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Canadian Notable Persons Collection 1999-2000

Kowalski, Hon. Kenneth Reginald - Progressive Conservative MLA, Barrhead Westlock

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Date: Wednesday, 14 September 2016, at 8:59 p.m.

Kowalski, Hon. Kenneth Reginald
Progressive Conservative MLA, Barrhead Westlock

On Monday, April 14, 1997, the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta elected (by secret ballot) Kenneth Reginald Kowalski, M.L.A. for Barrhead-Westlock Constituency, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for the Twenty-Fourth Legislature. In his capacity as Speaker, he serves as President of the Alberta Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association as well as Chairman of the Special Standing Committee on Members' Services. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Elected to the Alberta Legislature in a by-election on November 21, 1979, Mr. Kowalski was re-elected to the Legislature November 2, 1982, May 8, 1986, March 20, 1989, June 15, 1993 and March 11, 1997. Since his election, Mr. Kowalski has held a variety of positions. He has served as Chair of the Select Committee on Surface Rights, Chair of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund Select Committee and as a member of the Syncrude Board of Directors. He was appointed Minister of the Environment and Minister of Alberta Public Safety Services in 1986. After his re-election in 1989, Mr. Kowalski was appointed to Cabinet as Minister of Public Works, Supply and Services, responsible for Lotteries, Major Exhibitions and Fairs, Public Affairs Bureau, Public Safety Services, the Wild Rose Foundation and ACCESS Corporation. He has also served as Minister of Career Development and Employment and as Minister of Economic Development and Tourism responsible for Technology Research and Telecommunications, International Trade Offices and Lotteries. He was Government House Leader from June 15, 1993 to December 15, 1993. Mr. Kowalski served as Deputy Premier from 1992 to 1994.

Mr. Kowalski has worked on both the national and the international stages. He was one of Alberta's representatives at the 1994 Canadian internal trade discussions and was one of 12 signatories to the environment and sustainable development documents that were ultimately endorsed by the United Nations Assembly. As well, he was Alberta's signatory to the volunteer exchange agreement between the Province of Alberta and Hokkaido, Japan. Other responsibilities included vice-chair of the Agenda and Priorities Committee, membership on Treasury Board and the Standing Policy Committee on Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. As well, he has been a member of the following Government Caucus Committees: Agriculture, Education, Party Liaison and Decentralization.

Mr. Kowalski has received a number of honours during his term as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. Most notably in August 1992 from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Alberta Provincial Council Special Achievement Award; December, 1992 - Governor General's Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation; Mr. Kowalski was honoured on April 24, 1993 when The Alexis First Nations bestowed upon him the title of Honourary Chief Wa-she-zu-Chada-oo-sheqe-na (White Man with a Kind Heart).

Kenneth Reginald Kowalski, was born September 27, 1945 in Bonnyville, Alberta, the son of Paul Kowalski and Mary Chachula. He received his education in Alberta in public schools and obtained a M.A. (East Asian History), 1970 and a B.A. (History) 1966 at the University of Alberta, and holds after degree training in education. He is married to Jeannine Campeau of Fort Kent, Alberta and they have two children Lori Anne and Michael Paul. He resides in Barrhead, Alberta.

Mr. Kowalski taught high school in Barrhead, Alberta from 1969 to 1974. During these years he served as Secretary of the Alberta Provincial Kinsmen Association in 1972; received the National Award in 1973 as editor of Canada's best Kinsmen Club Magazine; was a recipient of a Government of Alberta Achievement Award in 1973; and coached the National Reach for the Top High School Academic Championship Team from Barrhead in 1973. In 1974 Mr. Kowalski joined the Government of Alberta as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Premier, Minister of Agriculture; from 1975 to 1977 he served as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Premier, Minister of Transportation; in 1977 he was appointed Chairman, Regional Transportation Services; and in 1979 was appointed Deputy Minister, Regional Transportation Services. He also served as Secretary of the Rural Development Cabinet Committee from 1974-77. In October, 1979, he resigned the position of Deputy Minister, Regional Transportation Services, to run for election as an M.L.A. in the Alberta Constituency of Barrhead.

Mr. Kowalski has served in the Alberta Legislature under the leadership of three Alberta Premiers, Peter Lougheed, Don Getty and Ralph Klein.

Reading, being a parliamentarian, and golf are his three passions in life.

As a determined advocate of volunteerism, Mr. Kowalski serves on the Board of the Winnifred Stewart Foundation.

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