NDP loses its fifth city candidate
Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen, who crossed the floor from the PCs to the NDP, said Monday she won’t run for re-election. She’s among two MLAs from the NDP who made similar announcements on Monday, bringing to 10 the number of the party’s legislators across the province who’ve said they won’t seek another term. Infrastructure Minister Jansen said she made the decision after consulting with her family, even though she’s determined to help the government led by Rachel Notley prevail this spring. “Now, more than ever we need to help Rachel finish the job. And I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that happens,” Jansen wrote in a statement to the party. “But after much discussion with my family, I’ve decided not to seek re-election. “Let me say, this is not an easy decision. But after many years in public life, it is the right decision for me and my family,” she added. She said bolting from the PCs to the NDP in November 2016 “was one of the best decisions of my career.” She’s the fifth Calgary NDP MLA to announce they won’t contest their seat in the upcoming provincial election. Polls have suggested the NDP badly trails the official opposition UCP in the run-up to this spring’s provincial vote. Jansen — a two-term MLA who was elected as a PC in 2012 — appeared Monday to have deleted her Twitter account, which she had used frequently to tangle with critics and political foes.Much of that tone was a continuation of what the former TV news anchor took when she announced she was crossing the floor to the governing NDP. “I don’t believe that there has been anything moderate or pragmatic being offered or even discussed by the people intent on taking over the Progressive Conservative party,” she said, after also having dropped out of the race for the PC leadership after claiming harassment. “I was shocked by the bullying and the extreme views and intolerance that has characterized the PC leadership race.” Given the steep odds against her in her riding, the announcement comes as no surprise, said Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt, who noted last summer Jansen had indicated she would run again. “She needed to stay in her post until now,” he said. The departure removes one of the most heavily-targeted NDP players for the UCP, said Bratt. “There’s probably no one in the city of Calgary they wanted to beat more than Sandra Jansen — it’s personal, she’s been poking the UCP,” he said. In a tweet, UCP leader Jason Kenney thanked Jansen for her service and wished her well. “People in public life make a lot of sacrifices, and Ms. Jansen has worked hard as an MLA & Minister,” he wrote. Other city NDP MLAs who won’t be running for re-election include Calgary-Varsity’s Stephanie McLean, Calgary-Acadia MLA Brandy Payne, Calgary-Northern Hills MLA Jamie Kleinsteuber and Calgary-Hawkwood MLA Michael Connolly. Also on Monday, Strathcona-Sherwood Park NDP MLA and government whip Estefania Cortes-Vargas said she won’t seek re-election and will instead “pursue further professional development opportunities.” It’s too early to tell if the two MLAs’ exit bodes badly for NDP electoral fortunes, said Health Minister Sarah Hoffman. “Time will tell; obviously the only day that matters is election day,” said Hoffman who described both departing MLAs as “hardworking and fierce.” She said the promised departure of several UCP MLAs over the past year hasn’t drawn the same questions. The NDP elected 15 MLAs in Calgary in the 2015 election that swept the party to power. One of them, Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff, was booted from the party last November after complaining of internal bullying. And in October 2017, Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill MLA Karen McPherson left the NDP for the Alberta Party after claiming she was frustrated with the direction the government was taking. Bratt said the number of government MLAs exiting the scene isn’t unusual and a number of UCP members — seven — have also declined to run again. But, Bratt said he thinks the reality remains bleak in Calgary for the NDP, which is competitive in only three ridings to be contested by Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley in Calgary-Mountain View, Finance Minister Joe Ceci in Calgary-Buffalo and Anne McGrath in Calgary-Varsity. “They’ll be competitive but that’s not to say they’ll win those,” he said.
Alberta Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen, left, with NDP Premier Rachel Notley, will not run in the upcoming election.
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