Alberta’s Wildrose leader looking for appraisal in leadership review

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he has no regrets about asking his members for approval at the party's annual general meeting in Calgary this weekend.

CALGARY — Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he has no regrets about asking his members for approval at the party’s annual general meeting in Calgary this weekend.

The Opposition leader requested it after May’s provincial election in which the party won 21 seats after entering the campaign with five.

The Wildrose added another seat in a Calgary byelection.

Jean said Friday there has to be a leadership review every three years under the party constitution and he thought it was a good time to ask supporters to rate his performance.

“Since I became leader, we’ve had a general election where we’ve performed very well, and we had a byelection where I think we performed exceedingly well. Both of those ought to give our membership an opportunity to tell me how they think I’ve done,” he said.

“If they think I should have done better, that’s their opportunity, and if they think that I’ve done great, that’s their opportunity to give me their seal of approval.”

Jean, a former federal MP, took over as Wildrose leader last March after the party had fallen into disarray.

Former leader Danielle Smith and eight Wildrose colleagues crossed the floor last December to join what were then the governing Progressive Conservatives. Several other Wildrose MLAs had already left the party, which was left with just five seats.

“I would suggest Wildrose is coming off our most trying year in the history of the party. I couldn’t be more proud of our 22 MLAs and the opportunity for our members to discuss policy,” Jean said.

The leadership review and all policy discussions are behind closed doors, which is different from how the party has handled meeting previously.

“You mentioned past party practices and we all know what that led to,” said Jean.

“I want to do things differently. I have a different management style. I’m certainly open and transparent, but this is an opportunity for members to fully debate policy issues.”

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