Parties & Leaders
Andree Lau | CBC Online News | Updated Feb. 4, 2008
As leader of the Wildrose Alliance, which formed in January, Paul Hinman can either capitalize on the fresh start or fail to capture the imagination of conservative voters.
Hinman is the only elected member of the party: he was the leader of the Alberta Alliance, which voted to merge with the Wildrose Party on Jan. 18. The two groups hope to target disgruntled voters looking for someone new on the right to support.
Both parties were originally formed out of disillusionment. The Alberta Alliance was created after the 2001 election, in response to what its founders saw as a move away from the right by the governing Conservatives. Tory MLA Gary Masyk joined the fold in the summer of 2004, but had to sit as an Independent.
In the 2004 election, the party's first leader, Randy Thorsteinson, failed to win a seat and subsequently stepped down.
Hinman narrowly won in the riding of Cardston-Taber-Warner and in 2005 threw his name into the party's leadership race, which he won on the third ballot.
That leadership campaign proved to be a divisive one for the party, as several candidates resorted to aggressive spin tactics and personal attacks, which ended in legal action.
Hinman raised eyebrows in 2006 when he asked Alliance members to buy Conservative memberships so they could support Ted Morton's bid for that party's leadership. Hinman said Morton's values were most in line with the Alberta Alliance.
Disillusioned members of the Alliance drifted away to create the Wildrose Party in June 2007 but that was short-lived as the merger with the alliance came less than six months later.
Hinman's interest in politics began with his grandfather, Ted Hinman, who served as a provincial treasurer and cabinet minister in the Ernest Manning government.
Prior to political life, Hinman was a farmer and feedlot operator near Welling, 30 kilometres south of Lethbridge. He lived in the Philippines for two years, learning to speak the native language, Tagalog.
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Born:1959 in Edmonton
Education:Studied pharmacy at University of Alberta, didn't graduate
Employment:Farmer, feedlot operator
Politics:MLA Cardston-Taber-Warner (2004-present)
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