Shadow Cabinet

The Green Party of Alberta is proud to have our own Shadow Cabinet, tasked with responding to current events and the current government of Alberta to express how a Green Party Government would run.

The three main goals of our Shadow Cabinet are as follows.

  1. To develop greater capacity in the GPA to respond to issues and to promote better GPA policy development;
  2. To demonstrate greater depth and capacity of the party to outsiders;
  3. To raise the profile and credibility of the GPA generally and attract more people to it.

To contact any of the Cabinet members, you may email info@greenpartyofalberta.ca attention to their respective name.

Biographies and photos are a work in progress so check back often.

Infrastructure and Transit – Pat Cuthbert

Born in Grostenquin, France to a serving airman in the RCAF, Pat immigrated to Canada in 1956. Pat is married and has two grown children from his first marriage.

Currently employed as a driver in the transportation industry with Caron transport for 7 years, previously with Westcan bulk transport for 23 years. While with Westcan, Pat was involved in the development of the employment equity plan for them.  It was presented to Labour Canada, and accepted as written without the need for modification.  Pat offers his congratulations to that committee for their work in making this one of the first that the Federal government accepted “as is”.

Pat has always had a “social conscience”, but with the fiscal stand of the two “left leaning” parties in Canada, he was “forced” to support the party with the better fiscal policy.  Pat could not, in good, faith support the concept of “welfare by debt”.  Our society has sufficient resources that this should not be needed.

About 10 years ago, Pat discovered the policies of the Green Party, and fell in love with the complete package.  Pat has become a more active advocate for the party principles in the past 5 years. With the support of his wife, Pat is looking forward to contributing as much as possible to his cabinet position.

Agriculture – James Friesen

James brings a wide range of experiences to the table: from construction to agriculture and resource extraction. He has been involved in advisory activist levels with many environmental and ecological groups principally concerned with wildlife management and preservation of which Y 2 Y (Yellowstone to Yukon) is still his principal interest. James was involved in stopping the building of the Nuclear Power Plant at Peace River as well as being involved as a promoter and an activist in stopping the Site C Dam in British Columbia.

James was president of Farm Survival at the height of the farm crisis in the mid 1980’s. He has often spoken on the farm crisis and the demise of the small farm and the rise of the corporate agriculture in Alberta. Including speeches at the University of Alberta and the Conference for the Economy and the Environment.

James began his working life on a small farm in northern Saskatchewan. He spent late summers and early falls guiding in the Yukon Territory. At age 21 he moved into hard rock mining in northern Manitoba. James left hard rock mining to mine Potash in Sask. and then moved to Grande Cache Alberta to work in the underground coal mine and was shop-steward for United Steel Worker’s of America.

In the later part of the 1970’s until the late 1980’s he owned and operated a farm in central
Alberta later managing farms and returning to mining in the mid 1990’s after which he managed a small farm raising pigs, sheep, goats and chickens in the Grande Prairie area and also his own small business. James has a Green Certificate in Agriculture and Animal Nutrition/ Farm Management which he received from Lakeland College.

Before remarrying he was a single father of 5 sons. He is currently married to my wife of 25 + years. They have a combined family of 11 adult children of which there are 9 living. His family currently has 39 grandchildren and 10+ great grandchildren. James and family currently reside on a small acreage south of Grande Prairie, Alberta.

Climate Change – Sandy Aberdeen

Sandy has a background in manufacturing and continuous Improvement. Since finishing the Environmental Management Program at the U of C over twenty years ago his passion has become learning about and becoming active with environmental issues.

Climate Change as it relates to food security is one of his major interests. He and his son Brendon started one of Calgary’s first Urban Farms. He is a L.E.A.D. Fellow (Leadership for the Environment and Development). Sandy volunteers for Green Calgary and Citizen’s Climate Lobby and has been trained by former vice president Al Gore to present for the Climate Reality Project. Sandy has lived in Calgary for over thirty years. He and his wife have grown children and six grand children.

Sandy’s policy issues: Fee and dividend price on carbon. Moving Alberta towards a more diverse economy by removing the red tape to enable renewable energy and energy co-ops. Proportional Representation. Creating a sustainable local food-shed. Sandy ran in the Calgary MacKay Nose-Hill riding in 2015.

Sustainable Towns and Cities – Catriona Wright

Catriona is a married mother of two, a stay at home parent, the CEO of the Federal Calgary Rocky Ridge Electoral District Association, and an active community volunteer. She sells Norwex Enviro Products and is currently training to become a mediator. She is passionate about effective communication and bringing people together to solve problems.

Catriona was the Green Party of Canada’s candidate for Rockyridge in the 2015 federal election.

Environment and Ecosystem Health – Sheryl McCumsey

Sheryl worked as a medical technologist in microbiology at the U of A Hospital for many years specializing in anaerobic bacteriology for most of that time. Some interesting opportunities while working there included working on specimens from the Franklin expedition. In more recent years she enjoyed various fun jobs at Mountain Equipment Co-op, a year of journalism at Grant MacEwan University and now works as a Registered Massage Therapist.

As the co-ordinator for Pesticide Free Edmonton for the last 4 years she has investigated local issues while connecting with scientists around the world, gaining insight to ways that allow us to live in harmony with our planet.  This has resulted in contacts with media that includes TV, radio and newspaper.

As well as writing about concerns with pesticides she has done many presentations to the public from the grade 4 level to University and beyond.  She sneaks into classes here and there just to further her education.

Sheryl is also on the board for the local chapter of the Council of Canadians and works with other environmental and social justice organizations.

A general love of the outdoors has taken her up mountains, running long distance races and growing all kinds of things in the garden. A foodie at heart she also enjoys visiting farmers just to see how these very important folks provide us with the food we eat.

Public Finance – Carl Svoboda

Carl is presently retired after a 32-year career as an engineer and a manager in the petroleum industry in Alberta. He holds BSc degrees in chemical engineering from Gonzaga University and in archaeology from the University of Calgary. Carl and his wife Christine are long-time Alberta residents and have two daughters and three grandchildren.

In the course of his career Carl has acquired a sound understanding of economics and finance, and has had frontline industry experience in dealing with the cycles of boom and bust as Alberta has ridden the oil and gas price roller coaster. He has seen PC governments respond with corresponding cycles of profligate spending and brutal retrenchment and an NDP government sleepwalking us into massive debt as they cling to the hope of a big recovery in the oil price.

To deal with the present financial crisis, he would implement Green Party policy by having Alberta institute a sales tax like every other province. The need for this is glaringly obvious, but the other parties are afraid to mention it other than to denounce it. A sales tax, along with a modest and prudent trimming of government expenses, would be a big step toward balanced budgets in the future, and toward the inevitable weaning of Alberta from dependence on petroleum royalty revenue.

Democratic Advancement – James Kohut

James was born and raised in Calgary where he has lived his life. He spent much of his youth being educated in areas such as Petroleum Geology Technology, Advertising Sales, Business Administration and Ski Resort Operations and Management. He has an extremely wide range of work experiences in areas such as geological well logging, seismic, pipeline surveying, ski resort tourism, retail, food services, construction, manufacturing, water services and farming. He use to do fruit tree research in Calgary and is currently a small hobby farm owner where he is growing ground crops, tree fruit and researching grape varieties to grow in high boron and saline irrigation water conditions.

James started to learn about Alberta’s environment beginning in 1969 when he took up fishing on almost a daily basis during the snow free months. As a young person he began to learn about fish habitat destruction almost immediately. In 1975 he became a hard core backpacker traveling the mountain parks where he developed a cognitive baseline of the melting of many ice and snow fields. By 1978 he understood that global warming was occurring from observations of receding ice and snow fields. In 1988 while doing geological well logging in the NWT, he realized while observing and recording the rock record in a deep CO2 well, that humans were likely causing one of the greatest extinctions on the face of the planet.

With his on and off work in the oil patch starting in the early 1980’s and ending in the mid 2000’s, James has witnessed incredible destruction of the Alberta Environment across the province due to poor Conservative Government polices which have created unsustainable economic and population growth along with boom and bust cycles.

He first was exposed to the Alberta Greens Party in about 1991. In 1993 he became a member of Mel Hurtig’s National Party of Canada to help fight against NAFTA and bad environmental policies along with many great Canadians, including Farley Mowat and Margret Atwood. Since 2000 he has fought in 8 elections as a candidate at all levels of government pushing for less globalization, a better environment, monetary reform and participatory democracy, where people make decisions, not just politicians.

James’ life experiences have convinced him that Alberta’s environment, economy, health care system and social systems would be far better off under a real democracy, where people
make decisions within the context of the Constitution and Charter of Rights, rather than just having old school politicians make all the decisions in a top down autocratic or dictatorial manner. He is a champion for the Great Alberta Democracy Upgrade that is so desperately needed. James’ ambition is to see Alberta not only be an energy exporter but to be a leadership exporter of the greatest participatory democracy to the world.

Energy – Roger Gagne

My father was an accountant and I learned by the age of 7 to religiously turn off unneeded lights and appliances. A couple of years later I read a short graphic novel about air pollution and began to make the connections between energy, waste, and environmental impacts.

In 2005 I joined the campaign against developing nuclear power in Alberta. Having seen the provincial Tory Government spend several months and $250, 000 on a Task Force in 2008 looking at nuclear energy for Alberta, I helped to convince 12 Alberta Cities and Towns to write to the Premier’s Office asking for a Task Force on renewable energy.

In 2012 I launched an online survey on climate change and carbon taxes, Carbon Conversations, and I’ve continued to use this account on Twitter and Facebook. I initiated and hosted luncheon meetings on carbon pricing with industry, academics and environmentalists, and sponsored a couple of conferences and panel discussions on carbon pricing, one of them in a surprising venue; the March 2015 gathering of conservatives at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa.

I’ve worked for 15 years at the Calgary Drop In Centre, which gives me a steady diet of reminders of opportunities for energy efficiency, and also the need for the thousands of entry-level living wage jobs that become available in a massive expansion of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

It’s an honour to now be asked to follow Alberta’s energy developments on behalf of our Provincial Green Party, which I also ran for in the 2012 Provincial election.

Areas of particular interest – Renewable energy, coal phase-out, climate change, carbon taxes.

Arts and Culture – Kat Hammer

Kat works as a guitar teacher and freelance musician in Calgary and is heavily involved in Calgary’s arts community. She has studied music in Canada, Germany, and England, and has degrees in music from the University of Calgary and the University of Reading (England).

Over the last 20 years, Kat has volunteered for many of Calgary’s arts organizations, including the Classical Guitar Society, Glenbow Museum, Land’s End Chamber Ensemble, and the Blues festival. She has also done extensive research on the history of music in Calgary and has presented papers at several conferences as well as during Historic Calgary Week.

Kat is a long-time member of First Baptist Church and spends her free time building and fixing stuff.

Youth – Leina Marie Andersen

My name is Leina Marie Andersen; I was born in the town of Wawa Ont., and lived there most of my life. My family owned a commercial fishing business on the shores of Lake Superior, and was involved with this business till 2006. I felt that there was more to my life, and for that to happen I needed to leave home. The jobs that I acquired afterward were that in the natural resources, (mine security, fishing, and construction of both living quarters and wood pallets for paper mill). I have since been in the retail arena, since my exclusion from the oil field (due to my gender expression) in 2012.

I am spiritual, but not religious. Family is important to me and I value the family of friends I have made here in Alberta. Community minded, yet value the importance of business. Growth within a town/city is needed, but not at the cost of the values that pulled those people together in the start. A community that doesn’t think together, will not last. I represent a very dynamic and ever evolving group of people, my interest is not in my own self gain, but to those that that need a voice. When I get called to help a fellow worker, my role as a shop steward is to stand up for those that cannot. Community events also need to be supported by both city, and provincial leaders. Without these events to pull a community together, there is always going to be a group of people that will get left behind. I’m 39 yrs old and I feel I can make a difference, or at the least make an influence in future policy changes.

I am very active in social media, which include Facebook, twitter, and instagram. I have a need to learn more of what those all can do. I do have 3 groups, The Western & Eastern S.A.G.A. Societies, a page to promote myself as a writer, and a personal wall. The saga society was formed as an initiative to branch this country tighter together, and provide help and resources to those that are gender non conformists get help from sea to sea to sea. Personally I’m a part of both an online chat support site, and a crisis phone line that is being set up in Canada.

I listen to both sides of an argument without forming an opinion at the onset. No theory is wrong, nobody is wrong. I agree we need to begin a shift to a greener environment, industry, and consumer products. That being said it’s not going to happen overnight. The grip we have on oil and other resources needs to be released slowly, and only when there is a confirmed sustainable alternative. It’s like quitting smoking; you need to replace one habit for another one that is healthier. Same with industry, those workers need to be shown a healthier sustainable option opposed to their current employment options.

Education and Childcare – Ryan Zedic

Indigenous Affairs – Larry Ashmore

International Green Perspective – Mary Vicars

Law and Legal Systems – Vacant

Health and Wellness – Vacant

Rural Alberta – Vacant

Water – Vacant

Governance for Sustainability – Vacant

Poverty and Homelessness – Vacant

Food Security – Vacant

Advanced Education and Life-long Learning – Vacant

Economic Resiliency – Vacant

Civil Liberties and Human Rights – Vacant

Please contact our party leader, Romy Tittel at leader@greenpartyofalberta.ca if you are interested in joining our Shadow Cabinet.