10/28/2014 01:19 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST

Danielle Smith Wants Wildrose Leadership Review

CALGARY - Alberta Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith is putting her leadership on the line in the light of four byelection losses.

Smith said Tuesday she has asked to have a leadership review put on the agenda when the party holds its annual general meeting in Red Deer in mid-November.

"I have to take responsibility in the result," said Smith.

"I don't have to face another leadership review until after the next election, but I think it's important for me to know that going forward as leader of this party that I've got my members behind me."

The Opposition Wildrose was beaten in three byelections in Calgary and one in Edmonton on Monday night. All the seats were won by the governing Progressive Conservatives. The Wildrose finished third in two of the races.

The party under Smith was seen by many as a contender to form government in the 2012 general election, but came up well short against the Tories.

"This just seems to be the right way to go about it," she said of the review.

"I've had two opportunities now to contest elections, both of them having not gone the way we planned. It seems to me this is a good opportunity for my members to make that choice once again."

Smith received 90 per cent support at her last leadership review in 2013. On Tuesday, she said she would require more than the 77 per cent the PCs gave to former premier Alison Redford before she resigned earlier this year.

"A 77 per cent seems to be the kiss of death, so I would say you probably need more than 77 per cent to stay on as party leader," Smith said.

Her decision to seek a review is a good pre-emptive strike, said a Calgary political scientist.

"She's getting ahead of the curve," said David Taras from Mount Royal University.

"I would be really surprised if she lost a leadership review and she has good political instincts. Part of her good political instincts is probably to call a leadership review. I'm sure she will get over the high-jump bar quite easily, unless there's something going on in the party that most people aren't seeing."

Taras said the Wildrose needs to make the transition from being a "fierce opposition" party to a "government in waiting" in the eyes of voters.

PC Premier Jim Prentice has lived up to his billing in helping to restart that party, Taras said, and Wildrose has been underestimating its opponent.

"She's not dealing with a stumblebum. She's dealing with people who are tacticians, major political chess players, who are aware of what the next move is and the next move after that.

"It's a much higher-level game than was the case previously."

Earlier Tuesday, Prentice was in Cochrane to announce new funding to assist farmers, cattle feeders and business people in rural Alberta.

Rural areas, particularly in southern Alberta, represent the Wildrose party's bedrock support

Prentice dismissed a suggestion that he was taking the political fight to the Wildrose back yard.

"The next election is a long way away (in 2016)," said Prentice.

"What this is about is the rural economic action plan that matters across this province.

"We're now moving forward."

Smith said her party needs to re-examine its messaging to earn the support of urban voters.

"It's very clear from what I've heard from my members already that they feel we don't have the right balance in talking about what the other guys are doing and what we would do right," said Smith.

"We want to make sure that our members have the opportunity to give that full feedback to me and the party leadership about what it is we need to do on a go forward."

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