May 24, 2019 6:33 pm
Updated: May 24, 2019 6:34 pm

Merwan Saher replaced as Clerk of Legislative Assembly of Alberta

Merwan Saher speaks at a press conference in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dean Bennett
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Merwan Saher was replaced as Chief of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on Friday.

Saher’s replacement will be Shannon Dean, according to a news release issued Friday afternoon by Nathan Cooper, the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

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“Ms. Dean has served the Legislative Assembly of Alberta honourably for more than two decades as an expert on parliamentary law and procedure,” he said. “She brings a wealth of executive management experience in the Legislative Assembly Office, recently serving as Acting Clerk of the Assembly.

“I am confident that Ms. Dean’s record of leadership will continue in her new role as Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.”

Cooper said Dean will take over the post immediately.

In the Legislative Assembly, the Clerk is given the authority “equivalent to that of a deputy minister of a government department,” the news release said. “Under the direction of the Speaker, the Clerk has both procedural and managerial responsibilities.”

READ MORE: Merwan Saher calls for long-term financial forecasts as oil revenue slides

Watch below: (From April 19, 2018) Merwan Saher released his final report as Alberta’s auditor general. As Tom Vernon explains, he wants to see a cultural change on how Albertans view the budget.

Opposition leader Rachel Notley called Saher’s replacement “shocking” and said the move “raises serious concerns about the level of non-partisan service that can be expected by members of the Official Opposition from the Speaker’s Office and the associated Legislative Assembly Office.”

“This decision was taken without any consultation with the Official Opposition or without any formal or professional hiring process,” Notley said in a statement. “Moreover, it will undoubtedly incur a very large financial cost to taxpayers to compensate Mr. Saher.

“We call on the Speaker to disclose this cost to Albertans.”

Cooper, who was elected as a UCP MLA last month, was named as the new Speaker on Tuesday.

READ MORE: UCP members sworn in at Alberta legislature ahead of spring session

Watch below: (From May 21, 2019) Premier Jason Kenney and his UCP caucus took their oaths of office Tuesday. It marks the start of what’s likely to be a busy spring session. Albert Delitala reports.

Saher had previous spent years serving as Alberta’s Auditor General.

“[I would] like to thank Mr. Merwan Saher for his service as the 8th Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta,” Cooper said.

He added that Dean is “eminently qualified” for the position and noted she becomes the first female clerk in Alberta’s history.

 

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