Alta. MLA Griffiths to seek Tory leadership

Alberta junior finance minister Doug Griffiths will join the race to succeed Premier Ed Stelmach.
MLA Doug Griffiths announced Tuesday he is running for leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party. ((CBC))
Battle River-Wainwright MLA and junior finance minister Doug Griffiths announced Tuesday he is running for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

"We must think large, we must be bold and we must not be afraid of change, of rejuvenation or of discussing the challenges that we have and the solutions, as we look to create our own future," Griffiths said at his announcement in Edmonton.

"It's important that the first step we take to building that future is to realize that we are all, one and the same, Albertans. There's no north versus south, there is no city versus city, there is no urban versus rural."

Griffiths, 38, has been an MLA since 2002. He joins former finance minister Ted Morton and former advanced education minister Doug Horner in the race to replace party leader and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, who is stepping down in September.

Griffiths resigned his position as parliamentary assistant for finance Tuesday morning.

Unlike the other candidates, Griffiths has never been in cabinet. But he points to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and U.S. President Barack Obama as candidates whose relative political inexperience didn't hold them back.

"We're going to show people that you don't have to have experience on executive council in order to know where the province should go," he told reporters afterward.

Donors' names will be disclosed

Griffiths said his campaign will focus on five key areas: education, land stewardship, reforming government, health care solutions, and reinvigorating the PC party.

He vowed to disclose the name of every financial donor to his campaign, even while it is underway. He also vowed to run a respectful campaign and not demean other candidates.

Griffiths is known for being active on the social media site Twitter and hopes his online presence will help get people involved in the race. He points to his youth as an asset.

"I'm 38 years old," he said. "There are a whole group of Albertans that need to be represented in this leadership race."

Griffiths trained as a teacher and has a degree in philosophy. He is also known as a fiscal hawk and an advocate for rural communities.

With files from The Canadian Press