Anne McGrath

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Anne McGrath, national director of he federal New Democratic Party, has been hired as deputy chief of staff to Premier Rachel Notley. She will start work on Jan. 4.

Both McGrath and Brian Topp, who will remain as Ms. Notley’s chief of staff, were part of the late Jack Layton’s inner circle when he was leader of the federal NDP.

McGrath certainly has the credentials for the job. As chief of staff to Layton, she gets credit for being one of the architects of the party’s historic 2011 breakthrough to Official Opposition status in the final months of his life.

She has been active in the Elizabeth Fry Society, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the Steering Committee for the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action.

On the downside in the Alberta political context — and you might as well hear about this from me before the conservative commentariat and the Wildrose Party start screeching about it — when she was a student she ran as the candidate for the Communist Party of Canada in the federal Edmonton-Strathcona riding in 1984.

I’m sorry, but I can’t imagine that aspect of Ms. McGrath’s curriculum vitae going over very well in Ponoka, let alone Pincher Creek or Picture Butte.

In a Tweet, federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair wished McGrath the best and noted, “you will be dearly missed in Ottawa.”

This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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Keep Karl on Parl

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe...