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Former MLA Rob Anderson pens apology letter to Wildrose Party

Former Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson — who crossed the Legislature floor in 2014 with former leader Danielle Smith and seven others to join the Progressive Conservatives — has penned a letter of apology to his former party.

Acknowledges that 'It's not going to fix everything that went on'

Two years after crossing from the Wildrose to the Progressive Conservatives, former MLA Rob Anderson has written a letter of apology to the party. (CBC)

Former Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson — who crossed the Legislature floor in 2014 with former leader Danielle Smith and seven others to join the Progressive Conservatives — has penned a letter of apology to his former party.

"It's just something I've felt I've wanted to do for a long time," he said in an interview with CBC News Saturday.

"What happened back in 2014, I believe what we were trying to do was right … but the way we went about it wasn't the right way. We should have consulted with our constituents and our membership and we just didn't do it that way. We took a faster, easier route, and it wasn't the right route."

Anderson, Smith and seven others — Gary Birkman, Rod Fox, Jason Hale, Bruce McAllister, Blake Pedersen, Bruce Rowe and Jeff Wilson — crossed the floor to join the PCs under former premier Jim Prentice in December 2014, a move he said was done in an effort to merge the two right-leaning parties.

In the blog post, Letter of Apology to the Wildrose, Anderson wrote he hopes supporters of the two parties will continue those efforts.

"As you are aware, a large number of Albertans, including, most notably, Mr. Jason Kenney, are seeking to merge the Wildrose and PC parties and the vast majority of their supporters into one conservative movement and party," he wrote.

"I sincerely hope you will all consider contributing to this unity movement as much as you can. I believe it to be critical to the future of Alberta."

Anderson said he is supporting Kenney in his bid for leadership of the PC party but is not affiliated with his campaign.

Promoting some understanding

Anderson's apology is aimed at healing some of the rift between the parties, but he noted doing that will take a lot more than a simple letter.

"There's a lot of talk about unification of the conservative parties now and folks are understanding a little bit more why it makes sense for that to happen, so I felt it might help heal a few wounds," he said.

"It's not going to be a panacea, it's not going to fix everything that went on with regards to the divisions that have occurred between the two parties for the last eight years, but I hope if I can help promote some understanding … and bring some closure. That's the reason for putting it out."

I have no desire whatsoever to re-enter politics.- Rob Anderson

Anderson's floor-crossing was the second time he had done so, having first left the PCs to join the Wildrose in 2010.

He said he has no plans to re-enter public life as he is currently focused on his law practice in Airdrie as well as spending time with his family.

"I have no desire whatsoever to re-enter politics," he said.

Anderson also decried the vitriol directed toward Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen after she crossed the floor from the PCs to the NDP last week.

Jansen had been a leadership contender for the party and said she left after being subjected to bullying, threats and intimidation.

"The way Sandra has been treated by some folks online and otherwise is deplorable. You should never treat people like that, I don't care who they are or what party they're from," said Anderson.

"People have to realize MLAs make tough decisions. Sometimes they make bad decisions, sometimes they make good decisions, but they're just people trying to make the best decisions they can."

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