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Thomas Dang

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Thomas Dang

Thomas Dang 2015.jpg
Dang in 2015
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Edmonton-South
Assumed office
May 5, 2015
Preceded byMatt Jeneroux
Personal details
Born (1995-04-07) April 7, 1995 (age 24)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political partyAlberta New Democratic Party
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta
OccupationPolitician
Websitethomasdang.ca

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.

In April 2019, Thomas Dang was re-elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in the new electoral district of Edmonton-South, defeating the United Conservative Party candidate Tunde Obasan by a narrow margin.[5] Dang continues his political career constituting part of the Official Opposition in the Alberta Legislature.[6]

Political career[edit]

Dang entered politics as a candidate for the New Democratic Party of Alberta. He served 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 also previously served as a member of the Standing Committee on Private Bills.[7]

Dang is seen as a rising star among his caucus; education minister David Eggen called Dang a strong pick as a future education minister due to his leadership and as a role model for young people.[8]

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.[9] As of 2014–15, he is a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity at the University of Alberta,[2][10] 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. It will be the first high school the city as seen in over 12 years.

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]

During the 2019 Alberta Provincial Election, Dang continued to advocate for the need for a new hospital in Edmonton following United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney's non-commitment to following through with the project.

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.[11] Dang has asked questions in Question Period of both the Education Minister[12] and Infrastructure Minister[13] 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[14] and supported Vietnamese people who came to Alberta as refugees.[15] Dang has criticized Jason Kenney for mocking refugees as Kenney compared his own emigration from Saskatchewan to refugee Canadians.[16]

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.[17] 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:[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

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. [21] [22] [23]

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.[24]

Dang tabled Bill 203, the Alberta Standard Time Act on March 14, 2017.[25] 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.[26]

In October 2017, the Alberta Legislature voted against Dang's bill to abolish the time change. This was due in part to pressure from industry groups such as the Oilers Entertainment Group and WestJet. The industries were concerned about the consequences of moving off time change while other jurisdictions continued to.[27] Dang said that despite the vote he would like to continue the conversation and would support moving forward if other jurisdictions such as British Columbia and other parts of North America abolished time change as well.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Dang was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the second child of refugee parents from Vietnam.[29]

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.[30]

He also enjoys playing Ingress, an alternate reality game that involves physically going to different locations as part of the gameplay, with Dang stating that his earlier game-related travels to different parts of Alberta have been helpful since becoming an MLA in the province.[31]

Electoral history[edit]

2019 general election[edit]

Alberta general election, 2019: Edmonton-South
The 2019 general election will be held on April 16.
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Thomas Dang
Alberta Party Pramod Kumar
United Conservative Olatunde Obasan
Green Ben Roach
Total valid votes
Rejected, spoiled, and declined
Registered electors
Turnout

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. ^ "Alberta Election Results 2019 | CTV News". www.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  6. ^ "Notley will stay on to represent Edmonton-Strathcona, lead Official Opposition: Alberta election 2019 | Globalnews.ca". globalnews.ca. April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  7. ^ "MLA Biography". Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  8. ^ French, Janet (February 13, 2019). "Press Gallery interview: Education minister David Eggen defends curriculum review". Edmonton Journal.
  9. ^ Jen Gerson (May 4, 2015). "A yoga teacher, a Hugo Chavez fan and students: What an NDP government might look like in Alberta". National Post.
  10. ^ "Undergraduate Chapter Officers". Delta Upsilon Alberta Chapter. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Cummings, Madeleine (June 5, 2017). "Stuck in the mud: Parents sound off on dirty grounds outside Johnny Bright School". Edmonton Journal.
  12. ^ Dewar, Kim (December 5, 2017). "Highlights from the legislature". The Alberta Teachers Association.
  13. ^ "QP on P3 Schools". Facebook. May 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Racism in Politics". Facebook.
  15. ^ "Alberta Hansard". April 30, 2018.
  16. ^ "Thomas Dang: Jason Kenney Making a Mockery of Refugee Experience". Facebook. August 13, 2017.
  17. ^ Jones, Braeden (November 3, 2015). "Motion for student involvement on Alberta school boards passes". Metro News. Edmonton. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "Legislative Assembly House Records" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Bill 204: Alberta Tourism Week Act (Dang)". Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  21. ^ Stephanie Wiebe (December 16, 2016). "About time: Alberta's youngest MLA to table bill aimed at ending daylight saving time". CBC News. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  22. ^ Josie Lukey (December 15, 2016). "NDP MLA Thomas Dang to table bill abolishing daylight savings time | Metro Calgary". metronews.ca. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  23. ^ Johnston, Scott (December 15, 2016). "Get rid of daylight saving time switch? Alberta MLA pushing for referendum". Global News. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  24. ^ "Edmonton MLA asks for input into plan to scrap daylight savings time". Edmonton Journal. February 14, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  25. ^ Thomson, Stuart. "NDP private member's bill calls for Alberta standard time, no more clock changes". Edmonton Journal.
  26. ^ Thomas, Brodie. "Bill to keep Alberta on daylight saving time year-round coming: MLA". Metro News.
  27. ^ "Terry Jones: Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames concerned about Alberta Standard Time". Edmonton Journal. March 17, 2017. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "Alberta government officially scraps bill that would get rid of Daylight Saving Time". Global News. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "Thomas Dang, MLA". thomasdang.ca. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  30. ^ "ETTC Member Thomas Dang Elected To Alberta Government". ETTC Blog. May 8, 2015. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  31. ^ Neuman, Doug (November 21, 2015). "A secret war rages on". St. Albert Gazette. Retrieved November 30, 2015.