Dan Backs (born December 15, 1953) is a politician and former member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. He was elected as a Liberal candidate in the 2004 provincial election, but was kicked out of the Liberal caucus by leader Kevin Taft, who cited concerns about Backs’ ability to work as a member of a team. He sat as an independent thereafter and, after failing to secure the Progressive Conservative nomination for his riding, sought re-election in that capacity as well. He finished third in the riding in the 2008 election.
Backs was educated at St. Francis High School in Calgary, Alberta. He subsequently earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Alberta and a heavy equipment certification from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. He also studied Spanish at the Enforex Language Institute in Marbella, Spain and the Amerispan language school in Antigua Guatemala, negotiations and creative writing at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension, farm electricity and wiring at Fairview College, and newswriting at the George Meany Institute in Washington, D.C..
Backs has worked in farming, construction, and pipelining. He has served as a negotiator for the Alberta Operating Engineers Association, and as secretary-treasurer of the Alberta and Northwest Territories Council of Labour.
Backs ran for a seat to the Alberta Legislature for the first time in the 1979 Alberta general election. He ran for the Alberta Liberals in the electoral district of Lesser Slave Lake but was defeated by Larry Shaben finishing in last place in the field of four candidates.
He would attempt to gain a seat in the 1986 Edmonton municipal election, when he ran for Edmonton City Council as an alderman in Ward 1. He finished third of nine candidates, behind Bruce Campbell and Helen Paull, both of whom were elected (Edmonton’s council is composed of two councillors from each of six wards).
He subsequently sought provincial office in the 2004 election, when he ran as a Liberal candidate in Edmonton-Manning. He defeated Progressive Conservative incumbent Tony Vandermeer and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.
After being expelled from the Liberal caucus by leader Kevin Taft, Backs sought the Progressive Conservative nomination in his riding. Also contesting it were Vandermeer, his predecessor and last-time opponent, local homebuilder Peter Sandhu, and Backs’ fellow former Liberal Emerson Mayers. Sandhu won the nomination, and Backs decided to contest the next election as an independent. In this election, he finished third behind Sandhu and New Democrat Rick Murti.