Alberta voters decide fate of 4 floor-crossers
It seems it was a good strategy for three candidates who crossed the floor of the Alberta legislature to different parties since the last provincial election.
The Wildrose Party welcomed two Progressive Conservative MLAs who crossed the floor in 2010: Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth. Then Guy Boutilier joined the Wildrose after being thrown out of the Tory caucus.
The Alberta Liberals also watched two-term MLA Bridget Pastoor switch to the Progressive Conservatives in 2011.
Anderson kept his seat in Airdrie, Forsyth topped PC candidate Wendelin Fraser by 74 votes in Calgary-Fish Creek and Pastoor held on to Lethbridge-East.
However, Boutilier lost his Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo seat to PC candidate Mike Allen .
In the 2008 election, Anderson defeated second-place Jeff Willerton of the Wildrose by over 7,000 votes in the electoral division of Airdrie-Chestermere.
Anderson, a relative newcomer to the legislature, described the political process as undemocratic under former premier Ed Stelmach. He said Stelmach, a few loyal cabinet ministers and his trusted advisers ran the show.
"Our system of government has become entirely dysfunctional and it's not something I can continue to be a part of," Anderson said at the time. "I believe that defending poor public policy that has been developed by a small band of out-of-touch government appointees and insiders would be a poor investment of my life and taxpayers' money."
The boundaries of the Airdrie riding have been redrawn four times since 1993. It now contains only the city of Airdrie itself and areas just to the east and west of Airdrie. Anderson won his riding over the new PC candidate, Kelly Hegg, with roughly 58 per cent of the popular vote.
Forsyth won the riding of Calgary-Fish Creek in 2008 as a Progressive Conservative, but she changed sides in January 2010, leaving the Tories to join the Wildrose Party.
"Under Premier Stelmach, this government has lost its way. And to watch what has happened is nothing more than wrong, and I simply could not stand by and be silent anymore," Forsyth said in an emotional speech at the time. "This is a decision I have not taken lightly."
Forsyth, a former cabinet minister, has represented her riding since 1993. Wendelin Fraser took up the PC candidacy for this election but lost a tight race to Forsyth.
Fort McMurray–Wood Buffalo
Boutilier lost the riding he represented as a Tory from 1997 until he switched parties in 2010.
Stelmach kicked the Fort McMurray–Wood Buffalo representative out of the Progressive Conservative caucus for criticizing the government in 2009 over delays in funding for a long-term care facility in his constituency.
"Guy's infectious energy, strong cabinet experience and deep understanding of so many political issues will be a huge benefit to our party, and we look forward to his help in continuing to build our party and our team," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said at the time.
Boutilier lost to Mike Allen, a Wood Buffalo municipal councillor who ran for the Progressive Conservatives this time.
People in Lethbridge-East watched to see whether Tory newcomer Pastoor would be re-elected in a riding that has been represented by a Liberal since 1993 — and she captured 41 per cent of the vote.
Pastoor surprised many political observers last November by leaving the Alberta Liberals to join the Progressive Conservatives.
She said at the time her decision had nothing to do with the newly-minted Liberal Leader Raj Sherman.
"This way I will be able to sit at the table where the decisions will be made," she said. "I'll be able to have input into the policy. I'll be able to say from the inside what I've been saying from the outside."
Pastoor's decision to cross the floor left the Alberta Liberals with eight out of 83 seats in the legislature. It seems Pastoor's personal popularity prevailed over her political affiliation in Monday's vote.
Rob Miyashiro was the Liberal candidate this time around, and he came in third behind Wildrose candidate Kent Prestage.