David Swann chosen as interim leader of Alberta Liberals
Swann rejects proposal to merge with Alberta Party before election
David Swann will once again take the helm of the Alberta Liberal Party, after being chosen as the interim leader Sunday.
The Calgary-Mountain View MLA was picked by by an "overwhelming majority" of the party's board of directors, according to party president Shelley Wark-Martyn.
"By the sign of the votes, it was very clear that Dr. Swann should be our interim leader going forward into the election," Wark-Martyn said.
Swann was chosen to replace former leader Raj Sherman, who announced Monday he was resigning from leader and would not run in the next election. The election is largely assumed to be set for the spring.
Talking to reporters after the decision, Swann said he would not pursue a merger with other political parties before the election, although he would like to see the opposition parties work together more closely.
"It's too late with an election likely to be called within the next month or six weeks," Swann told the Canadian Press Sunday.
"There's some concern, and certainly it was expressed today, about who's making decisions in the Alberta Party, where they stand on some key policy issues, and how it is that the Wildrose feel comfortable in the Alberta Party."
He did leave the door open to talks after the election.
Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman, whose name was also floated for possible interim leader, said she would only accept the leadership if she was given a mandate to discuss cooperating closely with the Alberta Party during the election. She called for the Liberals and Alberta Party to eventually combine.
The party's choice for leader effectively rejected that proposal. Wark-Martyn said the party wanted to continue under its current identity.
"The energy in the room and the conversation in the room were overwhelmingly in support of going forward as the Liberal Party of Alberta," she said.
"We have got a great story to tell and I'm looking forward to working in the next election as a Liberal."
It is Swann's second time a the head of the party; after winning a leadership contest in 2008, Swann led the Liberals until his he stepped down from the position in 2011.