Blog | June 23, 2016

Each year the Public Interest Awards are given to individuals and/or organizations who are making an exemplary contribution in one or more of the following ways:

  • effectively drawing public attention to the importance of preserving and enhancing an element of public services, public institutions, public spaces, the public good or the public interest.
  • mobilizing support in one or more of the above areas.
  • promoting effective cooperation among individuals and organizations in one or more of the above areas.
  • working to strengthen Alberta’s public sphere and public interest in any other effective manner.

Northern Alberta: Elisabeth Ballermann, President Health Sciences Association of Alberta
"Elisabeth is approaching her 21st anniversary as President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.  During her tenure, the membership of HSAA has grown from 7,000 members to over 24,000.  More importantly, she is largely responsible for shifting the focus of the union from one of servicing the membership only to making it one of the most respected activist and trade unions in Alberta.

Elisabeth was instrumental in numerous fight back campaigns waged to defend and preserve Medicare.  An outspoken advocate for portable, accessible, affordable and quality health care, she consistenly strives to maintain the best health care system for her members and all Albertans."

- Mike Parker, Vice-President, Health Sciences Association of Alberta

"Her collaborative and cooperative and principled leadership style, teamwork and willingness to do what needs to be done to ensure the success of campaigns, research or policy initiative is unparalleled.  Elisabeth brings out the best in people.  She listens and learns, leads by example, and allows others to shine.

It has been a privilege to call her a friend and colleague for the past 20 years.  During that time she has rarely used the word 'I'.  Instead it is always 'we' or 'us'.  She has a deep recognition and understanding of social justice issues and has always been able to work collaboratively to develop solutions to promote the empowerment of all Albertans."

- Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour

Southern Alberta: Susan Wright, Susan on the Soapbox
"Susan's take on politics is informed by her work as a corporate lawyer, a parent and child, a committed supporter of democracy, fairness, transparency, compassion, and the public good.  She dissects the political scene with grace and humour."

- Carol Wodak, on behalf of Seniors Action and Liaison Team (SALT)

"Susan's blogs provide discussion about a broad range of subjects.  They enlighten, amuse and provice a place for people to discuss issues with her and others.  Her blogs are written so the average citizen can understand and participate. She is a true champion of the public interest"

- The Whitemud Citizens for Public Health (WCPH)

"In these times when it is difficult to engage people in their roles as citizens in the political process, Susan Wright has made a great contribution.  Susan is passionate about Alberta and the need to make better long term decision in the interest of people and the environment…"

- David Swann, MLA, Calgary-Mountain View

"The political landscape in Alberta is clearly enriched by Susan's progressive and well thought-out contributions often informed both by her legal background but also by her corporate experience."

- Nigel Barkes, Professor of Law, University of Calgary

"Susan's blogs have 'public interest' in spades!! A quick review of her blogs indicate that the public good is the sole mission to which she has so generously dedicated her unique professional and legal skills."

- Verna and Jack Milligan

For more information on the Public Interest Awards and to see past recipients, visit our Awards page.