Griffiths supports Mar in Tory race

Tory leadership candidate Doug Griffiths announced he is supporting Gary Mar in his bid to become Alberta's next premier.
Doug Griffiths (right) speaks to reporters at a news conference about his support for Gary Mar in the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race. (CBC)

Former Tory leadership candidate Doug Griffiths is supporting Gary Mar in his bid to become Alberta's next premier.

"We need to pull the entire province together and the party together and I think Gary has some of the best skills," Griffiths said Tuesday at a joint news conference with Mar.

"I've seen him discussed in caucus when we worked together before, to build a consensus when we would have debates and discussions, and to really motivate by encapsulating what everybody valued and I think he can do that as leader as well, the best."

Griffiths finished with the fewest votes of the six candidates on the first ballot Saturday, which took him out of the race along with Ted Morton and Rick Orman, who finished in fourth and fifth spots.

Morton and Orman also threw their support behind Mar who finished first on the ballot with 41 per cent of the votes. Mar and the second and third-place finishers, Alison Redford and Doug Horner, will face off on the second ballot Oct. 1.

Mar said he has made no promises about cabinet positions for Griffiths, or any other candidate, in exchange for their support. 

Leadership candidate Alison Redford said she is not troubled by the endorsements for Mar by Griffiths, Morton and Orman. (CBC)

"We need to see how this leadership turns out first. I don't take it as a forgone conclusion that I'll be successful on Oct. 1. We've gots lots of work to do," Mar said.

"It'll be after the leadership is concluded that the next premier of the province will have the perogative to make his or her selections for cabinet."

Redford said she was not overly concerned that Mar has been endorsed by three former candidates.

During a campaign stop at an Edmonton seniors home on Tuesday, Redford reminded party members that Mar has mused about allowing more privatization into the province's health care system.

"There is a choice to be made and it is a clear choice ... we're going to make sure we're talking about those options so that people can really see that there are those choices, and that they have the ability to direct the future of healthcare in the province," she said.

Redford said she has received endorsements from a couple of MLAs and a number of workers from the losing campaigns.

Horner told a late afternoon news conference that he is not dropping out of the race.

"We're in it. We're in it to win it," he said.