Gil McGowan

I grew up on a farm in rural Alberta. It’s been my life’s work to help economically-anxious working class people.

Everyday, I hear people’s worries. I hear people’s tragedies. I see people break down in tears, telling me they’re falling behind financially and don’t see a way out.

Hard-pressed people tell me they feel abandoned. Even betrayed. And it’s true, the UCP isn’t focused on them, no matter what they say at election time. But just attacking the UCP isn’t enough. That’s why our support lags with economically-anxious voters. These voters need an Alberta NDP leader focused on them, trusted by them, and with an economic plan to improve their lives.

Fulfilling that need has been my life passion. As Alberta NDP leader, it would be my passion and my humble honour to focus on building a better future for worried working people. I want to build an economic plan around them that creates a winning voter coalition in 2027.

I’ve already started the work. As president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, I’ve advised provincial and federal governments on energy diversification and jobs policy.

As chair of the Coal Transition Coalition, I helped negotiate the first sector-wide transition program for workers affected by the phaseout of coal-fired power. I co-chaired Premier Rachel Notley’s Energy Diversification Advisory Committee. I helped implement diversification recommendations with the Notley NDP and Kenney UCP governments. I’ve advised the federal government on energy and labour policy through the federal Just Transition Taskforce.

I spearheaded a campaign to diversify Alberta’s economy, publishing a bold economic blueprint, “Skate to Where the Puck is Going.” That campaign helped convince the federal government to earmark tens of billions of dollars in investment tax credits for projects in the lower carbon economy – and create thousands of jobs for Albertans. This is a plan build around the stress of worried working class people.

I know how important pensions are to worried working class people. I served as chair of the Local Authorities Pension Plan, the largest in Alberta, where I safeguarded and nurtured a $60 billion pension fund providing retirement security for about 300,000 Albertans. I worked with others in the national labour movement for a stronger Canada Pension Plan, which we won.

And I know our public services and supports are critically important to economically-anxious working class Albertans. I helped lead the charge to protect our public services from cuts and privatization. I’ve pushed for new services and programs that help individuals and families, like the new universal childcare program, the new national dental plan and the NDP pharmacare plan.

More about Gil

Gil’s prairie pragmatism and progressive values are rooted in his rural Alberta upbringing. He grew up on a farm north of Edmonton. He attended elementary and junior high school in Clyde (population 430) and high school in Westlock (population 5,100).

Gil is a long-time New Democrat, having joined the party as a teenager to help in the breakthrough election of 1986 that saw the NDP form the Official Opposition for the first time, with 16 seats. Gil also served on the executive boards of the NDYA and the U of A campus NDP and interned at the Legislature. He worked as a voter contact organizer in the 1993 election and as the central campaign’s Director of Communications in the 1997 election.

Before being hired as a campaign organizer and communication officer by the labour movement in the ’90s, Gil was a journalist for: 

  • the Canadian Press
  • the Edmonton Journal and 
  • CTV. 

He holds a Master of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta. Throughout his working life, Gil has been a proud and active member of several unions, including:

  • the Canadian Union Public Employees (CUPE)
  • the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP)
  • Unifor
  • And most recently, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) Lodge 146. 

He has also done extensive work with the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 and the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union (ATU).

Gil is the proud father of three amazing young adults – who continue to bring him joy as they make their way in the world.

Read more about Gil’s track record