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It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Mike (Melvin) Percy Joseph Cardinal. On January 12, 2023 Mike passed away peacefully in Edmonton, Alberta. Mike is survived by his daughter Marieka, son Michael (Maxine), as well as his grandchildren Aliyah, Evelynn and River. He is also survived by his stepfather Francis; his brothers Eugene (Jeanie), Gilman, Irvin, Larry (Mindy), Robert (Marie), Darrel (Lorna); his sisters Hazel (Al), Clarice (Clarence), Linda (Leo), Christine (Mike), Gladys, Connie; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Rose Cardinal and Joe Cardinal (Louise).
Mike was a trailblazer throughout his life and leaves an influential legacy. He had an unmatched work ethic that was instilled into him by his parents. Mike had vision and impacted many lives through his life’s work. He dedicated himself to improving the lives of people in Alberta, especially Indigenous people. His dream was for our people to be educated, self-sufficient and successful. He spent most of his career with the Government of Alberta in various roles. In the earlier part of his career, he developed a Transitional Housing Program, and had an instrumental role in the Job Corps.
Mike was especially proud of the 19 years (from 1989 - 2008) he spent serving as an MLA and loved making a difference for his constituents and Albertans. He was a Cabinet Minister for 15 of those years, and was the first Status Indian to take on this role in Alberta. From 1992 - 2008 Mike’s cabinet posts included Minister of Family and Social Services and Aboriginal Affairs, Associate Minister of Forestry, Minister of Resource Development, Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, and Minister of Human Resources and Employment. Mike dedicated himself to all of these roles and although he could be a force, he also was kindhearted and worked in a very humble way. His goal was always to help people, in his community, his constituency and Alberta. His proudest career accomplishment was the work he did to reform the welfare system in Alberta. The people he served respected and appreciated his dedication, and many became close friends over the years.
Mike’s family was the most important thing to him. He was very close with his mother Rose and father Joe, as well as his 6 brothers and 6 sisters. He cherished his daughter Marieka and his son Michael and was proud of their accomplishments. Mike shared that the best part of his life was being a Grandpa to Aliyah, Evelynn and River. He was loved very much by his family and they are grateful to have many beautiful memories of him throughout the years.
A Traditional Wake will take place Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 3 pm and a Pipe Ceremony in the evening at the Calling Lake Community Complex. The Funeral Service will be held Friday, January 20, 2023 at 11 am at the Calling Lake Recreation Centre.