ngry Wildrose party supporters are using a well-worn plank in Danielle Smith’s platform to hold the former party leader accountable to constituents.
Caitlyn Madlener, a political activist who worked on Smith’s election campaigns, is gathering support to recall the MLA and force a byelection in her riding of Highwood — an idea quickly gathering steam outside of Smith’s constituency.
“We don’t have recall legislation in Alberta,” Madlener said.
“Danielle Smith said she believes in recall legislation, it was the second most important issue if she were to be elected into office, so we wanted her to stick that principle.”
Earlier this month, nine Wildrose MLAs including Smith crossed the aisle to join the Progressive Conservatives in an unprecedented move that angered Wildrose party faithful.
They joined two other former party members — Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan — who joined the Tory caucus in late November, leaving the official opposition reeling.
Madlener joined other Wildrosers at a Tim Hortons in Okotoks Saturday to collect signatures and garner support for the campaign.
While all were welcome to sign the petition, Madlener’s goal is to get 20% of Smith’s riding to sign the petition — totalling about 6,000 people.
“That’s enough to trigger a byelection according to the laws she was campaigning for,” she said.
Campaigners collected 449 signatures Saturday, along with 30 new volunteers offering to join the 20 volunteers who spent the day waving signs on street corners and knocking on doors throughout Smith’s riding.
This suggests they aren’t alone in their anger over Smith’s aisle-crossing, Madlener said.
“A lot of us have worked for the party, we stood behind her and her leadership,” she said.
Despite the high-profile defections raising questions about the future of the party, Madlener feels there’s still a place for the Wildrose in Alberta’s political landscape.
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