Wayne Cao

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Wayne Cao
PC MLA Wayne Cao.jpg
Cao in 2011
MLA for Calgary-Fort
In office
March 11, 1997 – May 5, 2015
Preceded by New district
Succeeded by Joe Ceci
Personal details
Born Nguyễn Cảo
(1946-12-07) December 7, 1946 (age 70)
northern Vietnam
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Kim Hoang
Children William, Winston, and Ulysses
Residence Calgary
Alma mater University of Waterloo
University of Auckland
Occupation Information technology professional
Website http://www.waynecao.ca

Wayne Cao (born Nguyễn Cảo; December 7, 1946) is a Canadian politician and former member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, where he represented the district of Calgary-Fort as a Progressive Conservative. He was first elected in the 1997 provincial election and was re-elected four times. He is perhaps best known as the sponsor of the legislation that led to the enshrining of Alberta. In April 2008, he elected as the Legislature's Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees and served in that position for the 27th Legislature. Mr. Cao also served as a member of the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cao was born December 7, 1946 in northern Vietnam.[2] He studied engineering, mathematics, and computing science in Saigon and at the University of Auckland and the University of Waterloo.[3] After the Vietnam War, he came to California as a refugee - he boarded an American helicopter just before the fall of Saigon - and settled in Calgary in 1976.[4][5] He worked for Shell Petroleum for twenty-six years before taking early retirement in 1997 to enter politics.[3] During this time, he also lectured at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.[3]

Political career[edit]

Cao first sought public office in the 1997 provincial election, when he ran in the riding of Calgary-Fort as the Progressive Conservative.[6] He was elected handily, and was re-elected in each of the next three elections.[6] He supported Jim Dinning in the 2006 P.C. leadership race.[7]

Wayne Cao elected Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Whole Assembly Committees, Legislature, Alberta, Canada, April 2008

In April 2008, he was elected by his legislator colleagues as the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, defeating Len Mitzel and Bridget Pastoor in a secret ballot.[8][9]

Legislative initiatives[edit]

Cao has moved a large number of private member's bills. Of these, the only one to pass was 2001's Alberta Official Song Act, which established a contest for the province's official song, with the winner to be selected by an all party committee of the legislature. It passed with the support of members from all parties, although Progressive Conservative Rob Renner felt that the province's official song should be something that was already known to most Albertans rather than a new song composed for the occasion, and Liberal Hugh MacDonald argued that no official song was necessary, since Alberta already had an "unofficial song", Alberta Bound[10] (which MacDonald recalled hearing Ian Tyson sing at the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics, although the song, along with Four Strong Winds, was actually sung at the opening ceremonies by Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot, the song's composer and singer).[11] The ensuing competition selected Alberta, composed by Mary Kieftenbeld, as the province's official song.[12] Cao followed this bill with efforts to encourage the translation of O Canada into all languages spoken by Canadians; he composed a Vietnamese version and sang it on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[13]

Wayne Cao, Deputy Speaker, Legislature, Alberta, Canada 2008

Cao also made headlines in 2007 with the School (Canadian History Content) Amendment Act, which would have mandated that 75% of the instructional hours in high school social studies courses be devoted to Canadian history.[14] Several MLAs spoke in opposition to the bill, including Liberals Bill Bonko (who felt, as a former school trustee, that any percentage should be mandated by local school boards) and Harry Chase, New Democrat David Eggen (who suggested that global history was as or more important than Canadian history), and Progressive Conservative Education Minister Ron Liepert (who agreed with Eggen and who extolled the virtues of the recently implemented existing social studies curriculum).[15] Outside of the legislature, Progressive Conservatives Neil Brown and Len Webber expressed reservations about the decision being made at the political, rather than local, level.[14] The legislature adjourned before the bill came to a vote.[16]

Cao also sponsored the Employment Standards (Parental Leave) Amendment Act, which would have combined the provisions for adoptive leave and maternity leave and extended them to 27 weeks (Alberta's maternity leave provisions were, at the time, the least generous in the country).[17] He first introduced the bill in 1999, but the legislature adjourned before it reached second reading.[18] He re-introduced it in 2000, when several MLAs, including Liberals Don Massey, Laurie Blakeman, Linda Sloan, and Percy Wickman and Progressive Conservatives Moe Amery, Karen Kryczka, and Mary Anne Jablonski, spoke in support of the bill on second reading.[17][19][20] Only Shiraz Shariff spoke against, citing concerns that the business community hadn't been sufficiently consulted.[19] The bill passed second reading with 34 votes in favour and four (Gary Friedel, Richard Magnus, Barry McFarland, and Rob Renner) against.[20] However, the legislature adjourned while the bill was still in committee.[21]

In 2008, Cao sponsored the Alberta Volunteer Service Medal Act, which would have established a medal for exceptional volunteers.[22] It received bipartisan support from Progressive Conservatives Jonathan Denis, Carl Benito, Neil Brown, and Greg Weadick and Liberals Hugh MacDonald and Darshan Kang, but was ultimately hoisted on a motion from Progressive Conservative Fred Horne.[22][23] The bill's opponents included Liberal Harry B. Chase (who felt that the government's role in volunteer recognition should come in the form of support, rather than in the form of after-the-fact recognition) and Progressive Conservatives Richard Marz (who argued that medals should be restricted to those who had risked their lives), Heather Forsyth (who was concerned by the level of bureaucracy in the bill), George Rogers (who suggested that it duplicated existing government programs), Ray Prins (who was concerned that by singling out individual volunteers it would demean the contributions of those who weren't recognized), and Doug Griffiths (who echoed Rogers' arguments and also expressed concern that the proposed award would have a built in bias in favour of volunteers with large organizations).[22][23]

His other private member's bills have included 1997's Highway Traffic Amendment Act, 2002's Environmental Protection and Enhancement (Residential Land Disclosure) Amendment Act, 2003's Financial Summit Act, and 2004's Government Accountability (Identification of Expenditures) Amendment Act, none of which reached second reading.[24][25][26][27]

In addition to his private member's bills, Cao has sponsored a government bill, the Tobacco Tax Amendment Act of 2003.[26] The bill was in response to an increase in the number of Albertans buying tobacco products out of province, after the government imposed taxes on the import of tobacco products to Alberta that saw taxes on such goods more than double.[28] It passed after little debate.[29] Cao also sponsored a successful private bill in 1998, the Tanya Marie Bryant Adoption Termination Act.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Cao is married to Kim Hoang.[3] The pair have three sons: William (a lawyer), Winston (an engineer), and Willis (a scientist).[3] They also have one grandson.

He identifies Confucius and Winston Churchill as his political heroes.[4]

Election results[edit]

Alberta general election, 1997: Calgary-Fort
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Wayne Cao 4,410 48.82%
Liberal Shirley-Anne Reuben 2,817 31.18%
Social Credit Bren Blanchet 916 10.14%
New Democratic Ken Sahil 891 9.86%
Total 9,034
Rejected, spoiled and declined 53
Eligible electors / Turnout 21,947 41.40%
Source: "1997 General Election". Elections Alberta. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
Alberta general election, 2001: Calgary-Fort
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Wayne Cao 6,740 68.38% 19.56%
Liberal Brian Huskins 2,004 20.39% −10.79%
New Democratic Vinay Dey 501 5.10% −4.76%
Social Credit Raymond Hurst 160 1.61% −8.53%
Green Michael Alvarez-Toye 121 1.27%
Independent Metro Demchynski 102 1.04%
Independent Brian Slater 100 1.02%
Alberta First Wyatt McIntyre 99 1.01%
Total 9,827
Rejected, spoiled and declined 56
Eligible electors / Turnout 22,882 43.19%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing 15.18%
Source: "2001 Statement of Official results Calgary-Fort" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
Alberta general election, 2004: Calgary-Fort
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Wayne Cao 4,139 53.89% −14.49%
Liberal Gerry Hart 1,786 23.25% 2.86%
New Democratic Elizabeth Thomas 584 7.60% 2.50%
Alberta Alliance Travis Chase 524 6.82%
Green Tyler Charkie 439 5.72% 4.45%
Separation Leo Ollenberger 211 2.72% 1.71%1
Total 7,681
Rejected, spoiled and declined 95
Eligible electors / Turnout 23,271 33.42%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing −8.68%
Source: "Calgary-Fort Statement of Official Results 2004 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  1. Results change compared to Alberta First Party in the 2001 general election.
Alberta general election, 2008: Calgary-Fort
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Wayne Cao 4,123 49.81% −4.08%
Liberal Carole Oliver 1,770 21.39% −1.86
New Democratic Julie Hrdlicka 1,178 14.23% 6.63%
Wildrose Alliance Travis Chase 715 8.64% 1.82%
Green Mark Taylor 491 5.93% 0.21%
Total 8,277
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 32
Eligible electors / Turnout 28,974 28.68%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing −2.97%
Source: "Calgary-Fort Statement of Official Results 2008 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. pp. 210–212. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
Alberta general election, 2012: Calgary-Fort
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Wayne Cao 4,829 40.77%
Wildrose Jeevan Mangat 4,719 39.84%
Liberal Said Abdulbaki 1,185 10.01%
New Democratic Don Monroe 799 6.75%
Evergreen Janice Dixon 312 2.63%

External links[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.assembly.ab.ca/committees/resourcestewardship/index.html
  2. ^ "Speech by Wayne Cao from the Alberta Teachers' Association website". Retrieved 2008-04-15. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e "Wayne Cao's Legislative Assembly of Alberta biography". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  4. ^ a b "Calgary candidate profiles, Alberta election 2008". Calgary Sun. Archived from the original on 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  5. ^ "Vietnamese-Albertans honoured with Centennial Medals". Edmonton Journal. February 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  6. ^ a b "Alberta's past election results". Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  7. ^ "Dinning supported by most of Tory caucus". Edmonton Sun. October 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-16. [dead link]
  8. ^ Waugh, Neil (April 15, 2008). "A win's a win for Liberals". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2008-04-16. [dead link]
  9. ^ Fekete, Jason (April 15, 2008). "Liepert tackles health-care reform". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  10. ^ https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_25%5Csession_1%5C20010523_1330_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. May 23, 2001. 
  11. ^ Cole, Cam (February 12, 2008). "Memory of five alive". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  12. ^ "Secrecy shrouds Albertans' song lyrics". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 17, 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  13. ^ "Cao's biography from his website". Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  14. ^ a b Fekete, Jason (November 15, 2007). "Critics see no future in history bill". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  15. ^ https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_26%5Csession_3%5C20071203_1300_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. December 3, 2007. 
  16. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 26th Legislature - 3rd Session (2007)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  17. ^ a b https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_24%5Csession_4%5C20000516_1330_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. May 16, 2000. 
  18. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 3rd Session (1999)". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  19. ^ a b https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_24%5Csession_4%5C20000523_1330_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. May 23, 2000. 
  20. ^ a b https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_24%5Csession_4%5C20001115_1330_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. November 15, 2000. 
  21. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 4th Session (2000)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  22. ^ a b c https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_27%5Csession_1%5C20080421_1330_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. April 21, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_27%5Csession_1%5C20080428_1330_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. April 28, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 1st Session (1997)". Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  25. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 25th Legislature - 2nd Session (2002)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  26. ^ a b "Bill Status Report for the 25th Legislature - 3rd Session (2003)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  27. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 25th Legislature - 4th Session (2004)". Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  28. ^ https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_25%5Csession_3%5C20030415_2000_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. April 15, 2003. 
  29. ^ https://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files%5Cdocs%5Chansards%5Chan%5Clegislature_25%5Csession_3%5C20030512_2000_01_han.pdf |chapter-url= missing title (help) (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Legislative Assembly of Alberta. May 12, 2003. 
  30. ^ "Bill Status Report for the 24th Legislature - 2nd Session (1998)". Retrieved 2008-03-14.