Open main menu

Eugene Zwozdesky, MLA (July 24, 1948 – January 6, 2019) was a Canadian politician in the province of Alberta. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1993 to 2015, and was the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2015.[1]

Gene Zwozdesky
Gene Zwozdesky - Jun 2013.JPG
Zwozdesky at a charity function in June 2013
12th Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly
In office
May 23, 2012 – June 11, 2015
Preceded byKen Kowalski
Succeeded byBob Wanner
MLA for Edmonton-Mill Creek
In office
Preceded byNew District
Succeeded byDenise Woollard
MLA for Edmonton-Avonmore
In office
Preceded byMarie Laing
Succeeded byDistrict Abolished
Personal details
Born(1948-07-24)July 24, 1948
Nipawin, Saskatchewan
DiedJanuary 6, 2019(2019-01-06) (aged 70)
Edmonton, Alberta
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Other political
Liberal (1993–1998)
Spouse(s)Christine Zwozdesky
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta


Early lifeEdit

Zwozdesky was born on July 24, 1948 in Nipawin, Saskatchewan to Ukrainian-Canadian parents Alec and Anna Zwozdesky[2][3] and came to Alberta at the age of two. He lived in Grand Centre, Hinton and Sangudo before moving to Edmonton, where he lived since 1963. After attending Victoria Composite High School, he obtained bachelor's degrees in arts and education from the University of Alberta.[4] Before becoming involved in politics, Zwozdesky worked as a teacher, administrator, professional musician, and businessman.

Political careerEdit

Zwozdesky was first elected in the 1993 Alberta general election as the Alberta Liberal Party's candidate, defeating incumbent Marie Laing of the Alberta New Democratic Party. He was re-elected to the new riding of Edmonton-Mill Creek in the 1997 Alberta general election.

In July 1998, he left the Liberal Party caucus and sat as an Independent member after a dispute over fiscal policy. He joined the governing Progressive Conservatives a month later. In the 2001 Alberta general election, he won by a generous margin over the Liberal challenger Bharat Agnihotri.

Zwozdesky was appointed to the cabinet as Minister of Community Development; after being re-elected in the 2004 Alberta general election, he was appointed Minister of Education.

On December 15, 2006, Zwozdesky was replaced in Premier Ed Stelmach's cabinet by Ron Liepert. He again joined the Alberta Cabinet on June 27, 2007 as Associate Minister for Capital Planning. In 2008, he was the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Deputy Government House Leader. He was also co-chair of the Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations, co-chair of the Cabinet Policy Committee on Public Safety and Services, and a member of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing.[5]

Zwozdesky has won numerous awards from cultural and arts organizations, as well as the 2005 Alberta Centennial Medal.[5]

Zwozdesky was re-elected in the 2012 provincial election as an incumbent PC candidate. He was defeated in the 2015 Alberta general election by Alberta NDP candidate Denise Woollard.[6]

Personal life and deathEdit

Zwozdesky joined the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers in 1963, and danced in the troupe for six years before becoming the musical director, composing and conducting Shumka's music for twenty-five years;[7] he also served in the same role for the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company. He was involved in various other cultural organizations, was the executive director of the Alberta Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Alberta Ukrainian Canadian Centennial Commission, and has served on various voluntary boards.[5][4] He was married to Christine, with two children.[2]

He died of cancer on January 6, 2019, aged 70.[8][9]

Electoral recordEdit

Alberta general election, 1997: Edmonton-Mill Creek
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Gene Zwozdesky 6,757 51.91%
Progressive Conservative Sukhi Randhawa 3,679 28.27%
New Democratic Stephen Crocker 1,804 13.86%
Social Credit Christie Forget 776 5.96%
Total 13,016
Rejected, spoiled and declined 18
Eligible electors / Turnout 23,216 56.14%
Source: "1997 General Election". Elections Alberta. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
Alberta general election, 2001: Edmonton-Mill Creek
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Gene Zwozdesky 8,085 55.66% 27.39%
Liberal Bharat Agnihotri 4,229 29.12% −22.79%
New Democratic Edwin Villania 1,893 13.03% −0.83%
Alberta First Kyle Harvey 220 1.51%
Green Harlan Light 97 0.68%
Total 14,524
Rejected, spoiled and declined 53
Eligible electors / Turnout 26,307 55.41%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing 25.09%
Source: "Grande Prairie-Wapiti Official Results 2001 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
Alberta general election, 2004: Edmonton-Mill Creek
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Gene Zwozdesky 5,070 42.08% -13.58%
Liberal Aman Gill 4,289 35.60% 6.48%
New Democratic Nathan Taylor 1,709 14.18% 1.15%
Alberta Alliance Robert Alford 523 4.34%
Green Eric Stieglitz 386 3.20% 2.52%
Independent Cameron Johnson 72 0.60%
Total 12,049
Rejected, spoiled and declined 104
Eligible Electors / Turnout 24,419 49.77%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing -10.03%
Source: "Edmonton-Mill Creek Statement of Official Results 2004 Alberta general election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
Alberta general election, 2008: Edmonton-Mill Creek
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Gene Zwozdesky 6,857 50.79% 8.71%
Liberal Aman Gill 4,058 30.05% -5.55%
New Democratic Stephen Anderson 1,822 13.49% -0.69%
Green Glen Argan 726 5.37% 2.17%
Communist Naomi Rankin 41 0.30%
Total 13,504
Rejected, spoiled and declined 127
Eligible electors / Turnout 32,553 41.87%
Progressive Conservative hold Swing 7.13%
Source: The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly. Elections Alberta. July 28, 2008. pp. 320–323.
Alberta general election, 2012: Edmonton-Mill Creek
Party Candidate Votes %
Progressive Conservative Gene Zwozdesky 6,633 55.07%
Wildrose Adam Corsaut 2,193 18.21%
Liberal Mike Butler 1,640 13.62%
New Democratic Evelinne Teichgrabber 1,336 11.09%
Alberta Party Judy Wilson 198 1.64%
Communist Naomi Rankin 44 0.37%
Total 12,044
Alberta general election, 2015: Edmonton-Mill Creek
Party Candidate Votes %
New Democratic Denise Woollard 9,025 55.9
Progressive Conservative Gene Zwozdesky 3,848 23.9
Liberal Harpreet Gill 1,896 11.8
Wildrose Saqib Raja 1,365 8.5
Total 16,134


  1. ^ "Premier Redford welcomes Gene Zwozdesky as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly". Government of Alberta. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Canadian Parliamentary Guide - Gale Canada, Pierre G. Normandin - Google Books". 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  3. ^ "MLA still gets kick from time as Shumka dancer". The Edmonton Journal. March 18, 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Nick Lees (2018-07-22). "Nick Lees: No signs of slowing down as Gene Zwozdesky turns 70". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  5. ^ a b c "Legislative Assembly of Alberta". 2018-07-01. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  6. ^ "Alberta Election 2015: Former Speaker of the House Gene Zwozdesky loses Edmonton-Mill Creek seat to NDP". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  7. ^ "Dancer turned politician reflects Shumka success | CTV News Edmonton". 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Alex Antoneshyn (2019-01-06). "Edmonton MLA, legislative speaker Gene Zwozdesky dies". CTV Edmonton. Retrieved 2019-01-06.

External linksEdit