Richard Feehan

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Richard John Feehan

Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations
In office
February 2, 2016 – April 30, 2019
Preceded byKathleen Ganley
Succeeded byRick Wilson
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-Rutherford
Assumed office
May 5, 2015
Preceded byFred Horne
Personal details
Born (1960-02-11) February 11, 1960 (age 61)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political partyAlberta New Democratic Party
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta
Alma materWilfrid Laurier University (MSW) University of Calgary (BSW) University of Alberta (BA)
OccupationUniversity instructor and social worker

Richard John Feehan (born February 11, 1960) is a Canadian politician who was elected in the 2015 Alberta general election to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing the electoral district of Edmonton-Rutherford.[1][2] He was made Alberta NDP caucus chair on June 3 and elected deputy chairman of committees on June 12, 2015.[3][4]

Biography, education, and career before politics[edit]

Richard Feehan was born into an Irish-Catholic family on February 11, 1960 to Bernie and Kathleen Feehan. His father was a Judge on the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and his mother was chair of Grant MacEwan’s social work program for 30 years.[5] Feehan has six siblings working in law, academia, psychology, education and social work. He is married with three adult children.

Feehan graduated from St. Francis Xavier High School in 1977. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980 from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary in 1982, and a Masters of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1986.

His work experience before politics includes roles as Vice President of Catholic Social Services, Program Director of the Edmonton Social Planning Council, small business owner of a private social work practice, and social worker at the Glenrose Hospital. He was most recently employed as a tenured instructor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Social Work at the Edmonton division before being elected in May 2015.

He has volunteered with the Canadian Research Institute for Family and the Law as a board member, the Edmonton Community Adult Learners Association as the Board President; the Professional Social Work Education Board as a board member and the Public Education Committee as a member.

Political career[edit]

On May 14, 2013, Feehan publicly launched his campaign to represent Ward 10 on city council in the 2013 Edmonton municipal election. He ran on a platform of local sustainability and infrastructure renewal. He placed second in the 2013 civic election losing to community organizer Michael Walters.

In the fall of 2014 Feehan began campaigning for the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Rutherford. Feehan won the NDP nomination for the provincial riding of Edmonton-Rutherford on Wednesday, November 5. On May 5, 2015 Feehan was elected as the NDP MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford recording the highest voter increase for any party candidate across the province giving the NDP a 55.9% increased in the share of the vote in Edmonton-Rutherford since the 2012 general Alberta Election.[6] It was announced on June 3 that Feehan would act as the NDP’s caucus chair. On June 12, 2015 Members of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly elected Feehan deputy chairman of committees.

On February 2, 2016 Feehan was appointed Minister of Indigenous Relations, a renamed ministry which deals with the relationship between government and Indigenous nations. The day he was elected he stated that he was "very privileged" to serve in what he calls "a fundamentally important role in the province" referring to the portfolio he would take on as Minister of Indigenous Relations.[7] In the coming months and years Feehan's portfolio will focus on the province's role in the expected inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women along with other issues.

Electoral record[edit]

Edmonton municipal election 2013[edit]

Ward 10
Candidate Votes %
Michael Walters 11,807 63.9
Richard John Feehan 3,818 20.7
Hafis Devji 1,509 8.2
Dan 'Can Man Dan' Johnstone 907 4.9
Ray Bessel 444 2.4

2015 Alberta general election[edit]

2015 Alberta general election: Edmonton-Rutherford
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Richard Feehan 11,214 63.48
Progressive Conservative Chris LaBossiere 3,940 22.30
Wildrose Josef Pisa 1,644 9.31
Liberal Michael Chan 741 4.20
Total 17,666
New Democratic gain from Progressive Conservative Swing +55.14%

2019 Alberta general election[edit]

2019 Alberta general election: Edmonton-Rutherford
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Richard Feehan 12,154 54.8% -8.68%
United Conservative Hannah Presakarchuk 7,737 34.9% +3.29%
Alberta Party Aisha Rauf 1,600 7.2% --
Liberal Claire Wilde 375 1.7% -2.5%
Green Valerie Kennedy 191 0.9% --
  Independence Lionel Levoir 117 0.5% --
Total valid votes 22,174
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 50 46 15
Registered electors 33,818
Turnout 65.8%
New Democratic hold Swing -8.25%