Strankman “incredulous” at mass Wildrose Party defection

Rick Strankman said he was “incredulous” to learn of a mass defection from the Wildrose Party that left Alberta’s official opposition

Rick Strankman said he was “incredulous” to learn of a mass defection from the Wildrose Party that left Alberta’s official opposition with just five MLAs in the provincial legislature.

The MLA for Drumheller-Stettler since 2012, Strankman was just one day into a family vacation when he received the news on Dec. 17 that nine of his fellow Wildrose MLAs, including party leader Danielle Smith, would cross the floor to join the governing Progressive Conservatives under leader and premier Jim Prentice.

Strankman’s office issued a lengthy statement on his behalf on Tuesday, Dec. 23, in which he accuses his colleagues of abandoning “their responsibilities and obligations as members of the Wildrose caucus.”

He also accused both Smith and Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson of leading “a revolt against their own party and their own leadership” and persuading “seven of their colleagues to go along with their duplicitous act.”

He made a distinction between Smith and Anderson, whom he called perpetrators, and the other seven MLAs, whom he described as “collaborators.”

Strankman said that the party’s constituency associations, its 25,000 members and executive council were let down by the “act of betrayal,” as were the 442,429 Albertans who cast their vote for party candidates in 2012.

Ending his statement on a positive note, he remarked that the party would begin 2015 with a new leader to start its next chapter, likening it to a phoenix rising from the ashes.

“As one of the many thousands of Wildrose Party members who has stuck to principle, who has not betrayed the public trust, and who has not sold out in exchange for the promise of political baubles, I look forward to the rebirth of the Wildrose Party,” he was quoted as saying.

Repeated attempts to contact Strankman for comment were unsuccessful; a staffer from Strankman’s constituency office only remarked that the MLA was “blindsided” by the turn of events.

The Wildrose Party announced Dec. 22 that Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Heather Forsyth had been selected as interim leader.

Previously the party’s culture and tourism critic, Strankman will add agriculture, Service Alberta, jobs, skills, training and labour to his portfolio.

On Tuesday, Dec. 23, Speaker of the House Gene Zwozdesky affirmed that the Wildrose Party would remain the province’s Official Opposition, despite its diminished numbers.

Ken Perreault of Castor, who serves as president of the Wildrose Party’s riding association in Drumheller-Stettler, declined to comment when reached by the Independent.

The defection increases the PCs’ majority in the assembly from 63 to 72 MLAs, leaving the Wildrose with just five MLAs. This puts them on an equal footing with the Liberal Party, with five MLAs, and barely ahead of the New Democrats, with four.

Joe Anglin, who represents Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, has sat as the assembly’s lone independent MLA since leaving the Wildrose caucus in November.


Just Posted

County council writes off certain Botha accounts

Council hears public library saw 60,000 pass through doors this year

Stettler secondhand charity looks for new home

Superfluity lease not being renewed; will move by Sept., 2018

First auction of 2018 has solid numbers: auction market

Stettler Auction Mart sees 700 head move through Jan. 9

Stettler and area youth jump into curling this winter

Junior Curling Program runs Monday nights in Stettler

Lars Callieou to entertain in Halkirk on Feb. 10

Volunteer appreciation supper held on Friday night

Stettler and area youth jump into curling this winter

Junior Curling Program runs Monday nights in Stettler

Toronto mayor wants city to co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup

The mayor of Canada’s most populous city says he wants Toronto to be among the North American cities to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup

With a lighter touch, SAG Awards follows a familiar script

Morgan Freeman accepts the Life Achievement Award at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday

S. Koreans burn Kim’s photo as N. Korean band leader passes

South Korean activists burned a large photo of Kim Jong Un as an extremely popular girl band passed them

Trudeau heads to Davos to pitch investment opportunities in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum

A look at potential Canadian nominees for this year’s Oscars

The nominations are to be revealed Tuesday morning for the 90th Academy Awards

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Most Read

Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.