The family connection between Cargill and the UCP

A recent article mentioned a union letter addressed to the head of Cargill, I wondered if a copy was online, and if it mentioned the head of the plant by name.

While recently reading a story about Cargill reopening, I was interested in a statement saying that UFCW 401, the union representing Cargill workers, had written a letter to Alberta government officials and Cargill executives.

I was curious if a copy of the letter was online. If I knew who was in the Cargill executive, maybe I could see if there was any connection to the current provincial government.

After a bit of searching, I found the letter. And there at the top of it was the name of the general manager:

Dale LaGrange

I was immediately curious, as he shares a last name with Adriana LaGrange, Alberta’s education minister. And I wasn’t the only one: just earlier this week, someone else was asking about the connection.

And so I set out on some sleuthing. It took no time at all to discover what Lisa had: that Adrianna’s husband was Darren LaGrange. But finding a connection between Darren and Dale was a bit more challenging.

Nevertheless, I persisted. And after a few hours I found a connection.

In a 10 May 1983 issue of the Calgary Herald, there was an insert called Right-to-Life Signature Proclamation, a collection of over 37,000 signatures of Albertans proclaiming “respect for all innocent human life from conception until natural death”.

The signatures were organized by community. In the Red Deer section was a list of 19 people with the last name of LaGrange.

In that list, we find both Darren and Dale. Now that I knew both of them were from Red Deer, I figured they were likely related. I needed to parse out who all those other people were in the list. Then I could find out how closely related.

I found an obituary for the Daniel J LaGrange listed in that proclamation. It showed his parents and siblings. I determined that the Dan and Mabel on that list were the start of the family line, with Daniel J being one of their children, and Brenda was his wife. Ray and Fred were his siblings, and Annette and Linda were their respective spouses.

But the obituary didn’t show Dale or Darren. Which meant they were either Daniel’s grandchildren or nephews.

So I did some more searching, and I discovered an obituary from 2003 in the Red Deer Advocate for a Lena LaGrange, which matches one of the names on the list. Turns out that Lena was Darren’s mother.

I still lacked a connection for Dale.

But then I came across an obituary—again from the Red Deer Advocate—for a David LaGrange, who died of hypothermia in 1998.

Dale and David were brothers. And there’s Lena’s name, right at the bottom of the image. Lena, who was Darren’s mother, was Dale’s grandmother. Dale is Darren’s nephew.

In other words, Adriana LaGrange is the aunt of Cargill’s general manager.

Something to keep in mind when considering how long it took for Cargill to close, how the minister of agriculture said that their workplace practices were sufficient, and how quickly they reopened.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

19 replies on “The family connection between Cargill and the UCP”

This is amazing work Kim – I just posted it an hour ago and it has been shared directly 20 times – indirectly I don’t know how many times! Excellent- keep it up. I will make a donation to your blog later after Saturday brunch 👌😉

37 direct shares on FB in 60 minutes- Jay Mills made this comment for further investigation:

“There was a family relationship in Walkerton too. Somebody’s brother must be a better choice than someone with a Chemistry degree to be in charge of the water.”

In my family I could walk by first cousins on the street and not know who they are. Just by having the same last name or even being related does not mean there was any shadiness or any funny business regarding Cargill closing or reopening. People are quick to jump to conclusions without knowing all sides to the story and are more than happy to tar and feather someone based on one sided information.

Oh my gosh. That’s sleuthing at it’s finest. How much time do you have? Thanks for exposing this. Makes me sick this stuff. When there’s money connections, it’s no wonder there’s skullduggery happening.

If you took as much time researching the Cargill family, you would realize that Cargill is way more than a General Manager from a High River plant, and that this Manager has very little power in determining how the plant responds to this crisis.
As a person who works for Cargill, I can assure you that this company has, and will continue to take EVERY action to ensure the safety of their employees, regardless of whether they are a distant relative of someone in government.
This is a sensationalist note that has no basis whatsoever.

If she tries to claim that they’re not close, Adriana is also Facebook friends with the majority of Kellie and Dale’s kids. Jessica, Adam, Tanner, Brydon, Mackenzie, James, Jenna, Tannis and Laura. I know I wouldn’t add my aunt to Facebook if we were estranged.

It is great to see research in reporting rather than the current- report to an opinion or bias. Thank you. You have picked up another follower and soon to be contributor. Research and sorting through information takes time .

You wrote an interesting article based on good work. Thanks for sharing.

Hello Kim: Terrific work! Thank-you!! I hope this has been forwarded to the NDP. Thanks again. Ariane K

Yeah. It’s because they’re of the same extended family!!! You totally nailed it!! It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that there are so few meat processing plants in Canada, and beef is a dietary staple. Nothing at all!! …On a serious note: good research, but the conclusions drawn from it are a wishful thinking. Are there real examples of nepotism to be found in our provincial government? I don’t doubt that there are. Is this one such example? Doubtful.

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