A long time Provincial Tory Cabinet Minister passed away Sunday, January 6 in Edmonton.

Gene Zwozdesky lost his battle with cancer and is being remembered by fellow caucus members for his time in the legislature and his work in the community.

Colleague, Thomas Lukaszuk, says Zwozdesky served in many cabinet positions in government, from Health to Education to Aboriginal Affairs among others.

"You know Gene was strategically deployed into those portfolios by Premier's because of his ability to connect with people. So you know where there was an issue that could be somehow be resolved through discussions or dialogue, Gene was the guy you would send, and he'd somehow make friends."

Zwozdesky, was first elected in 1993 as a Liberal, serving under Laurence Decore, until crossing the floor to join Ralph Klein and the Tory's in 1998.

Lukaszuk says there wasn't much to choose in those days between Decore's Liberals and Klein's Tory's.

"The irony was when Ralph Klein, when he ran against Laurence Decor to be Premier, was a card holding Liberal when he was the Mayor of Calgary. And Decore was running on the platform of brutal cuts, while Klein was running on the platform of massive cuts. And it was difficult to tell which one was the Conservative and which one was the Liberal."

Many also remember Zwozdesky for his work in the Ukrainian community, in hockey and other community initiatives.

Zwozdesky served as an MLA until he was defeated in the 2015 Provincial election.

He was the Speaker of the Legislature from 2012 until 2015.

He was 70.


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