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Local MLA crosses floor to join governing party

Posted on December 18, 2014 by Taber Times

By Garrett Simmons
Southern Alberta Newspapers

It’s now official.

The Government Whip issued a press release this afternoon, whic
confirmed the merger of Alberta’s two larger political parties.

Premier Jim Prentice and Danielle Smith announced the unification of
Alberta’s conservatives, as nine members of the Wildrose caucus unite
with the Progressive Conservative caucus, which will continue to
welcome further Wildrose MLAs, the release reads.

“Throughout my public and political life, I have always believed
conservatives should be united in bringing our common principles and
combined energy to public service. Today, we once again represent the
full diversity of voices and regions from across Alberta – north,
south, urban and rural,” Premier Jim Prentice said in the release.
“Alberta is stronger today with these committed people working
together. Our province needs united leadership and shared purpose in
tackling the challenges ahead.”

Smith resigned as Wildrose leader this morning, the release continues,
and the caucuses have agreed to unite under a set of aligned values
and principles, including: respecting property rights, strengthening
local decision-making in health care, and committing to sound
conservative fiscal principles.

“When I became Wildrose leader more than five years ago, I did so
with one singular objective in mind — to return to government the
conservative values and principles that I had spent my life defending.
Under Premier Prentice’s strong leadership, I believe we can work
together to lead Alberta with a renewed focus on the values and
principles that we share,” Smith said.

According to the release, a transition team will work through the
integration of the new members into the PC caucus, including
legislative affairs and staff matters.

The nine new PC caucus members include:

– Danielle Smith (Highwood)
– Rob Anderson (Airdrie)
– Gary Bikman (Cardston-Taber-Warner)
– Rod Fox (Lacombe-Ponoka)
– Jason Hale (Strathmore-Brooks)
– Bruce McAllister (Chestermere-Rocky View)
– Blake Pedersen (Medicine Hat)
– Bruce Rowe (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills)
– Jeff Wilson (Calgary-Shaw).

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