Raj Sherman

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Raj Sherman
Raj Sherman cropped.jpg
Leader of Official Opposition of Alberta
In office
September 12, 2011 – April 23, 2012
Preceded byDavid Swann
Succeeded byDanielle Smith
Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party
In office
September 10, 2011 – January 26, 2015
Preceded byDavid Swann
Succeeded byDavid Swann (interim)
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-Meadowlark
In office
March 3, 2008 – May 5, 2015
Preceded byMaurice Tougas
Succeeded byJon Carson
Personal details
Born1965 (age 55–56)
Rajasthan, India
Political partyLiberal (2011-present)
Other political
Progressive Conservative (2008–2010)
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta
Alma materUniversity of Alberta
OccupationEmergency Physician

Rajnish K. "Raj" Sherman[1] (born 1965) is an Alberta politician and former Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-Meadowlark; which he formerly represented as a Progressive Conservative. Sherman was elected leader of the Liberal Party on September 10, 2011, and led the party through the 2012 provincial election. He announced his immediate resignation on January 26, 2015, and that he will not be running for a third term as MLA in the next provincial election.[2]

Early life[edit]

Sherman was born in 1965[3] in India but grew up in Squamish, British Columbia after moving there in 1975. As a youngster, he delivered newspapers for The Vancouver Sun and The Province. The third of four sons, Sherman moved to Canada from India at a young age. He moved to Edmonton in the early 1980s to attend the University of Alberta. He graduated from faculty of medicine in 1990, specializing in family and emergency medicine. In addition to being a doctor, Sherman was also a clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta and president of the Emergency Physicians of Alberta within the Alberta Medical Association.

Political career[edit]

Sherman first sought public office in the March 2008 provincial election in the constituency of Edmonton-Meadowlark. The seat was left vacant after incumbent Liberal MLA Maurice Tougas retired. Sherman, running as a Conservative candidate, won the riding comfortably, receiving 2,752 votes over his closest rival, Liberal Debbie Cavaliere. After his election, he was named parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health and Wellness, Ron Liepert. He also serves as a member of the Standing Committee on Health and the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing. He works as an emergency department doctor on Sundays.[4]

In November 2010, Sherman criticized the government for emergency department wait times in Alberta. He was suspended from the Progressive Conservative caucus and sat as an independent MLA. The following spring, he announced his intention to seek the Alberta Liberal Party leadership. At the 2011 leadership convention, he was elected on the first ballot.[5]

In the 2012 Alberta election, Sherman was successful in retaining his seat of Edmonton-Meadowlark with 35.5% of the vote, this time as a member of the Liberal Party. He defeated PC candidate Bob Maskell by 118 votes (0.8%). In the election, the Liberals fell from Official Opposition to third party status behind the PCs and Wildrose. Despite losing almost 17% of the popular vote in a very hotly contested election, the vote was concentrated in enough ridings to retain 5 of their previous MLA's and keep ahead of the NDP. The Liberals lost Edmonton-Riverview, Edmonton-Gold Bar and Calgary-Varsity to the Progressive Conservatives due to tactical voting[citation needed] and the retirement of the incumbent MLAs.

Sherman announced his immediate resignation as Liberal leader on January 26, 2015 citing personal reasons and also announced that he will not run for re-election as an MLA but would remain in the legislature until the next election. Sherman was under investigation by Elections Alberta after allegations he breached political contribution limits by donating more than $15,000 to the party and resigned prior to the results of the investigation being released.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Sherman has coached soccer and basketball, served as the director for the Society of Helping Lives in Poverty, and is a past member of the McKernan housing community. He received a gold pin for his service with STARS and a bronze medal from the Alberta Northwest Lifesaving Society. In his spare time, Sherman enjoys sports, travel and the arts.

While in medical school, Sherman married at the age of 21 and had two children. The marriage ended several years later in part, Sherman says, because as a young doctor he "was never home."[6][7]

Election results[edit]

2008 Alberta general election: Edmonton-Meadowlark
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Raj Sherman 6,174 54.83% 15.36%
Liberal Debbie Cavaliere 3,423 30.40% -10.86%
New Democratic Pascal Ryffel 1,010 8.97% -3.18%
Green Amanda Doyle 347 3.08% 0.82%
Wildrose Richard Guyon 306 2.72%
Total 11,260
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 38
Eligible electors / Turnout 28,602 39.50% -5.79%
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing 11.32%
Source: "Elections Alberta 2008 General Election". Elections Alberta. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
2012 Alberta general election: Edmonton-Meadowlark
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Raj Sherman 5,149 35.48 +5.08
Progressive Conservative Bob Maskell 5,031 34.67 -20.16
Wildrose Rick Newcombe 2,977 20.52 +17.80
New Democratic Bridget Stirling 1,092 7.53 -1.44
Alberta Party Neil Mather 262 1.81
Total 14,511
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 82
Eligible electors / Turnout 27,506 53.05% 13.55%
Liberal gain from Progressive Conservative Swing -11.81%