Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Joe Anglin has quit the Wildrose Party, which he says is "in turmoil", and will now sit as an independent.
His resignation from caucus comes after the PC Party swept four recent byelections, despite suggestions voters were tired of the party and could turn to the Wildrose.
Anglin told CBC News there was supposed to be an in-person meeting with caucus members on Sunday morning to discuss the recent election results. He said he found out Saturday night that his “head was on the chopping block.”
Anglin says Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith was set to put forward a motion to have Anglin kicked out of the caucus.
“I don’t have a problem taking responsibility for things I am responsible for,” Anglin said. “But I have to tell you there are much bigger problems in the Wildrose than a person who is outspoken. The election results have nothing to do with my performance whatsoever.”
Anglin wrote a lengthy explanation on his Facebook page of his decision to quit the caucus, saying the party has been distracted from its original mission by internal fighting between "ideologues and pragmatists."
He said he feels the party mismanaged his nomination process last June, as well as the recent byelections, and that something needs to change.
“The party has left its values,” Anglin told CBC News.
“The party has forgotten it was founded on this grassroots principle… they’ve interfered into the democratic process, they’ve obstructed the democratic process and people are looking the other way as if it’s not going on. The party itself is in turmoil.”
'Vulnerable time' for Wildrose
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said Anglin's announcement was not surprising.
"He had lost the Wildrose nomination previously for the next election, then he had gone on the record just a couple of days ago blasting the people around Danielle Smith so this is just a further step," Bratt said.
However, Bratt said Anglin's resignation is a blow to the party, which he says is going through "a very vulnerable time."
"It has not been a good week for the Wildrose and much of what he said is true," Bratt said. "All parties have this tension between the pragmatic wing in the party and the more ideologue wing in the party.
"When you're winning, you're able to keep those tensions away but when you're losing, those tensions come to the forefront all the time."
Shortly after Anglin announced he would sit as an independent, Wildrose MLAs unanimously passed a resolution asking Smith to withdraw her leadership review request.
Anglin says he respects Smith as a person, but he does not respect the people advising her and wants to see the party address its problems, adding that the party executive “needs to go.”
“When you’re hired to do a job, particularly when you're paid to come and run a campaign and you fail miserably, I’m not sure why we keep people like that,” Anglin said.
“It’s the old saying, if you keep doing the same thing with the same people how can you expect different results?”
Read Anglin's full statement below.
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