Alberta has been my family’s home since 1987, when my wife Theresa and I chose to move from Vancouver, British Columbia to Edmonton with our two young daughters. Since then I have been a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Over the 25 years at the U of A I have had the privilege of teaching thousands of undergraduate and graduate students about politics with a focus on issues pertaining to both Alberta and Canada. Teaching has always been a passion of mine and I was honoured to be awarded with the Faculty of Arts undergraduate teaching award in 2007. As a UAF Northern Momentum Teacher/Scholar and a Fulbright Research Chair in Canadian Studies, I spent two semesters introducing American students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Portland State University to Canadian politics. In 2014 I look forward to visiting the University of California, Berkeley for a month under the auspices of the John A. Sproul Research Fellowship in Canadian Studies.
In 2012, after nearly 30 years of writing and teaching about politics in Canada I decided to run as an independent candidate in Alberta’s Senate nominee election. I did so out of my concern that the Harper Conservative government has devalued and eroded the fundamental democratic principles of Canadian political life that trumpet the value and importance of public participation, debate and dissent.
The beautiful and varied landscapes across this province are an integral part of Alberta’s identity. Whether we are talking about the Rocky Mountains, the openness of the prairies, the boreal forests in Northern Alberta, the ecological diversity of the wetlands, the badlands or the foothills, the need to be responsible in our protection of Alberta’s natural beauty is one of my core beliefs. My community involvement has been largely focused on my hope to provide our grandchildren with the same opportunities that my children have had, to experience and be in awe of Alberta’s wild spaces. As a member of Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) I sat on the Board of Directors for several terms. In 2007 I was honoured to be recognized with AWA’s “Defender of Wilderness Award”. In April 2009 I stepped down from the Board of Directors to become the editor of the Wild Lands Advocate, the AWA’s news journal, a position I still hold.
When I am not teaching or working for the AWA I dream of fly fishing and hiking in Alberta’s Foothills.
Learn more about Ian Urquhart:
- Ian’s The Next Alberta Policy Platform