Leader Danielle Smith is among several Wildrose MLAs planning to cross to Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservative party, CBC News has learned.
Sources say the MLAs include:
- Party leader Danielle Smith (Highwood)
- House leader Rob Anderson (Airdrie)
- Jeff Wilson (Calgary-Shaw)
- Gary Bikman (Cardston-Taber-Warner)
- Blake Pederson (Medicine Hat)
- Jason Hale.(Strathmore-Brooks)
CBC News was told by two party sources earlier Tuesday that Pat Stier (Livingstone-MacLeod) was among the group crossing. However, Stier posted a statement late Tuesday evening on his website saying that he is staying with the Wildrose.
“When a time for change becomes necessary for elected officials, in my opinion they should then follow a procedure that includes their electorate in the new process, prior to making such a change,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the procedure that has been pursued by some of my Wildrose Caucus members would appear not to have provided the electorate such an opportunity, therefore I cannot support it.”
Members of the 14-person caucus met Tuesday afternoon to discuss an offer from the PCs, led by Premier Jim Prentice.
MLAs Shayne Saskiw, Drew Barnes and Rick Strankman said on social media that they were planning to stick with the Wildrose, which is the official opposition.
Currently, the PCs have 63 seats, the Liberals hold five, the NDP have four. There is one independent MLA.
The executive of the party is holding a teleconference Tuesday night to discuss what’s next.
The PC caucus is meeting on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Prentice refused to answer questions about any potential floor crossings.
“These matters are dealt with at our caucus and certainly we’ll deal with it tomorrow,” he said.
The Wildrose has had a rough few months. Candidates failed to win the four seats up for grabs in the Oct. 27 byelections.
Last month, two Wildrose MLAs, including Smith’s close friend Kerry Towle, crossed to the PCs. In early November, Joe Anglin left the Wildrose to sit as an independent in the legislature.