Wildrose caucus meets for first time; names senior shadow cabinet

The new Wildrose caucus poses for photos outside the Legislature May 11, 2015 after their first meeting. Tom Vernon, Global News

EDMONTON — Alberta’s official Opposition party met for the first time Monday. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean also announced some senior positions.

Jean received a standing ovation from the Wildrose caucus as he entered the room.

The party won 21 seats, once again earning its position as the official Opposition. Jean says this positions them to present a clear alternative to Albertans for the next four years.

READ MORE: Uniting the right is more important than ever: Danielle Smith 

“If we focus on the principles that we have and focus on the good ideas – and fight for those every day in the Legislature and fight on the ground for those ideas – and listen clearly to Albertans, then we will be able to form government in the future,” said the Wildrose leader.

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“We have an ideological government on one side that is clearly far to the left and we are not that far. What we have to do is make sure that as a caucus of 21 we fight every single day very, very
hard in this (legislature) to make sure that our ideas are heard and that Albertans’ priorities are fought for,” Jean said Monday.

“Those ideas can’t be fought on the basis of fearmongering, can’t be fought on the basis of throwing things at them and casting (aspersions) on them.

“It has to be done based on good logic, good argument, and that will get us the trust of Albertans in the future.”

Jean also revealed the core members of his shadow cabinet and caucus officers.

Drew Barnes (Cypress-Medicine Hat) has been assigned the health portfolio, Rick Strankman (Drumheller-Stettler) will take agriculture, Pat Stier (Livingstone-MacLeod) will handle the municipal affairs portfolio, former Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta director Derek Fildebrandt (Strathmore-Brooks) has been assigned finance and Mark Smith (Drayton Valley) will handle education.

Nathan Cooper will be the Wildrose House Leader and Jason Nixon will be the party whip.

“Albertans deserve a government that prioritizes low taxes, balanced budgets, a health care system that works, a world-class education system and strong communities,” Jean said.

“Our Wildrose team is ready to lay the groundwork, and give our province the effective opposition they deserve.”

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The party says more position announcements will be made after Premier-designate Rachel Notley announces her cabinet and government structure.

Jean says his party can work with the NDP on legislation around election and campaign finance reform.

On Monday, the Alberta PCs named Calgary MLA Ric McIver interim leader of the party. Jim Prentice resigned his seat and his position as leader after the PCs lost the May 5 election.

READ MORE: Rachel Notley and new NDP caucus hold first meeting 

Notley met with her caucus for the first time on Saturday.

With files from The Canadian Press, CHED

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