EDMONTON – A member of the Alberta legislature for the United Conservatives is quitting the caucus to sit as an Independent over his concerns that the party is crafting policy from the top down.
Rick Strankman, who represents Drumheller-Stettler, says he is not seeing any input from grassroots members on party policy.
He says he is quitting so that he has the freedom to speak up as policy issues ahead of the spring election.
UCP Leader Jason Kenney promised party members in 2017 that they would drive policy in what he termed his “grassroots guarantee.”
Today’s announcement by Rick Strankman is disappointing. Many, including myself, look up to Rick for his past service – including his principled stand against the Wheat Board. I thank Rick sincerely for his service, and wish him the very best in the future.
My full statement. pic.twitter.com/vVkP49GeTv
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) January 15, 2019
That guarantee appeared uncertain at last year’s party policy convention when Kenney disputed a motion passed by members relating to gay-straight alliances in schools.
Kenney stressed at that time that he “holds the pen” on policy and that he would craft a platform palatable to all Albertans.
Strankman is not running for the UCP after losing the party nomination in September, but says his critical comments are not sour grapes.