Well it has certainly been a tough week for former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and some of her former party members.
Over the weekend, Smith lost the Conservative nomination in the riding of Highwood in High River to Okotoks Town Councillor Carrie Fischer.
Any dreams of Tory glory for the former party members have been dashed. Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox who also crossed the floor with Smith lost the nomination to Peter DeWit. Another former Wildrose member, turned PC candidate Gary Bikman lost to Brian Brewin in the Cardston-Taber-Warner riding.
Former Wildrose member Kerry Towle who was one the first to cross to the Tories has come out of all of this relatively unscathed as she won the nomination in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake against Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood.
It just goes to show you that the public doesn’t take kindly to political ‘wish-washyness’. Especially when it comes to a leader of a party who really built it from the ground up and who was a very bright and effective opposition leader in her day.
Smith’s departure almost wiped the entire Wildrose party out. Newly elected leader Brian Jean certainly has his work cut out for him to rebuild the party in a big hurry before the worst kept secret in Alberta is announced – a spring election.
It is a tough timeline as once an election is called it’s a matter of weeks before Albertans head to the polls.
Back to Smith, unfortunately her emotions got the best of her following her defeat. Global National reporter Vassy Kapelos texted Smith to get reaction and to find out her intentions in the future.
Smith tactfully responded, “Piss off Vashy”, to which Kapelos responded “Pardon me?” Smith then replied, “Leave me alone.”
Smith did offer an apology for the text messages after they were leaked to the public.
Premier Jim Prentice is still backing Smith, who claims to have no regrets about crossing the floor late last year. Prentice has indicated people are being bullies to Smith and he is not impressed with what he is seeing in regards to her on social media. He does not think it is fair and he thinks Albertans should respect those in public life and who have given a lot.
That is a tough pill to swallow for those who completely supported Smith in many facets in her rise in the Wildrose Party over the years, only to see her so easily walk away from it all with no consultation or explanation to members.
Moving forward, it is clear that Albertans do not approve of floor crossing. The right thing to do is to quit and to run again in a by-election. Hopefully lessons will be learned from this.