ALBERTA

Alberta NDP Help Joe Anglin Become Independent

11/05/2014 05:10 EST | Updated 01/05/2015 05:59 EST
Wikipedia
EDMONTON - A central Alberta member of the legislature may now be sitting alone under the dome — but he won't be lonely.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Wednesday her party is helping former Wildrose member Joe Anglin learn the ropes of sitting as an Independent.

"We've had lots of conversations with Joe about how to make this transition," said Notley.

"Lots of times we find ourselves agreeing with Joe while the rest of his (Wildrose) caucus is voting a different way."

She said they have also helped other Independent members, saying it's "sort of a collegial thing."

She said she has not offered Anglin a spot in the caucus, and wouldn't say what such an offer, if it is ever made, would hinge on.

"I just really haven't got to that point. (I) haven't thought that through," she said.

Anglin has agreed in the past with the NDP, particularly on electricity issues, pushing for changes to a deregulated system that the NDP says is gouging consumers.

Anglin ran and won for the Wildrose in 2012, but quit the caucus on Sunday, saying the party executive had lost touch with the grassroots.

On Monday, he told reporters he is a "free agent" who shares values and could join any of the other parties in the legislature.

He said he talked weeks earlier with Liberal Leader Raj Sherman but confirmed there have not been any offers to join another caucus.

Anglin said he would even run again for the Wildrose if it returned to its grassroots leadership.

Anglin quit the Wildrose caucus ahead of a weekend vote to oust him from caucus.

He was already an MLA without a home. In July, he lost a contested nomination to represent Wildrose in his riding of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre in the next election.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith told reporters on Monday that the party's four recent byelection losses had exposed serious problems in caucus that could only be resolved by Anglin's departure.

Smith said caucus had not been able to have full and frank discussions for a year out of concern that Anglin was secretly taping the meetings.

Anglin denied the accusation, and Smith said she had no proof.

Anglin will now sit near the NDP in the chamber when the legislature begins the fall sitting on Nov. 17.

The Tories, with the recent byelection wins, hold 61 seats in the 87-seat house. The Wildrose, with Anglin's departure, are down to 16. The Liberals have five and the NDP four.

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