Trudeau picks Liberal supporter as Alberta’s new lieutenant governor

At the end of June, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, announced the appointment of Salma Lakhani as Alberta’s newest lieutenant governor.

At the end of June, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, announced the appointment of Salma Lakhani as Alberta’s newest lieutenant governor.

Lieutenant governors are the personal representatives of the queen, fulfilling her roles and functions as proxies, including granting royal assent to provincial laws. They are appointed by the governor general of Canada—on recommendation from the prime minister—and serve terms of at least 5 years.

Originally from Uganda, Lakhani moved to Edmonton in 1977, where she lives with her spouse and two children.

She obtained an honours degree in clinical biochemistry from the University of Machester, and runs an early childhood centre in Edmonton.

A long-time community advocate, Lakhani is a founding member of NorQuest College’s 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities movement and has sat on their board for the last 10 years. She also sat on the board for John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, and she has supported the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Kids Kottage, Sorrentino’s Compassion House, and Aga Khan Foundation Canada.

Last year, she received an honorary diploma in community services leadership from Norquest College. She won the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Lakhani will be the first Muslim lieutenant governor in Canada and will be Alberta’s 19th lieutenant governor. She will replace Lois Mitchell, who became lieutenant governor at Stephen Harper’s recommendation shortly before he called the 2015 federal election.

Between 2006 and 2020, Lakhani has made 133 donations to the federal Liberal Party, totalling $20,583.08. Most of those have gone to the party directly, but 8 went to candidates and 6 went to the Edmonton Centre constituency association. Interestingly, she also donated $500 to James Rajotte’s 2008 election campaign, the Conservative MP for Edmonton–Leduc, $250 to the Edmonton–Leduc CPC constituency association, and $250 to Matt Jeneroux’s 2015 election campaign, the CPC MP for Edmonton Riverbend.

Her spouse, Zaheer Lakhani, made 153 donations to the federal Liberal party between 2004 and 2020, totally $30,915.97. Most of those went directly to the party, but there were 8 made to the Don Valley East, Edmonton East, Edmonton Mill Woods, and Edmonton Centre constituency associations, as well as 5 to Liberal candidates. He also made a $500 to Rahim Jaffer’s 2006 campaign; he was the CPC MP for Edmonton–Strathcona.

Provincially, Lakhani donated $415 to the Alberta NDP last year.

Lakhani’s spouse has been more prolific—and diverse—in his provincial donations. In 2008, he donated $500 to Raj Sherman’s PC campaign in Edmonton–Meadowlark, as well as $1,000 to Dave Hancock’s PC campaign in Edmonton–Whitemud. In 2012, he donated $950 to the PC party and $1,000 to the provincial Liberal party. In 2015, he donated $300 to Stephen Mandel’s PC election campaign. He made a $400 donation to the Alberta NDP in 2018. He donated to the Alberta Party several times: $1,000 in 2017, $300 in 2018, $500 in 2019, and $500 during last year’s election.

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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.

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