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Ted Morton

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Ted Morton
Morton in 2014
Minister of Energy
In office
October 12, 2011 – May 8, 2012
PremierAlison Redford
Preceded byRon Liepert
Succeeded byKen Hughes
Minister of Finance and Enterprise
In office
January 15, 2010 – January 27, 2011
PremierEd Stelmach
Preceded byIris Evans
Succeeded byLloyd Snelgrove
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
In office
December 15, 2006 – January 15, 2010
PremierEd Stelmach
Preceded byDavid Coutts
Succeeded byMel Knight
Member of the
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
for Foothills-Rocky View
In office
November 22, 2004 – April 23, 2012
Preceded byRiding established
Succeeded byRiding abolished
Personal details
Frederick Lee Morton

(1949-03-28) March 28, 1949 (age 75)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • American
  • Canadian
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Residence(s)Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisSexual Equality and the Family in the United States Supreme Court (1981)
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
School or traditionCalgary School
InstitutionsUniversity of Calgary
Doctoral studentsIan Brodie

Frederick Lee Morton ECA (born 1949), known commonly as Ted Morton, is an American-Canadian politician and former cabinet minister in the Alberta government. As a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, he represented the constituency of Foothills-Rocky View as a Progressive Conservative from 2004 to 2012 (in the 26th and 27th Alberta Legislative Assemblies). He did not win reelection in the 2012 Alberta general election. Morton was a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Association in its 2006 and 2011 leadership elections. Morton is currently Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Calgary.[1]

Personal life


Morton was born in Los Angeles on March 28,[citation needed] 1949.[2] In 1952, Morton moved with his parents to Casper, Wyoming. Morton moved to Canada in 1981 and became a Canadian citizen in 1991. He received dual citizenship in 1993.[3] Morton and his wife Patricia have three children.[4]

Political views


In 2001 Ted Morton (who at the time was considered by some to be an "Alberta Senator-elect" despite that status not being legally recognized), Stephen Harper (then-President of the National Citizens’ Coalition), Tom Flanagan, and Ken Boessenkool, (Chief of Staff to Premier Christy Clark's) sent a letter to Alberta's former Premier Ralph Klein, now known as the "Firewall Letter", in which they called for Alberta to exercise its constitutional provincial powers including: "withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan, ending the provincial contract with the RCMP, a provincial take-over of health care decision-making, and collecting revenue for the province from income tax" in order to "limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach on legitimate provincial jurisdiction."[5]

Academic career


Morton obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College and earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in political economy from the University of Toronto.[4] During his time in college, Morton was involved in protests against the Vietnam War.[citation needed] In 1981, Morton joined the faculty of the University of Calgary as a political science professor.[4]

He has published several books, often focusing on criticisms of the role of the judiciary and Charter of Rights jurisprudence, including The Charter Revolution and the Court Party co-authored with Rainer Knopff in 2000,[6][7] Morgentaler v. Borowski: Abortion, the Charter and the Courts (1992, winner of the 1993 Writer Guild of Alberta's Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction,[8] and Law, politics, and the Judicial Process in Canada (1984). Morton has published more than fifty scholarly articles and his columns have appeared in the National Post, the Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Sun.

According to Morton and Knopff, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows interest groups to use litigation and mass media to avoid the democratic process and achieve their own ends. In The Charter Revolution, Morton embraced the practice of judicial restraint, claiming that the Charter has become a political instrument and that the locus of policy should move away from activist courts back to elected officials.[9]: 10–11  Much of the analysis is devoted to questions of symbolism and ideology that were embedded in the Charter's introduction. By changing both the symbolic framework and the institutional structures of Canadian politics, the Charter of Rights has permanently altered the way Canadians organize their political life.[6]: 3 

Calgary School


By the late 1990s, Morton along with conservatively inclined University of Calgary colleagues (many of whom were also in the Political Science Department) Tom Flanagan, Barry F. Cooper, Rainer Knopff, Roger Gibbins and history professor David Bercuson, became known as the Calgary School, a phrase coined by Johns Hopkins University political science professor David Rovinsky,[10][11][12] Morton is "pro-life, anti-gay-marriage, anti-deficit at all costs and open to more private health care."[9][10][11][12][13]: 32–37  in a 1998 The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) paper. At that time Western Canada was of heightened importance to Americans, not only for its increasing political weight but also because of its population and economic growth. The Washington, DC–based (CSIS) was investigating Western Canada's increasing weight in forming Canadian national public policy.[9][11][12][a]

By 1998, CSIS, a public policy research institution based in Washington, DC had already observed the ascendancy of the role of Calgary-based academics on Canadian public policy, specifically the Calgary School of political science.[9]: 10 

In his December 2010 letter entitled, "Advice to progressives from the Calgary School", Tom Flanagan cited Knopff and Morton as examples of academics who "tackle controversial topics that people care about". "In The Court Party, Knopff and Morton took on judicial activism. Cooper and Bercuson’s Deconfederation undermined the Meech Lake agenda of endless concessions to Quebec. In First Nations? Second Thoughts, I stood up against the juggernaut of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. All these books were widely discussed in the media and have had some impact on the course of public affairs."[11]

Political career


Morton was elected as a Reform Party senator-in-waiting in the 1998 Alberta Senate nominee election.[4]

In 2001, Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day appointed him Parliamentary Director of Policy and Research for the party. That same year, he was one of a group of six Albertans (including Stephen Harper—later to become prime minister in 2006) who authored the "Alberta Agenda," also known as the Firewall Letter, a manifesto that called on the government of Alberta to use all of its constitutional powers to reduce the influence of the Federal government in the province, including the creation of a provincial police force to replace the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan in favour of a provincial pension plan.

MLA for Foothills-Rocky View


In the 2004 Alberta general election, Morton won the newly created seat of Foothills-Rocky View and now sits as an MLA for the Progressive Conservatives. In that role, he has advocated for tax cuts, for increased saving of energy revenues, for a lobbyist registry, for fixed election dates, against the 2005 Prosperity Bonus, and against same-sex marriage. He introduced Bill 208 (2006), which would have legislated protections for individuals who oppose gay marriage, allowed provincial marriage commissioners to refuse to perform same-sex marriages, and added an opt-out clause for students and teachers where same-sex marriage is included in the curriculum.[14][15] This Bill was criticized by some public figures as legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians, and failed to come to a vote due to procedural tactics employed by opposition members.[16][17]

PC leadership candidate, 2006


As a candidate in the 2006 PC leadership election to replace Ralph Klein, Morton placed second to front runner Jim Dinning on the first ballot, and third behind Dinning and winner Ed Stelmach on the second ballot. His platform included implementing the components of the Firewall Letter, opposing judicial activism, implementing the provision of Bill 208, introducing fixed election dates, lowering taxes and capping public spending growth, and introducing private health insurance and clinics.[18][19]

Minister of Sustainable Resource Development


On December 15, 2006, Morton was named Minister of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD).

Métis Harvesting in Alberta policy, 2007


In 2007 the Government of Alberta unilaterally cancelled the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement. The SRD adopted a replacement policy which Morton contended complied with Métis hunting rights as set out in the Supreme Court of Canada's R v Powley decision.[20]

In September 2011, CBC revealed that Norton had been using a "nom de plume" – his first and middle names – Frederick Lee – as "covert email" while serving as minister of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD).[21]

According to a former ministry staff member who spoke with the CBC, the SRD's communications director explained at a July 2007 meeting, to SRD staff that Morton used the email address "when he didn't want people to know it was him doing the writing."[21] In a November 15, 2008 email, "Frederick Lee" directed his SRD staff to revise legislation relating to the potential land rights of Métis people.[21] Morton explained in the email that, "'Metis settlements' have never been considered 'private lands' in the conventional sense of the term in Alberta, and now is not the time to start ... If the Metis settlements suddenly want to share in some of the potential benefits of private land ownership, do they also want to be subject to all the other restrictions and duties that attach to private land ownership in Alberta? I doubt it. They cannot have their cake and eat it too."[21]

Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) said that the 2007 policy is a violation of their constitutional harvesting rights. In 2018, the Government of Alberta and the MNA are reviewing the policy collaboratively to advance reconciliation.[22][23]

Alberta Land Stewardship Act, 2009


In this position, Morton developed a land use framework in 2008[24]

According to the CBC 2011 investigation of Morton "covert" email, he used his "nom de plume" when he was working with SRD staff on "new land-use legislation that subsequently caused many rural Albertans to question whether their private land rights had been undermined".[21]



Morton also introduced an online licensing system and community website for fishing and hunting,[25][26] and expanded youth hunting opportunities by allowing Sunday hunting and introducing an official Provincial Hunting Day[27][28] and Waterfowler Heritage Days.[29] He also oversaw the opening of the Bow Habitat Station,[30][31] an aquatic ecosystem interpretive centre that promotes the education of stewardship to youth.

Minister of Finance


On January 15, 2010, Morton was sworn in as minister of finance and enterprise by Premier Ed Stelmach in a major cabinet shuffle.[32] In this position, Morton discussed plans for dealing with Alberta's large deficit, criticized the Canada Health Transfer,[33] and released a joint statement with Quebec Minister of Finances and Revenue Raymond Bachand opposing the creation of a federal securities regulator.[34]

PC leadership candidate, 2011


On January 27, 2011 he resigned his cabinet post as minister of finance to seek the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.[35] His renewed leadership bid coupled with his 2006 support for bringing private health care into Alberta's public health care system has raised concerns by Friends of Medicare, and others about the negative consequences of American-style health care being brought to Alberta.[36][37] He finished fourth out of six candidates on the ballot with 11.7% of the vote and was eliminated from the second round ballot.[38]

Energy Minister


On October 12, 2011, he was sworn in as Energy Minister and served in that role until the provincial election that was called for April 23, 2012. He lost his seat in that election to Bruce McAllister of the Wildrose Party.

After politics


Morton is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and Senior Fellow, Energy and Environment, at the Manning Foundation.[39] He also serves on the Board of the Alberta Land Institute and was a member of the Board of Governors of the Council of Canadian Academies from 2013 to 2016. In 2017, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he was student in 1969-70.

In 2018, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation gave its annual tax fighter award to "the Calgary School", Barry Cooper, Tom Flanagan, Rainer Knopff and Ted Morton at the Calgary Petroleum Club.[40]

Alberta separatism, 2018


In 2018, Ted Morton said that while he did not support Alberta leaving Canada, "the status quo is just as unacceptable...And if the powers-that-be refuse to address the status quo then the case for separation, of course, becomes stronger. The failure of Ottawa and other provinces to address this issue is going to push more and more Albertans to the separation option, which would be unfortunate because there are solutions in between....If you just isolate the economics, a separate Alberta would be financially better off."[41] In 2020, Morton co-edited a volume of essays laying out a plan for greater self-determination for Alberta, with separation as a "viable last resort."[42]

Election results

2004 Alberta general election results ( Foothills-Rocky View ) Turnout 50.5%
Affiliation Candidate Votes %
  Progressive Conservative Ted Morton 6,782 60.3%
  Liberal Herb Coburn 1,956 17.4%
Alberta Alliance Jason Herasemluk 1,088 9.7%
Green Shelley Willson 1,188 10.6%
  NDP Roland Schmidt 232 2.1%
2008 Alberta general election: Foothills-Rocky View
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Ted Morton 6,916 57.41% −2.90%
Liberal Herb Coburn 2,200 18.26% 0.87%
Wildrose Alliance Joseph McMaster 1,797 14.92% 5.92%
Green Larry Ashmore 937 7.78% −2.78%
New Democratic Ricardo de Menzies 196 1.63% −0.43%
Total 12,046
Rejected, spoiled and declined 84
Eligible electors / turnout 25,223 48.04% -2.50%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing -1.88%
Source: The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly (PDF). Elections Alberta. pp. 408–413. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
2012 Alberta general election: Chestermere-Rocky View
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Wildrose Bruce McAllister 10,165 58.36%
Progressive Conservative Ted Morton 6,154 35.33%
Liberal Sian Ramsden 564 3.24%
New Democratic Nathan Salmon 536 3.08%
Total 17,419
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 59
Eligible electors / turnout 31,652 55.22%
Wildrose pickup new district.
Source: "54 - Chestermere-Rocky View Official Results 2012 Alberta general election". officialresults.elections.ab.ca. Elections Alberta. Retrieved May 21, 2020.


  1. ^ "There are tensions between the socially conservative and economically conservative factions within the school. Bercuson publicly criticized Morton's social policies, saying "[they] were hard to stomach for a libertarian." (McLean, Archie. "Morton would use Alberta as his 'guinea pig': Social, religious views will drive policy, expert says", Edmonton Journal, 2 December 2006.) Such division brings into question whether its members reflect a coherent "school" of thought (Wikipedia article on Calgary School)."


  1. ^ "Frederick L. (Ted) Morton | Department of Political Science | University of Calgary". December 30, 2020. Archived from the original on December 30, 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Wingrove, Josh (August 5, 2011). "Ted Morton: Alberta's charisma-challenged firebrand takes his shot". The Globe and Mail. Edmonton. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Morton's Legislative Assembly of Alberta biography".
  5. ^ Elizabeth May. "British Columbia "firewall" anyone?". Archived from the original on November 16, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Morton, Frederick Lee; Knopff, Rainer (2000). The Charter Revolution and the Court Party. Broadview Press. p. 227.
  7. ^ Morton, Fredrick Lee (1992). "The Charter Revolution and the Court Party". Osgoode Hall Law Journal. 30 (3): 627–652. doi:10.60082/2817-5069.1718.
  8. ^ Alberta Literary Competitions Finalists Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Writersguild.ab.ca (February 12, 2011). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d Rovinsky, David J. (February 16, 1998), "The Ascendancy of Western Canada in Canadian Policy-Making" (PDF), The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Policy Papers on the Americas, vol. IX, no. 22, Washington, archived from the original (PDF) on September 15, 2012, retrieved April 20, 2015
  10. ^ a b Wingrove, Josh (August 5, 2011). "Ted Morton: Alberta's charisma-challenged firebrand takes his shot". The Globe and Mail. Edmonton, Alberta.
  11. ^ a b c d Tom Flanagan (2010). "Advice to progressives from the Calgary School: Response to Sylvia Bashevkin". The Literary Review of Canada. Toronto, CA: Literary Review of Canada. ISSN 1188-7494. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Frédéric Boily, ed., Stephen Harper: De l’Ecole de Calgary au Parti conservateur: les nouveaux visages du conservatisme canadien (Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2007).
  13. ^ Thompson, Suzy (March 2008), "Perspectives On A Province: Constructing Morton", Alberta Views, vol. 11, no. 2
  14. ^ Bill-208
  15. ^ "Archived copy". www.assembly.ab.ca. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Time runs out in Alta. for anti-gay marriage bill". CTV News. May 10, 2006. Archived from the original on March 5, 2007.
  17. ^ "Alberta same-sex bill blocked by opposition". CBC News. August 28, 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  18. ^ "Ted Morton - Our Future. Our Choices". Archived from the original on November 28, 2006. Retrieved April 6, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "Ted Morton talks about private clinics". YouTube. November 16, 2006.
  20. ^ "Supreme Court of Canada - Decisions - R. V. Powley". Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  21. ^ a b c d e Rusnell, Charles (September 8, 2011). "Morton used covert email for ministerial communications". CBC News. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Métis Harvesting Rights Update". Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA). November 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  23. ^ "Alberta Metis table petition on Harvesting in Legislature". Albertametis.ca. November 29, 2007. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  24. ^ Landuse Framework Dec3, 2008
  25. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (May 12, 2008). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  26. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (June 2, 2008). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  27. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (September 13, 2007). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  28. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (September 18, 2009). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  29. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (August 27, 2009). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  30. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (October 2, 2009). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  31. ^ "Bow Habitat Station". Archived from the original on November 3, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  32. ^ Government of Alberta. Alberta.ca (January 13, 2010). Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  33. ^ "On the record: Ted Morton – The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. October 15, 2010.
  34. ^ "Quebec, Alberta again reject national regulator". CBC News. June 15, 2010.
  35. ^ "Resignation". Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  36. ^ "Tory Shake Up Raises Health Care Fears". Archived from the original on February 3, 2011.
  37. ^ Lakritz, Naomi (February 15, 2011). "Private health insurance ensures you pay – lots". Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alberta. p. A12. Retrieved January 9, 2024 – via newspapers.com.
  38. ^ "Results". Archived from the original on September 22, 2011. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  39. ^ "Hon. Ted Morton Appointed as Senior Fellow, Energy and Environment at the Manning Foundation for Democratic Education - Yahoo Finance Canada". Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  40. ^ The Calgary School had political reach far beyond the city and country: Among Osama bin Laden’s possessions was a book: New Political Religions, or An Analysis of Modern Terrorism, authored by Cooper Licia Corbella May 21, 2018
  41. ^ Separatism, deal with Alberta or support will rise Rick Bell December 14, 2018
  42. ^ Fawcett, Max (October 8, 2020). "OPINION | Why separation is not a solution, or even a credible bluff | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved February 21, 2021.