Brent Rathgeber

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Brent Rathgeber
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Edmonton—St. Albert
In office
October 14, 2008 – October 19, 2015
Preceded byJohn G. Williams
Succeeded byMichael Cooper
Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly
for Edmonton Calder
In office
March 12, 2001 – November 22, 2004
Preceded byLance White
Succeeded byDavid Eggen
Personal details
Born (1964-07-24) July 24, 1964 (age 55)
Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative (2001-2004)
Conservative (2008-2013)
Independent (2013-present)
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta
Alma materUniversity of Saskatchewan
ProfessionLawyer, author

Brent M. Rathgeber (born July 24, 1964) is a lawyer, author and politician from Alberta, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 2001 to 2004 and was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2008 federal election as a Conservative. He resigned from the Conservative caucus in 2013 and sat as an Independent. He ran as an Independent candidate in the riding of St. Albert—Edmonton in the 2015 federal election, but was defeated by Conservative candidate Michael Cooper.

In 2016, Brent returned to the business world as a political consultant. Rathgeber joined Cody Law Office in St. Albert, providing a full range of legal services, advocacy and consulting. Rathgeber also writes a weekly political column for iPolitics.

Early life[edit]

Rathgeber was born in Melville, Saskatchewan. After graduating from Melville Comprehensive School in 1982, Brent obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Saskatchewan.


Alberta MLA (2001–2004)[edit]

Rathgeber won election to the provincial electoral district of Edmonton Calder in the 2001 Alberta general election after defeating Liberal incumbent Lance White.[1]

In the 2004 Alberta general election, after only serving one term in office, he was defeated by David Eggen of the New Democratic Party.[2][3]

House of Commons (2008–2015)[edit]

Rathgeber stood as the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the federal electoral district of Edmonton—St. Albert in the 2008 election,[4] and was elected with 61.6 per cent of the vote.[5] He was re-elected in the 2011 federal election.[6][7]

Regarding supply management, Rathgeber said "One can occasionally be critical of the Government without being disloyal. I proudly serve in the Conservative (Government) Caucus but do not leave the viewpoints of my constituents behind every time I board a plane to Ottawa. It is natural for me to question Supply Management, since I represent 140,000 consumers but not a single dairy farmer. Similarly, all of my adult constituents are taxpayers but only a tiny fraction work for the federal government; as a result, I believe it is appropriate that I question public pensions (including my own) and demand respect for taxpayer dollars generally."[8]

Rathgeber has voiced his support for motion 312, which says Canada should re-examine when human life begins.[9]

Rathgeber blogged in 2012 that voters complained to him about the limousine expenses of Tory cabinet ministers when he travelled to Saskatchewan for a funeral.[10]

On 5 June 2013, Rathgeber announced that he had resigned from the Conservative Caucus due to what he believed to be the "Government's lack of commitment to transparency and open government."[10][11]

In November 2014, Brent was awarded the honour of "Member of Parliament who best represents his constituents" by Maclean's magazine. This award is voted on by all Members of Parliament and recognizes his ability to represent constituents more effectively when freed from party positions and discipline.

In the 2015 federal election, he ran as an independent in St. Albert—Edmonton, a reconfigured version of his old riding.[12][13] He finished third, with 19.7 percent of the vote, behind Conservative candidate, Michael Cooper.[14][15]

Post-parliamentary career[edit]

Rathgeber currently writes a column for iPolitics.[16]


  • Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada (September 2014) Dundurn Press[17][18]

The book contrasts the current state of Canadian democracy to the founding principles of responsible government established by the Fathers of Confederation in 1867. It examines the consequences of the inability or disincentive of modern elected representatives to perform their constitutionally mandated duty to hold the Prime Minister and his cabinet to account and the resultant disregard with which the executive now views Parliament. A chapter is devoted to Withholding the power: Canada's broken Access to Information laws.

Electoral record[edit]

2015 Canadian federal election: St. Albert—Edmonton
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Michael Cooper 26,783 45.24 -19.25
Liberal Beatrice Ghettuba 13,383 22.54 +11.70
Independent Brent Rathgeber 11,652 19.68 n/a
New Democratic Darlene Malayko 6,609 11.16 -8.91
Green Andrea Oldham 821 1.39 -3.22
Total valid votes/Expense limit 59,208 100.00   $218,855.94
Total rejected ballots 146 0.25
Turnout 59,354 70.79
Eligible voters 83,841
Conservative hold Swing -15.47
Source: Elections Canada[19][20]
2011 Canadian federal election: Edmonton—St. Albert
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Brent Rathgeber 34,468 63.46 +1.82
New Democratic Brian LaBelle 11,644 21.44 +5.67
Liberal Kevin Taron 5,796 10.67 -3.92
Green Peter Johnston 2,409 4.44 -3.54
Total valid votes/Expense limit 54,317 100.00
Total rejected ballots 151 0.28 +0.05
Turnout 54,468 56.26 +2.59
Eligible voters 96,815
2008 Canadian federal election: Edmonton—St. Albert
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Conservative Brent Rathgeber 31,436 61.6%
New Democratic Dave Burkhart 8,045 15.8%
Liberal Sam Sleiman 7,441 14.6%
Green Peter Johnston 4,072 8.0%
Total valid votes 50,994
Total rejected ballots 118
Turnout 51,112  %
2004 Alberta general election results[21]
Turnout 49.18% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
New Democratic David Eggen 4,067 36.01% 16.10%
Progressive Conservative Brent Rathgeber 3,730 33.02% -8.97%
Liberal Brad Smith 2,985 26.43% -11.67%
Alberta Alliance Vicki Kramer 513 4.54%
Total 11,295
Rejected, spoiled, and declined 92
Eligible electors / Turnout 23,671  %
     NDP pickup from Progressive Conservative Swing 12.54%

2001 general election[edit]

2001 Alberta general election results[22]
Turnout 51.78% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
Progressive Conservative Brent Rathgeber 5,128 41.99% 9.58%
     Liberal Lance White 4,654 38.10% -2.21%
New Democratic Christine Burdett 2,432 19.91% -7.37%
Total 12,214 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 42
23,671 eligible electors
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing 5.90%


  1. ^ "Tory sends White riding into history". Edmonton Journal. March 13, 2001.
  2. ^ "Alberta Votes 2004: Edmonton-Calder". CBC News. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Teacher's win gives NDP opposition status". Edmonton Journal. November 23, 2004.
  4. ^ "Rathgeber looks to succeed John Williams in St. Albert". Edmonton Journal. October 8, 2008.
  5. ^ "Federal Election 2008: Edmonton—St. Albert". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "Rathgeber romps to victory". St. Albert Gazette. May 3, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  7. ^ "Rathgeber re-elected in Edmonton-St. Albert". Toronto Sun. May 3, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Wherry, Aaron. "Brent Rathgeber Maverick Watch". Maclean's. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Wherry, Aaron. "Another vote for motion 312". Macleans. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Rathgeber, Brent. "Brent Rathgeber, MP". Twitter. Brent Rathgeber. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  11. ^ "A political barometer of voter discontent". Waterloo Region Record. June 8, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  12. ^ "Former Alberta Conservative Brent Rathgeber to go up against one-time supporter in 2015 election". Global News. January 8, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Several Alberta seats could be up for grabs, poll analyst says". CBC News. September 9, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "Conservatives elected in five of eight Edmonton ridings". CBC News. October 19, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "Rathgeber falls short in bid to win as independent". Edmonton Journal. October 19, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  16. ^ "Brent Rathgeber, Author at iPolitics". iPolitics. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  17. ^ Brent Rathgeber (September 10, 2014). Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada. Dundurn Press. ISBN 9781459728370.
  18. ^ "Harper's caucus control described in book by MP, a former Tory". The Globe and Mail. September 7, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  19. ^ "October 19, 2015 Election Results — St. Albert—Edmonton (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  20. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Edmonton-Calder Statement of Official Results 2004 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  22. ^ "2001 Statement of Official results Edmonton-Calder" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 3, 2010.

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