Michael Connolly (Canadian politician)

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Michael Connolly
MLA
Michael Connolly 2015.jpg
Connolly in 2015
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Hawkwood
Assumed office
May 5, 2015
Preceded by Jason Luan
Personal details
Born (1994-03-03) March 3, 1994 (age 24)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Political party Alberta New Democratic Party
Alma mater University of Ottawa
Occupation Student

Michael Robert Davies Connolly (born March 3, 1994) is a Canadian politician who is an elected member to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing the electoral district of Calgary-Hawkwood. Upon election he became the second youngest elected MLA at the age of 21 and one of the first three openly LGBT people elected to the Alberta legislature, alongside caucus colleagues Ricardo Miranda and Estefania Cortes-Vargas.

He currently serves as deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Private Bills and as a member of the Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future. He has previously served as a member of the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices and the Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee.

Early Career[edit]

Connolly graduated from Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School in 2012 and began studying history and political science in French immersion at the University of Ottawa (specializing in Scottish politics and nationalism and European integration) that same year. Connolly gained valuable experience while completing an internship with an office of a Member of Parliament. During this time he helped to organize a forum for young women leaders from all over Canada. He has also worked in the retail and hospitality industries.

Connolly is active in the federal and provincial NDP. He was nominated in 2014 as the NDP's candidate for the 2015 federal election in the riding of Calgary Midnapore, but withdrew upon his election to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Legislative Assembly[edit]

Since being elected, Connolly has been known to be a fiercely outspoken MLA[1] sparring with his counterparts on numerous issues, specifically when it came to Gay-Straight Alliances in the province’s schools, LGBTQ rights, and Francophone rights.

Connolly has co-sponsored Bill 2: Supporting Economic and Trade Futures Act, Bill 7: The Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act (which added gender identity and gender expression as expressly prohibited grounds of discrimination into the Alberta Human Rights Act),[2] Bill 12: Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, Bill 29: Vital Statistics and Life Events Modernization Act, and Bill 32: An Act to Strengthen and Protect Democracy in Alberta.

Connolly was at the forefront of the debate on Bill 24, An Act to support Gay-Straight Alliances, which he also co-sponsored. During the debate, Connolly drew on his own past to drum up support for the bill and lambasted Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party when they declared they were going to vote against the Bill. During debate, Connolly stated, "When we have politicians spewing their hateful, bigoted ideology about LGBTQ+ kids, it only makes matters worse for our youth. The words of Jason Kenney and the members of that side of the house [referring to the UCP] matter to our youth. And the fact they are opposing this based on social conservatism and the hatred for the LGBTQ community is disgusting. The members opposite should be ashamed of themselves."[3]

When Mike Ellis, the UCP MLA for Calgary-West, proposed an amendment that would have effectively neutered the Bill, Connolly proclaimed that it was “deeply disappointing that the members opposite continue to peddle dangerous conspiracy theories instead of accepting the simple fact that this is about protecting kids,”[4] and told the UCP that if they couldn’t support the LGBTQ+ community in the legislature they were not welcome at Pride.[5]

In 2016, Connolly was awarded with the Harvey Milk Equality Award at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego for his work with the LGBTQ community.[6] In 2018, Connolly was awarded the Georges A. Arès Award for Political Leadership by the Association Canadien-Francais de l’Alberta for his work towards creating and implementing the first French Policy by the government of Alberta.[7]

Electoral history[edit]

2015 general election[edit]

Alberta general election, 2015: Calgary-Hawkwood
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Michael Connolly 7,443 36.4
Progressive Conservative Jason Luan 6,378 31.2
Wildrose Jae Shim 4,448 21.7
Alberta Party Beth Barberree 925 4.5
Liberal Harbaksh Singh Sekhon 736 3.6
Green Polly Knowlton Cockett 455 2.2
Social Credit Len Skowronski 90 0.4
Total valid votes 20,475 100.0
Rejected, spoiled and declined 114
Turnout 20,589 61.4
Eligible voters 33,523
Source: Elections Alberta[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Braid: Kenney's UCP opposes new GSA bill, but won't try to fix it". Calgary Herald. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  2. ^ Alberta, Government of. "Province to strengthen human rights legislation". www.alberta.ca. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  3. ^ "UCP opposes GSA bill banning parental notification | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  4. ^ "Pages - ATA president applauds passing of GSA bill". www.teachers.ab.ca. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  5. ^ "United Conservative Party accuses government of ulterior motives over gay-straight alliance bill". Edmonton Journal. 2017-11-10. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  6. ^ Sanchez, Tatiana. "LGBT community marks annual Harvey Milk breakfast". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  7. ^ ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Société -. "Les députés Annie McKitrick et Michael Connolly récompensés à la soirée George A. Arès". Radio-Canada.ca (in French). Retrieved 2018-07-16. 
  8. ^ "2015 Provincial General Election Results". Elections Alberta. Archived from the original on 2017-07-30. Retrieved 2017-07-30.