March 6, 2019 2:24 pm
Updated: March 19, 2019 3:01 pm

Alberta Party MLA Karen McPherson won’t seek re-election in Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill

MLA Karen McPherson announced that she will not be seeking re-election.

Global News / file

A key candidates for the Alberta Party in the upcoming election has announced she won’t be running.

Karen McPherson, legislature member for Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill, said the demands of public life are too much as she works to balance work with her family life.

“The commitment required of public servants is beyond my capabilities right now,” McPherson said Wednesday in a statement posted on social media.

“I have grappled with the lack of balance between the demands of the role of an MLA and my sense of responsibility to my family and myself, especially as my elderly mother, who recently completed radiation for lung cancer, recovers from her treatment,” she wrote.

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“I have struggled with depression and anxiety throughout much of my time in office because of this lack of balance, especially during the time my father was very ill before he passed away in 2016.”

READ MORE: Judge’s ruling overturns Mandel’s ban from running in Alberta’s 2019 election

McPherson was elected to the legislature for the NDP in 2015, but left the caucus in 2017 and later joined the Alberta Party.

She said at the time that the polarization of partisan political debate was squeezing out common-sense solutions and she needed the freedom to speak her mind.

Prior to that, she was a longtime analyst and business consultant, focusing on the oil and gas sector.

READ MORE: Three Alberta Party candidates win appeal of their 5-year ban on running

She was to run in the renamed riding of Calgary-Beddington.

McPherson is one of three Alberta Party members in the legislature and was being counted on to help lead what the party hopes will be a breakthrough in the spring election.

The party grabbed one seat and took just over two per cent of the popular vote in the 2015 campaign, but is trying to run a full slate of 87 candidates this time around.

The campaign had a setback recently when seven candidates, including party leader Stephen Mandel, were banned by Elections Alberta for missing a deadline to file their nomination financial paperwork.

Six of the seven, including Mandel, have had the decisions overturned on appeal at the Court of Queen’s Bench, as they argued mitigating circumstances.

Mandel’s lawyers told court he missed the deadline because his chief financial officer, who was responsible for the paperwork, took ill.

In a statement Wednesday, the Alberta Party leader applauded McPherson for her public service.

“Karen is dynamic and dedicated to bringing change to a province she deeply loves,” Mandel said. “As a result of her incredible work, Albertans will be protected against health practitioners, who have sexually abused patients. Through her Bill 209, the first bill tabled by the Alberta Party, she pushed the government to address unemployment issues affecting Albertans. And her success in getting a sunset clause in Bill 12 will protect the interests of Albertans by preventing the NDP government from abusing that over-reaching legislation.

“I am sad to hear Karen will not seek re-election but taking care of your family really does come first. It’s more important than anything.”

Mandel wished McPherson success in the future.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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