Elaine McCoy

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Elaine McCoy

Facilitator of the
Independent Senators Group
In office
September 27, 2016 – September 25, 2017
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byYuen Pau Woo
Senator for Alberta
Assumed office
March 24, 2005
Nominated byPaul Martin
Appointed byAdrienne Clarkson
MLA for Calgary-West
In office
Preceded byPeter Lougheed
Succeeded byDanny Dalla-Longa
Personal details
Born (1946-03-07) March 7, 1946 (age 73)
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyIndependent Senators Group (2016—present)
Other political
Alberta PC
Independent Progressive Conservative (2013–2016)
Progressive Conservative (2005–2013)

Elaine McCoy, QC (born March 7, 1946 in Brandon, Manitoba) is a Canadian senator from Alberta[1] and formerly served as the first Facilitator of the Independent Senators Group. She was the last remaining member of the Canadian Senate to sit as a Progressive Conservative following the retirement of Senator Lowell Murray on September 26, 2011. On February 11, 2013 she changed her designation to Independent Progressive Conservative, before changing it once again, to Independent, on February 17, 2016.[2]

Senate of Canada[edit]

McCoy was appointed to the Senate by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Paul Martin, on March 24, 2005,[3] she sits in the Upper House representing Alberta as an Independent. Unless she resigns, McCoy will continue to sit in the Senate until March 7, 2021, she currently sits on the Senate Committee for Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, and previously, on the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee.[4][5]

Initially a member of the Progressive Conservative caucus, a rump caucus made of Tory Senators who had refused to join the new Conservative Party of Canada in 2003, McCoy was ultimately the last Progressive Conservative in the chamber following the retirement of Senator Lowell Murray in 2011, she changed her designation to Independent PC in 2013 and then to non-affiliated in 2016, following the decision by the government of Justin Trudeau to make the Senate a non-partisan institution and appoint independent Senators. In September 2016, she and fourteen other non-affiliated Senators formed the Independent Senators Group to advocate for the rights of non-affiliated Senators as the upper house was still organized around partisan lines resulting in non-affiliated Senators being underrepresented on committees and not receiving the funding given to party caucuses. McCoy was elected facilitator of the new group for the 2016-2017 parliamentary term.[6] In December 2016, the Senate agreed to recognize the ISG and granted it funding and also agreed that non-affiliated Senators would be appointed to Senate committees in numbers proportionate to their numbers in the Senate.[7][8]

Initiatives in the Senate[edit]

Since being appointed to the Senate, McCoy has been an influential voice for the role of the individual Senator,[9][10][11] for effective Senate reform,[12][13][14][15][16] for an inclusive federation and the role of Alberta in Canada. McCoy broke new ground with her website, www.albertasenator.ca, and was one of the first members of the Senate of Canada to blog and tweet[17] on her experiences in Ottawa and the political issues of the day.[18][19][20][21] A feature article on McCoy in Maclean's magazine calls her a "symbol of defiance" as one of only two Progressive Conservative Senators then remaining in federal politics and someone who "defines herself as socially progressive and fiscally conservative."[21]

During her tenure as Senator, she has launched two web-based projects. Savvy Senate,[22] provides precis of several dozens of landmark Senate reports organized alphabetically by topic, highlighting the context, import and public reception (positive and negative) for each report, with hyperlinks to the report and media follow up.

In April 2014, McCoy launched a new web-based initiative on energy and the environment for the Canadian context: Your Energy Story.[23] According to the site, it was designed "to make linkages between energy end uses and energy sources" and provides raw data on energy consumption and generation for both renewable and non-renewable resources, organized by provinces and territories across Canada, it employs one common energy unit for all types of energy – the gigajoule – in order to make comparisons between energy types possible for the average consumer. It also provides greenhouse gas emissions for the production of each energy type and end use.

McCoy is an important part of Calgary's environmental[24] and charitable communities, she currently has or has held memberships and leadership positions in many organizations, including:

  • Vice-Chair, Alberta Climate Change Central[25]
  • Governor, Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology[26]
  • Chair, Joint Review Committee, Right-to-Work Study (Alberta Economic Development Authority and Alberta Government - 1995)[27]
  • President, Winston Churchill Society
  • Committee Chair, Alberta Economic Development Authority[27]
  • Founding Director, Famous 5 Foundation[28]
  • Founding Director, Angela Cheng Foundation
  • Senior Member, Alberta Ministerial Advisory Committee for Environmental Protection[29]
  • Director and lifelong honorary member, Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta[30]
  • Member, Law Society of Alberta[31]
  • Member, Canadian Evaluation Society[32]
  • Member, Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society[33]

Macleod Institute[edit]

Senator Elaine McCoy

A lawyer by profession, McCoy is President of the Macleod Institute,[34] affiliated with the University of Calgary, which is known for its expertise on program evaluations and environmental management. In this position, she authored the influential Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Strategy.[35] Other highlighted achievements while at the Macleod Institute include:[36]

  • Action Plan for the Government of the Northwest Territories for the purpose of achieving long-term benefits from oil and gas development in the NWT.
  • Comprehensive report on micro-power distributed generation for Alberta Economic Development (Barriers and Options for Improving Electricity Supply), and delivered results from a multi-stakeholder workshop that was instrumental in launching the New Energy Resources Alliance, a Canadian micro-power distributed generation industry cluster.
  • Governance Case Study of the Vancouver Agreement, an urban development agreement between Canada, British Columbia and the City of Vancouver. The Case Study explores intergovernmental partnerships and recommends that Vancouver partners increase the effectiveness of their collaboration by systematizing operating paradigms.[clarification needed]
  • Canada-wide evaluation of Post-Secondary Education programs and Band-Operated and Federal Schools (BOFS) for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada that resulted in recommendations for improved resources and a broader vision for the department's education secretariat.
  • Alberta's first Aviation Strategy and Action Plan which detailed 40 action items to be implemented by the newly formed, industry-led Aviation Strategy Action Group (now called Aviation Alberta).
  • Method to integrate thresholds into cumulative effects assessment and management in Canada's North.
  • Evaluations and strategic reviews of the Western Diversification Program and all Canada Business Service Centres in Western Canada for Western Economic Diversification.
  • Evaluation of the West Kitikmeot/Slave Study (WKSS). The WKSS comprises a partnership of three federal and territorial governments, together with several First Nations, industry and NGO organizations.
  • Evaluation of accountability practices among more than 100 boards, agencies and crown corporations reporting to both the Government of the Northwest Territories and their own constituencies.
  • Evaluation of Alberta Environment's lab analysis and accreditation policies and programs, based on extensive interviews and a comparative review of Canadian and US practices. An analytical framework was developed as a first critical step in preparing recommendations which were subsequently adopted by the Government of Alberta.
  • Analytical model which predicts the cost of regulatory delay for Alberta Environment. The report contributed to finalizing an agreement on harmonization entered into by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Alberta Right-to-Work Joint Review Committee[edit]

In 1995, McCoy was asked by the Alberta Government to Chair a Joint Review Committee (JRC) into whether or not Right-to-Work (RTW) legislation would be beneficial to the province; the study defined RTW legislation as ‘legislation that would prohibit employers and employees from agreeing to any form of union shop, closed shop or dues check-off arrangement.’ The Committee was formed on March 14, 1995 and had both labour and management representatives. It delivered its unanimous report in November of the same year, it received 225 written submissions from Albertans on the issue.[37]

The JRC ultimately did not recommend RTW legislation for Alberta, as it found no evidence of economic advantage to it, and that it may well disrupt Alberta's strong and stable labour relations of the time.

Alberta Government[edit]

From 1986 to 1993, McCoy was the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Calgary-West in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. In 1986, she was named to the Executive Council of Alberta as Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Minister responsible for Women's Issues[38][39] by Premier Don Getty; as Minister, McCoy was responsible for creating the Insurance Council of Alberta, restructuring the Alberta Securities Commission, and for introducing a variety of new policies to protect consumers. She was also involved in developing foreign credentials recognition for immigrant professionals.

In 1989, McCoy was appointed as Alberta's Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for Human Rights, in which portfolio she was responsible for Alberta's personnel administration office, she set up an Alberta Human Rights commission inquiry into the Aryan Nations which was responsible for investigating and eliminating supremacist activity in the province. McCoy also shed light on violence against women and spearheaded the Lake Louise Declaration, which was Alberta's first action plan designed to fight violence against women, and the first all-Canada declaration on the subject.[40]

The McCoy Plan[edit]

At the 1992 Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta leadership convention, McCoy ran for the leadership of the party[21][41] against the eventual winner, Ralph Klein, she ran on a platform known as the McCoy Plan, points of which were eventually co-opted by the Klein government.

Key points of the McCoy Plan:

  • five-year business plans for all government departments and agencies
  • zero-based budgeting; accrual accounting
  • management and administrative costs cut in half
  • rationalization of the tax burden on people and companies
  • "one-window" co-ordinated service delivery throughout Alberta
  • more training, skills development and educational opportunities for people across Alberta
  • support for local communities so that they can do things their way

Prior to entering provincial politics, McCoy pursued a career in law as senior legal counsel for the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and as counsel for TransAlta Utilities Corporation.

McCoy is an alumna of the University of Alberta, and holds an LLB (1969) and Bachelor of Arts in English (1968), she is married to Miles Patterson, QC (deceased, January 2011).[42]


  1. ^ McCoy had no Deputy during her term, as the Deputy Facilitator is elected by the caucus. McCoy was the first Facilitator on an Interim basis, and was not elected, thus no Deputy Facilitator was in office.


  1. ^ "Elaine McCoy". Albertasenator.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  2. ^ "MCCOY, The Hon. Elaine, Q.C., B.A., LL.B." PARLINFO. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Senators - Detailed Information". Parl.gc.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  4. ^ "Senate - Committee List". Parl.gc.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  5. ^ Conservative, Progressive (2009-11-30). "Climate change report a welcome step forward in debate full of overheated political rhetoric | The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly". Thehilltimes.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  6. ^ "Patrick Brazeau returns to Senate after 3-year legal saga". CBC News. 2016-09-28. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  7. ^ "'A victory for fairness': Senators agree to allow more independents on committees". National Post. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  8. ^ "How the Senate changed in 2016 - and what it means for the government's agenda for 2017". National Post. 2017-01-03. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  9. ^ http://www.albertasenator.ca/flashblocks/data/Op-Eds/SenateReform17Sept2007.pdf
  10. ^ Conservative, Progressive (2009-12-14). "Let's stop criminalizing our world | The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly". Thehilltimes.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  11. ^ The Hill Times (2009-07-27). "Senators under gun to be more partisan, says Senator | The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly". The Hill Times. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  12. ^ Senator Elaine McCoy (2010-02-22). "Last best hope for democracy in Canada: An appointed Senate". thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  13. ^ "Elaine McCoy: The Senate reform Canadians wanted - Full Comment" (PDF). Network.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  14. ^ "Elaine McCoy*, sénatrice (Alberta) : Une réforme du Sénat, oui, mais à l'image de qui? | Points de vue". Cyberpresse.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  15. ^ The Hill Times (2009-12-14). "Senate considers TV proceedings, again | The Hill Times - Canada's Politics and Government Newsweekly". The Hill Times. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  16. ^ "Un Sénat élu au Canada ? Non merci ! | Perspective Monde". Perspective.usherbrooke.ca. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  17. ^ SenElaineMcCoy. "Elaine McCoy (SenElaineMcCoy) on Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  18. ^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  19. ^ "A chat with Canadian Senator Elaine McCoy, Social Media in Canadian Politics « Random Thoughts of a Boston-Based CTO: John Moore's Weblog". Johnfmoore.wordpress.com. 2010-01-17. Archived from the original on 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  20. ^ "Senator Elaine McCoy follows up from David Hume to talk about her experience at the breakout session". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  21. ^ a b c Wherry, Aaron (2010-02-09). "And then there were two - Canada". Macleans.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  22. ^ "Elaine McCoy". Albertasenator.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  23. ^ http://www.yourenergystory.ca/aboutus.php
  24. ^ "More Debate, Less Rhetoric - Elaine McCoy — THE MARK". Themarknews.com. 2009-12-02. Archived from the original on 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  25. ^ "Climate Change Central". Carbonoffsetsolutions.climatechangecentral.com. 2009-09-15. Archived from the original on 2010-03-15. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  26. ^ "Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology". Ucalgary.ca. Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  27. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-01-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Famous 5 Foundation, Calgary - Celebrating Leadership In Women". Famous5.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  29. ^ [1] Archived January 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Technology at its best". ASET. Archived from the original on 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  31. ^ "The Law Society of Alberta - Home". Lawsocietyalberta.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  32. ^ "Canadian Evaluation Society - Home". Evaluationcanada.ca. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  33. ^ "Alberta Arbitration & Mediation Society". Aams.ab.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  34. ^ "Welcome to the Macleod Institute". Macleodinstitute.com. 2002-11-28. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  35. ^ "Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Strategy". Macleodinstitute.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  36. ^ "Publications". Macleod Institute. 2002-11-28. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  37. ^ "S:\COMMON\BIP\Hansard\1995\19950503_1330_01_han.wpd" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  38. ^ State of struggle: feminism and ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  39. ^ Standing on new ground: women in Alberta - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  40. ^ Government and politics in Alberta - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1991-03-04. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  41. ^ Edmonton, The (2006-09-02). "Charm trumped charm school in 1992 leadership race". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  42. ^ "Senator Elaine McCoy Hullabaloos". Albertasenator.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-08.

External links[edit]