A former candidate for the Progressive Conservative leadership has crossed the floor to the governing NDP.
Sandra Jansen told reporters Thursday afternoon, as a centrist, she felt like she didn’t have a home in the PC party anymore.
“I think being a centrist is sometimes a struggle for folks who are on the right,” Jansen said. “There’s always a bit of a battle between those who believe in centrist, pragmatic government and those who are a little further to the right. Maybe at the end of the day the important thing for me is less about the fighting that is consuming the party right now and more about getting some actual work done for my constituents, and that’s what I want to do.”
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) November 17, 2016
At the recent party policy convention she said no one talked policy with her and she felt she no longer could be an effective legislator. It was at that convention that Jansen said she was harassed by another leadership candidate’s supporters. In a statement after the convention she said it was that, combined with excessive online harassment, that lead her to the decision to leave the PCs.
WATCH: Rachel Notley announces Sandra Jansen will be joining the NDP
When speaking with reporters Thursday Jansen took issue with a number of current PC policies, and some proposed by the current leadership candidates. She told reporters Thursday that the NDP is pursuing many traditions of former Tory premier Peter Lougheed, and the PC party is moving away.
“I think that criticism is often lobbed at centrist politicians. Thirty-one years ago I joined the PC party and I joined a party that was inclusive, and progressive and it valued the things that I’ve always believed in. I don’t think that party is there right now and the interesting thing is a lot of that criticism is coming from folks on the right who would rather not see me in the party. I think that’s been made very clear.”
WATCH: Sandra Jansen discusses her decision to join the NDP
The last floor crossing between the Wildrose and the PCs didn’t go over so well with Albertans. Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith lost her seat when she ran again as a PC member. Notley thinks this crossing will go over better.
“In this case if any one for the most part looked at the representations that Sandra Jansen has made certainly since the last election, since she last went to the polls and talked to her electors, and then look at what this government has talked about, you would see a sense of alignment,” Notley said. “So we’re not in a position where she’s moving from one extreme policy position to a different one.”
In a statement, Interim Leader Ric McIvor said he was disappointed to hear about Jansen’s crossing, but he wishes her well.
“Sandra has been a valued member of our caucus and we know the government will benefit from her sharp intellect and passion for serving Albertans.”
Party president Katherine O’Neill echoed McIvor’s sentiments with a satement of her own.
“We wish Sandra Jansen well in her new role,” O’Neill said. “As a party, we have always supported her. We have taken her allegations of harassment and bullying very seriously, launching a third-party investigation and we will act on that report, regardless of this new development. Our party is working hard to rebuild to represent all Albertans, and we are disappointed Ms. Jansen has chosen not to support this effort.”
Notley told reporters this is the first floor crossing to the NDP in Alberta’s history. (kb)(with files from Global News)
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