Alberta Wildrose leader and 5 MLAs vote to join PCs
WATCH ABOVE: It’s been a wild day in Alberta politics. Eric Szeto explains which Wildrose members plan to cross the floor to the PCs, and Trish Kozicka shares what people have to say about it.
EDMONTON — Sources tell Global News that the following six Wildrose MLAs have decided they’d like to join Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party.
- Wildrose leader Danielle Smith
- Rob Anderson, MLA for Airdrie
- Jeff Wilson, MLA for Calgary-Shaw
- Gary Bikman, MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner
- Jason Hale, MLA for Strathmore-Brooks, and
- Blake Pedersen, MLA for Medicine Hat
The following three are said to still be on the fence:
- Rod Fox, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka
- Bruce McAllister, MLA for Chestermere-Rocky View
- Bruce Rowe, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills
These MLAs are said to be staying:
- Shayne Saskiw, MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills
- Rick Strankman, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler
- Drew Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat, and
- Heather Forsyth, who said she plans to retire after this sitting
- Pat Stier, MLA for Livingstone-Macleod. He was initially was on the list of those wishing to cross. But late Tuesday evening, he clarified his stance in a blog post.
The PC party caucus still has to vote to accept the seven Wildrose members who want to cross over. That vote will happen Wednesday in Edmonton. The Wildrose executive committee, meanwhile, is holding an emergency teleconference to talk about the party’s future Tuesday evening.
It was just three weeks ago that Wildrose MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan crossed the floor to the PCs. At the time, Smith said she she was confident no other MLAs from her party would leave the Wildrose to join the PCs.
Reports of a possible merger between the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives, or mass cross-over emerged Monday, though. On Tuesday, a document leaked to the media outlined the conditions of any merger. It states that since Prentice has adopted many Wildrose fiscal accountability measures, it would make sense for the two right-of-centre parties to join.
The document, which you can read in its entirety below, also promises that floor-crossing Wildrosers would be allowed to keep their seats and would get the premier’s endorsement for a PC nomination to run in the next election, slated for the spring of 2016.
Dissatisfaction with former premier Ed Stelmach helped to create the Wildrose in 2008. The party got its foot in the Legislature when three PCs crossed the floor to the more right-wing alternative.
In the last provincial election, 17 Wildrose MLAs were elected. Politicial analyst, Duane Bratt, says losing a strong opposition is bad for democracy.
“They brought down two premiers: Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford. They were effective in the legislature. Now we are going back to essentially being a large one-party state again.”
WATCH: What are constituents in the ridings of the Wildrose leader and her second-in-command saying? Tracy Nagai reports.
Jeff Callaway, the vice-president of fundraising for the Wildrose, says the party is not done yet.
“We have got over 21,000 members, 440,000 people voted for us in the last election, our fundraising is remaining strong. We will have caucus members after this. And we will be on the ballot next election.”
Wildrose Reunification Agreement:
With files from Tom Vernon, Global News
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