, 2020, Diotte voted in favour of Bill C-6 in the second reading, which proposed amending the Criminal Code to include a ban on conversion therapy.[20] However, on June 21, 2021, he voted against the bill during the third reading, expressing concerns that the legislation wasn't worded precisely enough to exclude certain conversations in religious counselling. After losing his seat in the 2021 Canadian federal election, the amendment passed in the first session of the next Parliament in Bill C-4.[21]

Diotte lost his Edmonton-Griesbach seat to the NDP's Blake Desjarlais in the 2021 federal election.[22] MLA Janis Irwin attributed Diotte's loss to anger directed towards the Conservative Party due to their actions federally – such as Diotte's vote against the conservation therapy ban – and their association with the unpopular United Conservative Party (UCP) government provincially. As well, growing support of the People's Party voters siphoned off support from the Conservatives.[23]

Controversy[edit]

On November 19, 2018, Diotte launched a lawsuit against University of Alberta student publication The Gateway for publishing two articles that the suit deemed "defamatory", objecting to claims that he is racist.[24] The Gateway issued a quick apology and retraction, stating: "That characterization of Mr. Diotte is false, damaging to his reputation, and caused Mr. Diotte and his family unwarranted embarrassment. The Gateway sincerely apologizes to Mr. Diotte for this wrongful characterization and retracts the offending articles."[25] In a statement, Diotte stated that he was “glad that my lawyer and theirs could come to a mutually agreeable solution without a protracted court fight,” and that he was “a strong believer in free speech, but it’s important to remember there are legal lines that can’t be crossed.”[26]

Electoral history[edit]

2010 Edmonton Ward 11 election
Candidate Votes %
Kerry Diotte 7,341 44.2
Chinwe Okelu 4,728 28.5
Brent Schaffrick 1,783 10.7
Shane Bergadhl 1,427 8.6
Vishal Luthra 890 5.4
Roberto Maglalang 438 2.6
2013 Edmonton mayoral election[27]
Candidate Votes %
Don Iveson 132,162 62.2
Karen Leibovici 41,182 19.4
Kerry Diotte 32,917 15.5
Joshua Semotiuk 2,596 1.2
Gordon Ward 2,248 1.1
Kristine Acielo 1,292 0.6
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[28][29]
2019 Canadian federal election: Edmonton Griesbach
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Kerry Diotte 24,120 51.36 +11.40 $76,825.14
New Democratic Mark Cherrington 11,800 25.13 -8.89 $55,645.21
Liberal Habiba Mohamud 8,100 17.25 -4.44 $66,889.67
Green Safi Khan 1,189 2.53 +0.18 none listed
People's Barbara Ellen Nichols 1,074 2.29 - none listed
Independent Andrzej Gudanowski 216 0.46 - none listed
Christian Heritage Christina Alva Armas 203 0.43 - none listed
Communist Alex Boykowich 170 0.36 - none listed
Marxist–Leninist Mary Joyce 91 0.19 -0.04 $0.00
Total valid votes/expense limit 46,963 99.33
Total rejected ballots 319 0.67 +0.08
Turnout 47,282 56.84 -2.51
Eligible voters 83,188
Conservative hold Swing +10.15
Source: Elections Canada[30][31]
2021 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Blake Desjarlais 17,457 40.5 +15.4
Conservative Kerry Diotte 15,957 37.1 -14.3
Liberal Habiba Mohamud 5,979 13.9 +3.4
People's Thomas Matty 2,617 6.1 +3.8
Green Heather Lau 538 1.2 -1.3
Libertarian Morgan Watson 268 0.6 -
Communist Alex Boykowich 140 0.3 -0.1
Marxist–Leninist Mary Joyce 103 0.2 -0.0
Total valid votes 43,059 99.9
Total rejected ballots 495
Turnout 43,554 53.2%
Eligible voters 81,057
New Democratic gain from Conservative Swing -3.6
Source: Elections Canada[32][33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trudeau's Supreme Court chief judge says you'd better not criticize him — he's 'warning' you".
  2. ^ "Kerry Diotte on Instagram: "I'm thrilled to join Ezra Levant at Rebel News as their Political correspondent and Alberta legislature bureau chief. Today more than ever people need solid, independent journalism to tell the other side of the story. @news.rebel @rebelnews_ca @ezra.levant #yegcc #ableg #cdnpoli #canpoli #journalism"".
  3. ^ a b "Sault native wins seat on Edmonton city council". The Sault Star. October 21, 2010. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  4. ^ Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board decision 002-008
  5. ^ Kleiss, Karen (September 6, 2008). "Officer faces suspension for Overtime sting; Journalist targeted by senior EPS member for 'reasons other than law enforcement'". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  6. ^ "Councillor Kerry Diotte running for mayor". Global News. May 16, 2013. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  7. ^ "Don Iveson elected Edmonton's next mayor". CBC News. October 21, 2013. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  8. ^ "Kerry Diotte takes a run at federal politics". CBC News. February 26, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  9. ^ "Diotte wins federal Conservative nomination". Edmonton Journal. December 10, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  10. ^ "Edmonton Griesbach goes to Conservative Kerry Diotte, dashing NDP's hope in Janis Irwin". Edmonton Journal. October 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  11. ^ "Conservative Kerry Diotte wins in Edmonton Griesbach". Global News. October 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  12. ^ "Conservatives elected in five of eight Edmonton ridings". CBC News. October 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  13. ^ "Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet as of September 15, 2016". Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  14. ^ "REGS – Home". www.parl.ca. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  15. ^ "HUMA – Home – House of Commons of Canada".
  16. ^ "LEGISinfo – Private Member's Bill C-306 (42–1)". www.parl.ca. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  17. ^ "Vote Details". www.ourcommons.ca. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  18. ^ "Team". Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  19. ^ House of Commons (June 2, 2021). "2nd reading of Bill C-233, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sex-selective abortion)". LEGISinfo. Retrieved June 28, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Diotte, Kerry (June 25, 2021). "Post about conversion therapy vote" (photo). Retrieved December 27, 2021 – via Facebook.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "LEGISinfo – Private Member's Bill C-4 (44–1)". www.parl.ca. Retrieved 2021-12-27.
  22. ^ "Diotte loses Edmonton seat". saultstar. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  23. ^ Aiello, Rachel (23 October 2021). "'I want to leave a mark': Meet NDP Blake Desjarlais, Canada's first openly two-spirit MP". ctvnews.ca. Bell Media. CTV News. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Edmonton MP suing university newspaper over articles on his associations with controversial right-wing commentator". Global News. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  25. ^ "Apology and retraction to Kerry Diotte, Member of Parliament". 30 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Edmonton MP wins fight against student newspaper who called him racist | The Star". Toronto Star. 30 April 2019.
  27. ^ City of Edmonton (October 24, 2013). "2013 Official Elections Results" (PDF). Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  28. ^ "Official Voting Results". Elections Canada. 29 February 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  29. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates
  30. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  31. ^ "Official Voting Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  32. ^ "September 20, 2021 Election Results — Edmonton Manning (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 26 September 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  33. ^ "List of confirmed candidates – September 20, 2021 Federal Election". Elections Canada. Retrieved 2 September 2021.

External sources[edit]