The Honourable David G. Hancock, QC, 2014
On March 23, 2014, the Honourable David G. Hancock, QC was sworn in as Alberta's 15th Premier. Hancock was selected by the Progressive Conservative caucus to serve as their interim leader upon the resignation of the Honourable Alison M. Redford.
David Graeme Hancock was born in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories on August 10, 1955. Dave was the youngest of eight children of Richard H. Hancock and Kathleen E. Porter. After the end of the Second World War, his parents moved around northern Canada following his father's work. Richard Hancock worked for the Hudson's Bay Company for 45 years and was the last employee who had a working involvement in fur trading and buying. His mother, Kathleen, was a school teacher who was active in the various communities in which they lived.
Hancock attended schools in Hazelton (British Columbia), Fort Vermilion, and La Crete before attending the University of Alberta in Edmonton in the 1970s. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics in 1975 and then went on to earn his law degree in 1979. He subsequently became a partner with Matheson and Company, Barristers and Solicitors.
Inspired by the 1971 general election in Alberta, Hancock became involved in the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. He became President of the Young Alberta Conservatives in 1974 and held various positions in the Association of increasing responsibility before eventually becoming party president from 1990 to 1992. He met Janet E. Crawford at a Progressive Conservative youth event and the two married in 1979. They have three children: Ian, Janis, and Janine.
Hancock made the decision to run provincially. In general election of 1993, Hancock ran for the Progressive Conservative party in the constituency of Edmonton-Whitemud, but was defeated. Hancock ran again in the same riding in the March 11, 1997 general election and was successful. He has subsequently been re-elected in four general elections (2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012). His impact was immediate. Under Premier Klein, on March 26, 1997, Hancock was appointed Minister of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs and Metis Settlements Commission. He was the only cabinet minister from Edmonton at the time.
His previous experience also led him to the role of Deputy Government House Leader at the same time. In May of 1999, he became Government House Leader and would hold this position continuously (with the exception of an eight month gap in 2006) until December 5, 2013. As Government House Leader, Hancock was praised for his willingness to listen to both sides of issues and his efforts to reach consensus.
In 2006, Hancock entered the race for the Progressive Conservative leadership after the resignation of the Honourable Ralph Klein. He decided to relinquish his roles as Government House Leader and as Minister of Advanced Education during the leadership race. After the first leadership vote, fifth place Hancock threw his support behind Ed Stelmach who would ultimately be victorious.
Hancock was assigned to numerous key portfolios and has served in cabinet most of his tenure as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. He has served as Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs (1997-1999); Minister of Justice and Attorney General (1999-2004); Minister of Advanced Education (2004-2006), Minister of Health and Wellness (2006-2008); Minister of Education (2008-2011); Minister of Human Services (2011-2013); and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education (2013 to the present). He served as Political Minister for Edmonton (2010-2011) and was Deputy Premier (2013-2014).
As a Member, Hancock has demonstrated a commitment to quality of education of Albertans. His mother's belief in education ensured all of her children received post-secondary education. Hancock's wife is a school principal in Edmonton. When he resigned as Minister of Advanced Education during the 2006 leadership race, the sincerity of the regret he voiced at having to leave the portfolio was noted.
Over the years, Hancock was responsible for introducing significant legislation including the Senatorial Selection Amendment Act, 1998, the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act (2001), the Minors' Property Act (2004), the Tobacco Reduction Act (2007), the Child and Youth Advocate Act (2011), the Building Families and Communities Act (2013), and the Children First Act (2013).
Hancock has long been involved in the community. Among his several associations are: Meals on Wheels, Special Olympics Edmonton, Kiwanis Club, Easter Seals Ability Council, and Success by 6. Hancock was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1995. He has received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Alberta Centennial Medal (2005), and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).
Hancock was the longest-serving Minister when chosen to serve as interim leader and Premier in 2014. He became the first Premier of Alberta to be born in the Northwest Territories. His relatively low profile has been attributed to the lack of controversy during his tenure as a Member. His vast knowledge of, and skill with, parliamentary procedure along with his keen acumen has meant he could handle the various challenges before him.
Hancock served as Premier for 176 days. During that time, a four year collective agreement was reached with Alberta civil servants and the Auditor General released a report on the usage of Alberta's air transportation services program by former Premier Redford. Hancock worked towards reassuring Albertans that the Progressive Conservative government was improving transparency and accountability.
On September 6, 2014, the Progressive Conservative party had formed the government in Alberta for 43 years and six days making them the longest-serving government in Canadian history. On the evening of September 6, Jim Prentice won the Progressive Conservative leadership race on the first ballot. On September 12, Hancock announced he would be resigning as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Subsequently, Hancock resigned his position as Premier formally upon the swearing in of Mr. Prentice as Premier on September 15, 2014. He resigned as the Member for Edmonton-Whitemud effective September 25, 2014.