Former politician Danielle Smith is defending Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen’s decision to cross the floor on Thursday, leaving the Progressive Conservatives in favour of joining the governing NDP.
Smith was among those involved in an en masse floor crossing in 2014, when she and eight of her Wildrose party colleagues were accepted into Jim Prentice’s Progressive Conservative caucus.
Smith pointed out that Alberta’s political history is ripe with floor crosses, like Rob Anderson, Heather Forsyth and Guy Boutilier who left the PCs to join the Wildrose. Gene Zwozdesky left the Liberals and later joined the PCs. Raj Sherman left the PCs and eventually joined the Liberals. Gary Masyk left the PCs in favour of the Alberta Alliance. Dave Taylor, meanwhile, left the Liberals and later joined the Alberta Party.
“Every single political party has accepted a floor crosser.
Jansen’s decision marked the first time in Alberta’s history that an MLA has crossed the floor to join the NDP.
“If you look at her riding, there will be people who say she only got elected because she was a PC. Well, if there was ever an election where you could not ride the coattails of your leader and you could not ride the coattails of your party, it was this last one.”
“She fought a tough nomination battle, she won it. And then she fought a very tight race. It was a three-way split over in her riding – the party that came in second-place was the NDP.”
“I suspect that although she’s going to be hearing from all of the outraged individuals who are upset with her decision, it may well be – depending on how the NDP perform over the next three years – people might get used to the idea.”
“She has, I think, a better than even chance of being able to win the election next time around
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Jansen was one of two candidates who quit the PC leadership race this month. The other was former Calgary PC legislature member Donna Kennedy-Glans.
Kennedy-Glans clarified on social media that she won’t be crossing the floor. She took to Twitter Thursday to write: “No risk that this fiscal conservative will be joining the Alberta NDP any time soon!!”
With files from The Canadian Press