EDMONTON – Jason Hale, MLA for Strathmore-Brooks, says he spoke to the PCs about crossing the floor, but has decided to stay with the Wildrose.
“I’m staying the course,” Hale says.
He says the conversations with the Alberta Progressive Conservatives began Monday, the day two other Wildrose MLAs, Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan, announced they were leaving the party to join the PCs.
“That day that they left there was a lot of … it was a crazy day… We were all taken off guard,” says Hale.
Hale was elected in 2012. He describes Donovan as a close friend.
“Ian and I were really good friends, family friends. We’ll still continue to be good friends… I’m disappointed he left.”
“I was surprised.”
“I’m a pretty understanding guy. I understand that was a choice that he decided to make. I think he should have stayed here as a Wildrose… He did great work as a Wildrose,” says Hale.
He says, while he contemplated leaving the party as well, the decision ultimately came down to his principles.
“I was elected as a Wildrose. My constituents deserve for me to continue standing up for them.”
When asked if the PCs are actively trying to get other MLAs to cross the floor and join them, Hale responds: “Yeah, they are.”
“It would be way easier for them if there wasn’t such a good opposition to look across every day in the chamber,” he says.
When asked if Danielle Smith has his support as leader, he paused before replying: “That’s something that we’re going to have to talk about with caucus.”
“She’s been an excellent leader,” he says. “She has done great work leading us. I’ll just leave it at that. Ultimately, it’s her decision.”
Smith will be interviewed on the Global Edmonton Morning News Thursday at 7:20 a.m.
With files from Vassy Kapelos, Global News