NDP loses its fifth city can­di­date

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - 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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