On Dec. 17 many people were shocked when they heard the news that nine Wildrose MLA's, including leader Danielle Smith and our own Strathmore-Brooks MLA Jason Hale, have crossed the floor to the PC side.
"They were elected under their Wildrose platform, if they no longer stand for what they were elected for they should resign and there should be a by-election and they can run for PCs. I think it is really scary to live in a province with no legitimate opposition," said Derek Gawne of Strathmore.
Many people share Gawne's opinion, asking for the resignation of Smith and the MLA's. A popular suggestion seems to be that those who have crossed the floor should now sit independent until the next election.
Not everyone is quick to rally against the move. Strathmore resident Ryan Steidel said it was awesome, and when asked to explain why he said, "because the Wildrose had all conservative beliefs and the only reason it was started is because Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford were not running Alberta under the beliefs of the Conservative Party. Then Jim Prentice came in and is just like King Ralph Klein, and Ms. Smith and Jason Hale, for example, came to the PC because they realized that under Jim Prentice the root of conservative beliefs are back. Good on the members of the Wildrose to jump ship."
Steidel's comments are what MLA Jason Hale himself states in a letter released to the public. He mentions having fought for the past four years to elect a truly conservative Premier, one that is committed to fiscal discipline, balancing budgets, respecting property rights, parental choice in education, decentralized health care and being open and transparent.
"Jim Prentice is exactly that kind of Premier. He has committed to a set of shared conservative principles and policies that my former Wildrose colleagues and I have been fighting towards, and he has asked for our help to ensure those policies are implemented," said Hale in the letter.
Also in the letter he questions Wildrose supporters and former conservative PC supporters about the sense in fighting with one another when both are working towards the same goals. Go to Page 6 of this edition of the Strathmore Times to see Hale's full letter to his constituents.
There were talks that the move would see the Wildrose Party cease to exist, but that's not the case. On Dec. 22 Wildrose announced their interim leader Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Heather Forsyth.
"I am deeply humbled to receive this endorsement from my colleagues. Albertans can be assured our team is united in purpose and solidified in our commitment to serve," said Forsyth. "We want to send a clear message to Albertans right across the province: we are here to fight for Alberta, we are here to earn your trust, and never before has Alberta been more in need of the values and principles the Wildrose stands for."