July 25th, 2024

Phillips showed a warrior’s spirit in her work

By Lethbridge Herald on June 14, 2024.

Al Beeber – Managing Editor

So much of Canada is focused on the Stanley Cup playoffs this week with an Alberta team still in the hunt to bring home an NHL championship at long that I momentarily thought I could probably skip this column and nobody would miss it.

Being a guy who was rooting for the Vancouver Canucks, I will say – sorry, Blaine – I’m not glued to my TV watching the Oilers although I was cheering madly for Monday’s game to end quickly since I’d been in the office before 6 a.m. and with my page editor on vacation and my sports writer on his weekend off, was here late getting the game story onto the sports page, finally leaving the paper around 9:30 ish at night.

If the Oilers didn’t win last night, I’m guessing they could be golfing with my Leafs as early as Saturday morning because the Panthers have an incredible team with perhaps the best goaltending in the league.

Unlike some weeks it didn’t take much effort to find material for this column after the announcement by NDP MLA for Lethbridge West Shannon Phillips on Monday that she’s vacating her seat on July 1.

I first got wind of her plan late Sunday after being alerted to an online story in the Globe and Mail and was pleased that to see that the NDP had on Sunday already scheduled a press event for Monday here.

Donna Christensen of the NDP is one of the best in the communications business. Any time I need something she can usually find a way to accommodate me as can the team behind Kathleen Ganley who I’ve talked to a few times during the leadership campaign.

And the UCP has some impressive communications people, as well. I’ve been fortunate also to have built strong relationships with them so if I need a quote or I’m looking into a story, they’re always accommodating, as well.

Our two main Alberta political parties do a superlative job of helping we media do our jobs. And I’m extremely appreciative of both. 

The impending departure of Phillips has, of course, generated much discussion on social media platforms and some has reached us in the form of Roasts and Toasts. And long after she leaves the political world behind to focus on family, dog and other endeavours, her work in the Alberta legislature will be the topic of discussion.

Any politician who leaves an impact will long be remembered by friend and foe alike.

And Phillips has made plenty of both since being elected to the legislature in 2015.

She’s a warrior who does not mince words or hold back her opinions when she has one. And as we all know, she has often – and until her final day as MLA probably will continue to – loudly voiced her opinions in clear and surely unflattering terms, what she thinks about UCP policies and leadership.

When Phillips steps behind a podium, we in the media know the UCP is going to get an earful. And Phillips is a politician who knows the value in using the media to get her message across. She’s incredibly media savvy.

And whether anyone agrees with her message, or the way she expresses it, there is no argument that the MLA for Lethbridge West is a fighter who will stand up for what she believes are the best interests of her constituents.

Her tone at times, to be honest, is caustic, inflammatory and abrasive and that approach has not made her popular with a lot of people. 

But she stands up for what she believes and doesn’t hide in the shadows. She throws punches and takes a lot in return. 

Love her or loathe her, that takes conviction and a really thick skin. 

Other politicians take a different approach to handling the affairs of their constituents. 

They are less antagonistic, don’t ruffle as many feathers and perhaps spend less energy on pointing out others’ negatives while focusing more on positives.

Others are definitely more diplomatic than Phillips, who often engages in what I would almost call Bobby Clark diplomacy. 

And you know what? Sometimes a stick across an ankle may get the message across and job done more effectively than a polite shove.

We need politicians who are ready and willing to fight tooth and nail for our interests at every level of government. Critics be damned.

Phillips’ combativeness has worked well for her and her legions of supporters. And her approach has worked well in Lethbridge West given her election success.

That success can’t be ignored when considering her work as a politician and whatever legacy she may leave behind as she takes a different path in life starting in July.

When Phillips steps away from the podium for the last time, she will leave standing and unbowed, perhaps bruised but definitely unbroken by her many critics, one of them who has been me at times.

That’s a warrior. A real warrior. 

Regardless of where any of us sit on the political spectrum, that warrior spirit has to be respected. Shannon Phillips is a fighter. To the end. 

And that’s worthy of respect.

QUICK THANKS: On a much lighter note, I just want to express my appreciation for the kind comments so many people made to me when I was briefly helping publisher Ryan Turner help the Herald’s booth at the Live Well Showcase last week at the LSCO.

I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness shown me and the words that were spoken about my work here. One gentleman visited the booth multiple times hoping to see me and I will always cherish that effort long after I trip into the sunset when the curtain closes on my newspaper career.

I’ve never been one to take myself seriously – it’s impossible with some of the stuff I do, especially to myself – so to have that kind of support is absolutely heartwarming.

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Southern Albertan

Again, hear, hear re: Phillips!


Someone behind this story running for city council? Appears if there was any doubt ,there isn’t now.


i wonder, does anything ever taste good to you? just that you present, so often, as being woefully bitter.

Fedup Conservative

While these phony Conservatives, Reformers, continue to destroy the careers of more and more Albertans just like the true Conservatives from the Lougheed and Getty governments taught us they would, mindless Albertans continue to support them and hurl their sarcastic comments at anyone not as stupid as them. Where is the intelligence in that?
They aren’t even smart enough to understand that when no one agrees with them they might be the problem. Montreal13 is a perfect example, isn’t he ?

Fedup Conservative

Great Comments Al my True Conservative friends and I agree. We are sick and tired of these Fake Conservatives , Reformers, destroying us.

Fedup Conservative

As indicated in the recent Alberta Politics article Danielle Smith is wanting to destroy the Heritage Trust Fund knowing how broke this province. I suggest you google it.
Of course she doesn’t blame her pal Ralph Klein for creating the mess she would rather destroy our children’s future and continue to help the rich become a lot richer. To hell with our children’s future while Norway and Alaska continue to manage the oil industry properly.


And the rant continues. Alaska and Norway don’t fund anyone but themselves

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