Edmonton Journal

Airdrie deputy mayor wants Anderson out

Petitions target ex-Wildrose MLA, leader


CALGARY — An outspoken municipal politician wants Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson to resign his seat in the wake of his decision to cross the floor a second time and rejoin the Progressiv­e Conservati­ve government.

But the former Wildrose member is refusing to say if he would step down and prompt a byelection call if a significan­t number of voters sign the petition now being started by the city’s deputy mayor Allan Hunter.

While Anderson said Sunday he still supports his former party’s policy of a fresh vote when 20 per cent of electors put their names to a recall petition within a three-month period, he said it was a “hypothetic­al situation very unlikely to come to fruition” that Hunter could collect 6,000-plus signatures in the suburban riding.

A longtime supporter who reluctantl­y backed Anderson’s move to the fledgling Wildrose in 2010, Hunter said he is starting the petition because he is uncomforta­ble with the MLA’s decision to return to a Tory government that has consistent­ly mismanaged the province’s finances during four decades in power.

“Rob Anderson is doing what’s good for Rob Anderson, regardless of what’s best for Airdrie,” he said.

“People are ticked off because he’s going back to folks who have been in power for 43 years, have had tens of billions of dollars at their disposal and haven’t put enough in the bank to weather the current storm from low oil prices.”

Anderson garnered over 58 per cent of the ballots cast in the 2012 election from over 31,250 eligible voters, but Hunter predicted the two-term politician would be hard-pressed now to even win the Conservati­ve nomination.

He said Anderson “had burned a lot of bridges” with the Tory constituen­cy associatio­n because of his vocal criticism of the government in recent years and predicted the MLA could face a challenge for the party banner from Airdrie mayor Peter Brown.

Brown did not return a message left by a Calgary Herald reporter.

Former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, who led the defection of nine party MLAs to the Tories earlier this month, also faces a petition from angry voters in her Highwood riding.

Organizers of that initiative says they have so far collected over 7,500 signatures. It’s unclear how many of those were on the list of approximat­ely 32,650 voters who were eligible to cast a ballot in the riding during the last general election.

Anderson said many of his constituen­ts were initially angry at his decision to cross the floor, but he predicted those emotions will simmer down once they see more of Premier Jim Prentice’s government in action.

“I’m not going to fight against a premier that’s implementi­ng the policies I’ve advocated for the last seven years. If some people think that’s undemocrat­ic, that’s fine, that’s their choice.”

British Columbia is currently the only jurisdicti­on in the country with recall legislatio­n. That province’s law provides for a fresh election within 18 months if 40 per cent of voters in any riding sign a petition.

Alberta briefly had recall provisions in 1936, but the Social Credit regime repealed the legislatio­n a year after passing it when then premier William Aberhart was threatened with the prospect of losing his seat.

 ??  ?? Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith
 ??  ?? Rob Anderson
Rob Anderson

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