Jim Dinning: A Community Leader and Model Albertan


Jim Dinning has made an enormous contributions to Alberta from a career spanning government, business, and the non-profit sector. On July 1, Jim steps down as the Chancellor of the University of Calgary.

Jim DinningI have had the great pleasure to know Jim since we first met in grade 11. In the Senate today, I had the opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of my good friend. You can listen to my statement above (it cuts in a bit late). I have also included a transcript below.

Honourable senators,

I rise today to recognize one of Alberta’s leading citizens, Jim Dinning, the retiring chancellor of the University of Calgary.
I must disclose my bias; I have known and liked Jim since we first met in grade eleven. For me and many others, he represents the model Albertan: a loyal, energetic, and positive leader and a man devoted to building a better province —but with the courage to ask tough questions, pursue new paths, and stand up for what’s right.
Born and raised in Calgary—under the active mentorship of Peter Lougheed— Jim pursued a career in public service after graduating from Queen’s University. He soon became the government’s youngest deputy minister.

Wanting to continue to make a meaningful difference, Jim put his name forward as a candidate and was elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly. In his 11 years as an MLA, Jim served in a number of cabinet portfolios, most notably as Provincial Treasurer. He is widely credited with bringing Alberta’s finances in line by administering very tough medicine.

Never one to rest on his laurels, he moved on to the private sector after retiring from public life. He served as the Executive Vice-President at TransAlta, one of Canada’s largest power companies, until 2004, while also serving as the Board Chairman for Western Financial Group and as a director of prominent Canadian companies, such as Shaw Communications and Finning International.

In addition to these corporate accomplishments, Jim has been a tremendous leader in the Alberta community.
He has been a governor of the Banff Centre, a director of the Alberta Energy Research Institute, Chair of the Canada West Foundation, Chair of the Calgary Health Region, and chair of the Export Development Corporation.
Honourable senators – leadership is the key element of success in any venture.

Jim Dinning can stand as a model to existing leaders and to the thousands of young Canadians just launching their careers as to how to lead effectively— and with heart.

Jim, the University of Calgary and Albertans thank you.