Lethbridge MLA crosses floor to join Tories

Lethbridge East MLA Bridget Pastoor has announced she is leaving the Liberals and joining the Progressive Conservative Party.
Lethbridge MLA Bridget Pastoor explains in a news conference why she is leaving the Liberals to join the Tories. 9:16

Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor has left the Liberals and joined the Progressive Conservative Party.

Pastoor, who announced the switch in a news conference Monday with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, said the decision had nothing to do with new Liberal leader Raj Sherman.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with the leader," she said. "This is not a partisan thing. This has nothing to do with Raj."

Premier Alison Redford gestures Monday during a news conference that was held to announce that Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor was joining her government. (CBC)

Pastoor, a former Lethbridge alderwoman and registered nurse, was first elected to the legislative assembly in 2004.

She recently made the decision to switch parties and informed the Liberal caucus before her news conference. Pastoor said she wanted to make an announcement before the fall session resumed on Monday.

"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 saying from the outside."

Pastoor's decision to cross the floor leaves the Alberta Liberals with eight out of 83 seats.

Relationship with Redford

Sherman, a former Tory MLA, won the leadership of the Alberta Liberals in September, following a vote that was criticized by some within the party.

Later that month, leadership candidate and veteran Edmonton MLA Hugh MacDonald announced he would not run in the next election.

Another leadership candidate, Edmonton Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman, said that while she was going to run again, she struggled about what role she would play in caucus.

Despite these signs of party discord, Sherman brushed off any suggestion his leadership had anything to do with Pastoor's departure.

"As you know, Bridget was a Tory and the premier, they have the close, personal relationship and Bridget described that as the reason that she's leaving," he said.

Pastoor was not in the legislative assembly Monday afternoon.