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Meet the Alberta Party leadership candidates

February 13, 2018

The Alberta Party will choose a new leader via a preferential online vote from Feb. 25 to 27.

As a non-partisan organization, the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) encourages its members to engage in the political affairs of the province and participate in all of the political opportunities that are available to them. To that end, we seek to keep our members informed about all parties and candidates who are seeking political office. The three Alberta Party candidates were invited to submit a biography and statement of educational beliefs for publication in the ATA News.

Rick Fraser


Rick Fraser has served as MLA for Calgary-South East for the past six years. Prior to his work serving the constituency, he spent more than 12 years working as an advanced-care paramedic.

Born and raised in Alberta, where his family has lived for 100 years, Rick married into a family of teachers. He and his wife Mishelle reside in southeast Calgary with their two teenage sons, Carson and Thaine, and their dog Rusty.

Previously, Rick served many roles within the Alberta Legislative Assembly, most notably as the associate minister of Recovery and Reconstruction of High River. He currently serves as a member of the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship.

Rick served as president of Calgary paramedics from 2008 to 2010. He sat on the Alberta College of Paramedics committee responsible for developing a critical care paramedic program and overseeing continuing education for all EMS staff in Alberta.

Statement of educational beliefs

We believe in public education.

First and foremost this means supporting our educators, both inside and outside the classroom. It is clear that teachers are overburdened, whether with administrative and other duties, or as a result of class sizes and complexity. We want to commend the Alberta Teachers’ Association for their “#MyClassSizeIs” campaign, which casts a much needed light on a significant challenge in our system that needs to be addressed.

Further, we believe it is critically important to ensure that families are as fully involved as possible in the education of their children. We need to encourage parents and guardians to participate in their students’ learning, and to be active communicators with their teachers.

We believe that children must be protected, and this belief informs our full and unwavering support for gay–straight alliances in all Alberta schools where students request one.

When governments fail to properly invest in education, they aren’t just damaging short-term educational outcomes. They’re damaging our future, and the futures of the children in the system at that moment. We can do better, and we have to do better. The future depends on us making the right choices today.

Kara Levis


Kara Levis is an energy lawyer, a community organizer, a wife and a mom. Kara is running for the leadership of the Alberta Party to put our province before politics. Kara and her husband Rob make their home in Calgary with their three daughters. Kara’s oldest daughters attend the French immersion program at King George School in Calgary.

A lawyer for 10 years, Kara practised corporate
tax law before joining the Energy Law group at
TransCanada. Kara knows first-hand the challenges faced by the energy industry and their impact on Albertans and their families.

Active in Alberta politics at all levels, she co-founded Ask Her, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging more women candidates to run in the 2017 Calgary municipal election and beyond. In 2017 Kara was awarded the WILL Award for Tomorrow’s Leader.

Statement of educational beliefs

Kara Levis is running to be the next leader of the Alberta Party to put our province before politics. Kara believes that it is a core function of the Government of Alberta to ensure that all of our young people have access to high-quality public education wherever they live in our province, and whatever their economic or family situation. Through a high-quality education system we will prepare our young people to take their place in the economy of today and position them to benefit from the economy of the future.

The heart of our education system is our teaching staff, support staff and school administrators, who see our children on a daily basis. Kara Levis believes in putting people before politics and making consultation with educators priority number one when considering any changes to the delivery of K–12 education in this province. Our teachers see the impact of changes and challenges first-hand. Kara wants to empower teachers to teach the Alberta Education curriculum in the manner that best suits the individual needs of learners in those teachers’ schools and communities.

Kara Levis supports putting in place stable revenue generation mechanisms for the province of Alberta to get off the resource revenue rollercoaster so that delivery of our public services like K–12 education is not dependent on the price of oil. Support Kara Levis as the next leader of the Alberta Party to put our province before politics.

Stephen Mandel


Stephen Mandel is an experienced political leader, business person and volunteer.

He served as Edmonton’s mayor from 2004 to 2013. During this time he positioned Edmonton for the future by building new infrastructure, renewing older neighbourhoods and spurring investment in the city. Stephen worked with council, other orders of government, the social sector and businesses to get things done. He helped to bring billions of dollars of new development into Edmonton’s downtown.

Before entering public service, Stephen built and ran a successful business. As president of Mandel Group, he led the company’s activities in residential and commercial real estate development and construction. Stephen was appointed chancellor of Concordia University. He and his wife Lynn are long-time residents of Edmonton, where they raised their children and now enjoy spending time with their grandson.

Stephen was a Progressive Conservative MLA and minister of Health for Edmonton-Whitemud from 2014 – 2015.

Statement of educational beliefs

Friends, our Dream Big campaign aims to bring people together, no matter their age, background or political stripe. As is well known, I am a staunch advocate of our world-class public education system — and its teachers — and I will continue to be if elected leader of the Alberta Party.

As the chancellor of Concordia University of Edmonton, I have taken the university’s message across this province and beyond. We must cultivate independent thinking, ethical leadership and citizenship for the common good from the K–12 system right through to our post-secondary institutions.

The coming years will bring several challenges to both the teaching profession and school governance. How do we prepare children for jobs that may not even exist yet? How can teachers be better supported in an age of digital pedagogy? It is my sincere hope that the Alberta Party becomes the party that works with you on these issues in 2019. We are a party of pragmatic, innovative problem solvers, people searching for creative, forward-thinking solutions to the challenges we face. We are also an open and welcoming party that stands strong for the human rights of all individuals. Because when we turn a blind eye to the rights of any Albertan, we turn our back to all. Our values mirror the ATA’s vision for public education.

So for those of you who want to Dream Big again, join our party. I’m confident if we dream big, work hard and do it together, anything is possible.  ❚


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