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Thomas Dang

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Thomas Dang
MLA
Thomas Dang 2015.jpg
Dang in 2015
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-South West
Assumed office
May 5, 2015
Preceded by Matt Jeneroux
Personal details
Born (1995-04-07) April 7, 1995 (age 23)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political party Alberta New Democratic Party
Residence Edmonton, Alberta
Occupation Politician

Thomas Kyle Dang (born April 7, 1995) is a Canadian politician who was elected in the Alberta general election, 2015 to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing the electoral district of Edmonton-South West.[1] Dang is the youngest MLA to ever be elected in Alberta.[2]

Dang is a member of the first Alberta NDP Government Caucus in the history of the province. Dang advocated heavily for the new South-West high school and hospital, both of which were announced during his tenure.[3][4] He also put forward motions related to education and most notably, changes to Daylight Savings Time in Alberta.

Political career[edit]

Dang entered politics as a candidate for the New Democratic Party of Alberta. He currently serves as a member of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, the Special Standing Committee on Members' Services and the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship. He previously served as a member of the Standing Committee on Private Bills.[5]

Early career[edit]

Dang was a computer science student at the University of Alberta. He also wrote a blog on provincial politics. He defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative MLA Matt Jeneroux on the May 5, 2015 election that saw the Alberta NDP sweep the city of Edmonton and win a majority government, the first switch of governing parties in the province since the 1971 election.[6] As of 2014–15, he is a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity at the University of Alberta,[2][7] of which former Premier Peter Lougheed was also a member.

Community Advocacy[edit]

South-West High School[edit]

In November 2017, Premier Rachel Notley and Education Minister David Eggen announced with Dang a new high school for the southwest region of Edmonton.The province announced the new high school will have space for 1800 students and was in response to the dramatic growth in that part of the city.

Dang had been advocating for the school for several years and engaged with families, parent councils, and stakeholders over their clear need for a new high school.[4]

South-West Hospital[edit]

In May 2017, the Alberta Government announced a new hospital in southwest Edmonton. The location was chosen in part due to its proximity to both Anthony Henday Drive and the Queen Elizabeth Highway 2 (Alberta). The location is also near a proposed future LRT expansion. This decision was in part due to advocacy by Dang and he was on hand for the announcement.[3]

P3 School Issues[edit]

Dang has been an advocate for parents and students experiencing issues with the Public–private partnership schools built in the Edmonton area. The schools have experienced issues with drainage issues leading to mud pits and large fences installed by the contractor.[8] Dang has asked questions in Question Period of both the Education Minister[9] and Infrastructure Minister[10] and received commitments from the Government to work on resolving the issue.

Racism and Refugees[edit]

Throughout his political career, Dang has been a vocal advocate on refugee and anti-racism issues. His parents were Chinese-Vietnamese refugees from Vietnam.[2] He has spoken out against racism in politics in the Legislature[11] and supported Vietnamese people who came to Alberta as refugees.[12] Dang has criticized Jason Kenney for mocking refugees as Kenney compared his own emigration from Saskatchewan to refugee Canadians.[13]

Youth and Bullying[edit]

Dang put forward Motion 503 in his first session as an MLA, urging the Government to consult with school boards and youth to encourage student participation on boards. This was aimed to increasing dialogue and student engagement on democratic governance. The motion was passed unanimously with bi-partisan support in the assembly.[14] The motion read as follows:

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to consult with school boards and youth to encourage senior high school student participation on boards with a view to increasing dialogue, increasing student engagement in board policy and planning, and educating students about democratic governance.

Notice of Motion 507 was given on Day 2 of the second session on the order paper. This motion was aimed at ensuring that students and parents were ready to deal with all facets of bullying in an ever-evolving technological world. The notice of motion reads as follows:[15]

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to take steps to increase awareness in Alberta's schools of the effects of cyberbullying.

Motion 507 was passed unanimously with bi-partisan support in the assembly.[16]

Tourism Week[edit]

In spring 2016, Dang tabled Bill 204, The Alberta Tourism Week Act. This bill would create a tourism week in legislation that would occur in the first week of June starting 2017. The Bill has currently passed first and second reading in the Legislature.[17]

Daylight Saving Time[edit]

In late 2016, Dang announced that he planned to table a bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time in Alberta. Dang said he had been working on this file since it had been brought up at an NDP policy convention. He has stated that he intends to lead a public consultation on the issue in advance of his bill in 2017. [18] [19] [20]

On February 13, 2017, Dang announced an online consultation process that would take place until the end of February. He received widespread support from young families and members of the agricultural industry. Egg farmers have cheered the proposal, because the time change “plays havoc with the natural rhythm of poultry.” Dang also announced that he hoped to have a bill ready to be tabled in mid-March.[21]

Dang tabled Bill 203, the Alberta Standard Time Act on March 14, 2017.[22] The bill would set the Alberta Standard Time to UTC−6. This was done after his online consultation showed that 82% of respondents prefer not changing their clocks twice a year, and 59% of respondents prefer to have daylight in the late afternoon.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Dang played competitive table tennis as a junior for many years, competing across Canada and in the United States of America.[citation needed] He was a member of the Edmonton Table Tennis Club.[24]

He also plays the Alternate Reality Game, Ingress created by Niantic.[25]

Electoral history[edit]

2015 general election[edit]

Alberta general election, 2015: Edmonton-South West
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Thomas Dang 11,729 53.0%
Progressive Conservative Matt Jeneroux 6,319 28.6%
Wildrose Cole Kander 2,291 10.4%
Liberal Rudy Arcilla 1,202 5.4%
Alberta Party Krishna Tailor 575 2.6%

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Riding results: Edmonton — South West". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Five questions with Thomas Dang, The Alberta NDP's 20-year-old MLA". Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Gerein, Keith (May 30, 2017). "Construction on Edmonton's 'badly needed' new hospital will be done by 2026". Edmonton Journal. 
  4. ^ a b Parrish, Julia (November 17, 2017). "Province announces plans for new high school in southwest Edmonton". CTV News. 
  5. ^ "MLA Biography". Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Archived from the original on 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  6. ^ Jen Gerson (4 May 2015). "A yoga teacher, a Hugo Chavez fan and students: What an NDP government might look like in Alberta". National Post. 
  7. ^ "Undergraduate Chapter Officers". Delta Upsilon Alberta Chapter. Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  8. ^ Cummings, Madeleine (June 5, 2017). "Stuck in the mud: Parents sound off on dirty grounds outside Johnny Bright School". Edmonton Journal. 
  9. ^ Dewar, Kim (December 5, 2017). "Highlights from the legislature". The Alberta Teachers Association. 
  10. ^ "QP on P3 Schools". Facebook. May 29, 2018. 
  11. ^ "Racism in Politics". Facebook. 
  12. ^ "Alberta Hansard". April 30, 2018. 
  13. ^ "Thomas Dang: Jason Kenney Making a Mockery of Refugee Experience". Facebook. August 13, 2017. 
  14. ^ Jones, Braeden (2015-11-03). "Motion for student involvement on Alberta school boards passes". Metro News. Edmonton. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  15. ^ "29th Legislature Day 2 Order Paper". Alberta Hansard. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. March 9, 2016. Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Legislative Assembly House Records" (PDF). 
  17. ^ "Bill 204: Alberta Tourism Week Act (Dang)". Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Retrieved 2016-05-16. 
  18. ^ Stephanie Wiebe (16 December 2016). "About time: Alberta's youngest MLA to table bill aimed at ending daylight saving time". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  19. ^ Josie Lukey (15 December 2016). "NDP MLA Thomas Dang to table bill abolishing daylight savings time | Metro Calgary". metronews.ca. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  20. ^ Johnston, Scott (15 December 2016). "Get rid of daylight saving time switch? Alberta MLA pushing for referendum". Global News. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  21. ^ "Edmonton MLA asks for input into plan to scrap daylight savings time". Edmonton Journal. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  22. ^ Thomson, Stuart. "NDP private member's bill calls for Alberta standard time, no more clock changes". Edmonton Journal. 
  23. ^ Thomas, Brodie. "Bill to keep Alberta on daylight saving time year-round coming: MLA". Metro News. 
  24. ^ "ETTC Member Thomas Dang Elected To Alberta Government". ETTC Blog. 2015-05-08. Archived from the original on 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2015-11-26. 
  25. ^ Neuman, Doug (2015-11-21). "A secret war rages on". St. Albert Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-30.