Alberta Advantage Party announces new candidates formerly tied to UCP, Alberta Party

Sandra Kim (left) and Yash Sharma (right) are two of four new election candidates announced by the Alberta Advantage Party on Wednesday. Photos supplied to Global News

A new party led by a woman who helped found Alberta’s Wildrose Party announced four new candidates Wednesday who will run under its banner this election, two of whom made headlines while tied to other political parties last year.

The Alberta Advantage Party announced Wednesday that Sandra Kim will run for a seat in the Camrose riding, describing her as a “strong advocate for grassroots values.”

As a nomination candidate with the UCP last summer, Kim came under fire for a post shared on her Facebook page in 2015 that read, in part: “Yes, I am a Christian. I believe the Bible. I do not support homosexuality or homosexual marriage.”

Kim later apologized and said she shared the post at a time when she was not thinking about entering politics.

“My view has changed,” she said at the time. “I’m not going to stand against same-sex marriage. If that’s what you want, have at it.

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“Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change what I posted three years ago.”

Marilyn Burns, the leader of the Alberta Advantage Party, suggested on Friday that had Kim been with her party at the time, she would not have pressured her to apologize.

“We believe that it’s Sandra’s right to hold her opinion,” Burns said. “We also believe it’s Jason Kenney’s right to have people in his party who would not believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman and that he has the right to not associate with people who might hold traditionally Catholic or Christian views.

“We would not ask her to apologize for that.”

READ MORE: UCP nomination candidate apologizes for sharing Facebook post condemning homosexuality, same-sex marriage

Watch below: (From July 2018) Sandra Kim said she takes full responsibility after a sharing a post in 2015 that condemns homosexuality and same-sex marriages. It’s the latest in a series of incidents this summer involving UCP nomination candidates and members. Julia Wong has more on what this may mean for the next provincial election.

Click to play video: 'UCP nomination candidate apologies'
UCP nomination candidate apologies

Burns said she knows Kim from her days with the Wildrose movement and that a chance encounter recently, “when the UCP was beginning to fall apart,” is what led to her joining the party.

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“She indicated, as many UCP people are finding, that the unity… [isn’t] what she thought it would crack up to be,” Burns said.

On Wednesday, the party also unveiled Yash Sharma as its candidate for the Edmonton-Ellerslie constituency. Sharma had been the Alberta Party’s candidate in that riding for this election before he was forced to leave over what the Alberta Party suggested was an incompatibility with its “zero tolerance for discriminatory views.”

READ MORE: Alberta Party votes to disqualify Edmonton candidate over ‘discriminatory views’

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Sharma’s departure from the Alberta Party came about after he was forced to apologize over being critical of an Indian Supreme Court decision allowing women of menstruating age to attend an ancient temple.

Burns suggested Wednesday that Sharma should not have felt compelled to apologize.

“Yash was of the view that it’s not up to the government or the courts to interfere with the organization of associations or religions,” she explained. “He’s a remarkable and outstanding candidate and he’s very involved in the East Indian community… and the business community and the media.

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“They’re (Kim and Sharma) both very intelligent people who have a lot to contribute.”

Burns also indicated she believes Sharma is a natural fit for her party.

“He did not want to follow Jason Kenney’s leadership and he did not actually think that we were going to make our signature drive,” she said. “The only party available a couple of years later was the Alberta Party, and he began to work with the Alberta Party.

“When he made contact with us, it was after our signature drive.”

Watch below: (From August 2017) Efforts are underway to start a new party modelled after the Wildrose Party.

Click to play video: 'Efforts underway to create new party based on Wildrose principles'
Efforts underway to create new party based on Wildrose principles

As of Wednesday evening, Sharma and the Alberta Independence Party’s Brian Lockyer were the only candidates challenging NDP incumbent Rod Loyola for a seat in Edmonton-Ellerslie.

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On Wednesday, the Alberta Advantage Party also announced Burns is running in Edmonton South West and unveiled Shawn Tylke as its candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka and Wesley Rea as its candidate for Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin.

Among the ideas put forward in the party’s platform are bringing a flat tax back for personal income taxes and changing regulations to make it easier to allow new entities to take over Alberta’s orphan wells.

“We know that with our energy platform we can begin to grow our GDP at about three months after the election,” Burns said.

READ MORE: Alberta Advantage Party becomes province’s newest official party, plans to hold meeting Saturday

The party’s website says it also wants Alberta to have the “right to select our own immigrants in the same way that Quebec already does” and to scrap the NDP’s legislation dealing with gay-straight alliances, which ensures all schools have policies for GSAs and that students who join them aren’t outed to parents without their permission.

Alberta’s provincial election will be held on April 16.

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