Opposition parties prepare for potential spring election

With the Liberal Party looking for a new leader, opposition MLAs are making their plans known in advance of a possible spring election.

Laurie Blakeman says party shouldn't hold leadership race with election on the horizon

Brian Mason was first elected in 2000. (CBC)

Brian Mason has announced that he will try for another term as an NDP MLA, as Alberta's opposition parties prepare for the possibility of a spring election.

Mason, who has been the MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood since 2000, said he plans to run in the next provincial election, which has not yet been called.

Mason stepped down as party leader in October, saying that the NDP needed someone new at the helm.

He was replaced by Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley, who won the leadership with 70 per cent of the vote.

Blakeman considers Liberal leadership

Mason’s announcement came one day after a string of MLAs ​— including former Liberal leader Raj Sherman — will not be running in the next election.

Sherman’s immediate resignation leaves the party without a leader at a time where rumours are swirling about a spring election.

“I know that people like to say 'liberals, dead in the water, forget it, wipe them out,’” said Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman.

“I’ll admit that it doesn’t look good, I’m not that naive, but we’re not dead yet.”

The party’s board of directors is meeting Sunday to discuss whether to appoint an interim leader or to hold a leadership race.

Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman says if she became interim leader of the party, she would seek to find a way to unite Alberta's left parties. (CBC)
​Blakeman thinks the latter would be a mistake, saying that a leadership race during the election would prove a distraction for the party.

“I wouldn’t be jumping for joy about that choice.”

Blakeman, who said she doesn’t have “fond memories” of leadership races following her loss to Sherman in 2011, has not ruled out if she would take the interim leadership if offered.

She said if she did head up the Liberals, she would investigate ways to work with the NDP and unite Alberta’s progressive vote, although didn’t say she would necessarily push to merge the two parties.

“I’m looking for ways to combine the best out there.”

Three Progressive Conservative MLAs — Donna Kennedy-Glans, MLA for Calgary-Varsity, and Red Deer-North MLA and Battle River-Wainwright’s Doug Griffiths — also announced they would not be running in the next election.


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