Sandra Jansen officially announced her intention to run for leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party Wednesday.
In a statement, the journalist-turned-Calgary-North West MLA said she was “excited about the future of the PC party” and that she hopes to “make our party once again the vehicle for the hopes and aspirations of Albertans.”
Jansen’s entry into the leadership race means five people are now running for the job. The other candidates are former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney, PC house leader Richard Starke, former PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans and Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson.
Jansen currently serves as the PC party’s critic on three different files: human services, education and status of women.
“In May, party members gave us an assignment. They overwhelmingly wanted us to rebuild this party and get it back on the right track,” she said in a statement. “They wanted us to work on regaining the trust of Albertans so that we can deliver the pragmatic, centrist government that they deserve. They don’t want us fixated on the fastest ways back to power, and they don’t want us to ignore our principles simply to defeat the NDP.”
Ric McIver currently serves as the Progressive Conservatives’ interim leader but the party has been without a permanent leader since former premier Jim Prentice announced he was exiting the political arena after his party lost an election to Rachel Notley’s NDP after more than four decades in power.
Jansen has been outspoken in her opposition to Kenney’s attempts to “unite the right” and have the PC party form a union with the Wildrose opposition. In August, she pointed out party rules forbid any leadership candidate from taking actions that would harm the party.
“If his goal is to collapse the PC party, then it would appear that he doesn’t fit the criteria for running for leader,” she said on Aug. 29.
In March, the MLA used a member’s statement to blast the Wildrose on several issues in the Alberta legislature.
“They have a limitless energy for outrage, pointing out all manner of tax dollars wasted, yet they filibuster with glee,” she said at the time. “And when their bills and motions are rejected, they bring them back over and over.”
In the same member’s statement, she also ripped the party for having previously proposed an amendment to a bill aimed at protecting women experiencing domestic violence.
The Wildrose later withdrew its amendment proposal and the Safer Spaces for Victims of Domestic Violence Amendment Act eventually received unanimous support.
Watch below: On March 14, 2016, PC MLA Sandra Jansen uses her member’s statement to slam the Wildrose Party for the way it conducts itself, including its Bill 201.
The Progressive Conservatives currently have nine members in the 87-seat legislature.
The leadership candidates will hold a debate at the party’s policy conference in Red Deer next month.
A leadership vote will be held in Calgary on March 17.
-with files from The Canadian Press.
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