Laurie Blakeman

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Laurie Blakeman
Laurie Blakeman.jpg
MLA for Edmonton-Centre
In office
March 11, 1997 – May 5, 2015
Preceded by Michael Henry
Succeeded by David Shepherd
Personal details
Born (1958-05-23) May 23, 1958 (age 57)[1]
Edmonton, Alberta
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Ben Henderson
Residence Edmonton, Alberta
Occupation Non-profit manager

Laurie Blakeman (born May 23, 1958) is a Canadian politician, who represented the electoral district of Edmonton-Centre in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. She is a member of the Alberta Liberal Party, and was first elected in the 1997 election.

Early life[edit]

She graduated with a bachelor's degree in fine arts in acting and a certificate in public administration from the University of Alberta.[2] Before entering politics, she worked for the Alberta Advisory Council on Women's Issues, the Phoenix Theatre and Theatre Network, the Medical Council of Canada, and the Alberta Snowmobile Association.[2]

Political career[edit]

Electoral record[edit]

Blakeman first sought political office in the 1997 provincial election, when she ran as a Liberal candidate in Edmonton-Centre to replace retiring Liberal MLA Michael Henry.[3] She was elected, finishing more than a thousand votes ahead of the second place finisher, Progressive Conservative Don Weideman.[3] This gap narrowed when Weideman challenged her re-election bid in the 2001 election,[3] but grew to more than three thousand votes in 2004.[4] The 2008 election would bring a new Progressive Conservative Opponent, in Bill Donahue, but a similar result, as Blakeman handily retained her seat.[5] For the 2015 election, Laurie ran for three political parties, Liberal, Alberta Party and Greens.[6] All to no avail as she lost her seat in the legislature in the 2015 election which saw the NDP sweep to power for the first time. [7]

Legislative initiatives[edit]

In 1997, Blakeman sponsored the Domestic Abuse Act, a private member's bill that never reached second reading.[8] In 1998, she brought forward the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Amendment Act, another private member's bill, which would have expanded the province's anti-discrimination legislation to include sexual orientation as a basis on which discrimination was prohibited[9] (later the same year, the Supreme Court of Canada, in Vriend v. Alberta, ruled Alberta's failure to include this to be in contravention of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms);[10] it too failed to advance to second reading.[11]

In 1999, Blakeman sponsored the Consumers Insurance Company Act, a private bill designed to create a new insurance company, in compliance with the law that new insurance companies could only be created by acts of the legislature.[12] However, the bill faced some opposition from Blakeman's Liberal colleagues, including Linda Sloan, Hugh MacDonald, and Gary Dickson, who expressed concern that the bill might be a step towards privatized medicine.[12][13] The bill passed.[14]

In 2007, Blakeman sponsored the Healthy Futures Act, which would have required major policy and funding decisions to undergo "health impact assessments", which would look at their impacts on Albertans' health through social and environmental impacts.[15] Blakeman's Liberal colleagues supported the bill, as did the New Democrats (although NDP MLA Ray Martin expressed concern that the bill only required assessment, rather than action, on potential adverse health impacts)[15] and several Progressive Conservatives.[16] Even so, it was defeated through majority opposition of the Progressive Conservatives, many of whom expressed the view that the bill would add nothing meaningful that did not already exist under the existing regulatory framework, while, in the words of PC MLA Dave Rodney, "effectively bring[ing] the decision- making apparatus of the government and this Assembly to a grinding halt."[15][16]

Leadership aspirations[edit]

After Kevin Taft announced his intention to resign the leadership of the Alberta Liberal Party following its defeat in the 2008 election, Blakeman was one of four MLAs to express interest in running in the ensuing election to replace him.[17] However, in August she announced that she would not do so, citing the cost of a candidacy.[18] She was a candidate in the 2011 leadership election, placing third.

Critic Portfolios[edit]

  • Liberal Opposition House Leader
  • Critic for Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
  • Critic for Culture
  • Critic for Justice and Solicitor General
  • Critic for Municipal Affairs

Personal life[edit]

Blakeman is married to Edmonton city councillor Ben Henderson.[19]

Election results[edit]

Alberta general election, 1997: Edmonton-Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Laurie Blakeman 4,769 43.96% −3.63%
Progressive Conservative Don Weideman 3,634 33.50% 4.74%
New Democratic Jenn Smith 1,845 17.01% −2.70%
Social Credit Alan Cruikshank 420 3.87% 2.17%
Forum Emil van der Poorten 98 0.90%
Natural Law Richard Johnsen 83 0.76% −0.04%
Total 10,849
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 43
Eligible electors / Turnout 20,907 52.10%
Liberal hold Swing −4.19%
Source: "1997 General Election". Elections Alberta. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
Alberta general election, 2001: Edmonton-Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Laurie Blakeman 5,095 44.01% 0.05%
Progressive Conservative Don Weideman 4,446 38.41% 4.91%
New Democratic David Eggen 1,959 16.92% -0.09%
Communist Naomi Rankin 76 0.66% *
Total 11,576
Rejected, spoiled and declined 105
Eligible electors / Turnout 20,907 51.58%
Liberal hold Swing 2.48%
"Edmonton-Centre Official Results 2001 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
2004 Alberta general election results (Edmonton-Centre) Turnout 49.0%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
     Liberal Laurie Blakeman 6,203 57.1%
     Progressive Conservative Don Weideman 2,622 24.1%
     NDP Mary Elizabeth Archer 1,319 12.1%
Green David Parker 333 3.1%
Alberta Alliance Tony Caterina 280 2.6%
Social Credit Linda Clements 112 1.0%
Alberta general election, 2008: Edmonton-Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Laurie Blakeman 5,042 44.98% −12.09%
Progressive Conservative Bill Donahue 3,291 29.36% 5.24%
New Democratic Deron Bilous 2,163 19.30% 7.16%
Greens David Parker 472 4.21% 1.15%
Wildrose Alliance James Iverson 200 1.78% −0.80%
Alberta Party Margaret Saunter 42 0.37%
Total 11,210
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 109
Eligible electors / Turnout 35,186 32.17%
Liberal hold Swing −8.67%
Source: The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly. Elections Alberta. July 28, 2008. pp. 280–285. 
Alberta general election, 2012: Edmonton-Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Laurie Blakeman 5,589 40.22% −4.76%
Progressive Conservative Akash Khokhar 4,289 30.87% +1.51%
New Democratic Nadine Bailey 2,258 16.25% −3.05%
Wildrose Alliance Barb de Groot 1,759 12.66% 10.88%
Turnout 13,895 49.5%
Source: "Edmonton-Centre Statement of Official Results 2012 Alberta general election". Elections Alberta.


  1. ^ Biographies of Members - Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 25th Legislature. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. December 2001. 
  2. ^ a b Blakeman's Legislative Assembly of Alberta biography at the Wayback Machine (archived October 5, 2006)
  3. ^ a b c "Alberta's past election results". Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  4. ^ Website/files/Statements/28.pdf "Edmonton Centre election results, 2004" Check |url= scheme (help) (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-21. [dead link]
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 1st Session (1997)". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  9. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. March 23, 1998. 
  10. ^ "Gay Teacher Wins Major Civil Rights Case in Canada". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  11. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 2nd Session (1998)". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  12. ^ a b |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. April 19, 1999. 
  13. ^ |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. April 21, 1999. 
  14. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 3rd Session (1999)". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  15. ^ a b c |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. November 26, 2007. 
  16. ^ a b |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. December 3, 2007. 
  17. ^ McLean, Archie (June 27, 2008). "Four MLAs throw hats in Liberal ring". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  18. ^ Beauchesne, Erika (August 19, 2008). "Blakeman decides not to run for Liberal leadership". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  19. ^ Sadava, Mike (October 15, 2007). "Ward 4: Batty returns, Henderson joins her". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-21.