Calgary·Video

Sandra Jansen's floor crossing gets mixed reaction from her riding

While Sandra Jansen's floor crossing from the PCs to the NDP may have made headlines, many residents of her northwest Calgary riding didn't take much notice, and some of those who did — didn't approve.

Answers ranged from 'how do you just jump parties?' to Sandra who?

Sandra Jansen, a one-time candidate for the Alberta PC leadership, crossed the floor to the governing NDP over concerns the party is moving too far to the right. (Dean Bennett/Canadian Press)

While Sandra Jansen's floor crossing from the PCs to the NDP may have made headlines, many residents of her northwest Calgary riding didn't take much notice, and some of those who did — didn't approve.

Premier Rachel Notley suggested landing the former television news anchor will be a boost for the government caucus in Alberta's biggest city.

"We look forward to having Sandra in Calgary to expand our relationships and open the doors even more to our government for people in Calgary," she said.

But some unscientific canvassing in Jansen's riding on Thursday seemed to cast doubt on the depth of own relationship with voters there.

Out of more than 30 shoppers who stopped for a quick interview in the neighbourhoods of Royal Oak Centre and Rocky Ridge on Thursday night, most didn't know who she was, never mind have an opinion on her switch of allegiances.

A day later, once more people had heard about Jansen's move, CBC News returned to her riding to gauge reaction and found some sharp criticism of her decision to join the NDP.

Calgarians in Sandra Jansen's riding react to her floor crossing

5 years ago
1:02
While Sandra Jansen's floor crossing from the PCs to the NDP may have made headlines, many residents of her northwest Calgary riding didn't take much notice, and some of those who did — didn't approve. 1:02

"I don't really understand how you can just jump parties," said Cheryl, who didn't give her last name. "If you believed in it strongly, how do you just jump parties?"

Conservative supporter John, who also only gave his first name, said Jansen should have stayed in the party.

"A lot of people, they don't like the direction the NDP is going. If she stays with the NDP, I don't think she has a very good chance," he said. 

Among politicians and political watchers, the reaction has been mixed.

"I'm not quite sure that her decision is in line with the views of her constituents, but she'll have to be responsible for that," said Nick Moskaluk, president of the PC constituency association in Calgary-North West, in a statement.

"It is never an easy decision for an MLA to cross the floor. I am saddened that Sandra felt as though she did not belong in the PC party. This decision is not a reflection of the [Calgary-North West] PC Association and I am prepared to remain as the president of the constituency in order to support the renewal of the Progressive Conservative Party."

Sandra Jansen floor-crossing dissected by CBC Calgary political panel

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Jansen's decision to join the NDP is not in line with her voters' views, said Jason Kenney, a former MP who is running for leader of the PC party. Jansen recently withdrew from that race, after alleging she was harassed and intimidated by volunteers from another candidate's campaign.

"I do think that her constituents perhaps have the right to express themselves on this decision," said Kenney. "She was elected as a member of a free enterprise party just 18 months ago and has decided to go to a socialist party that is inflicting a lot of damage on Calgary's economy."

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