Calgary MLA Jansen crosses floor from Tories to NDP after dropping out of PC leadership race

EDMONTON — A one-time candidate for the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership has crossed the floor to the governing NDP.

Sandra Jansen, a Calgary member of the legislature, quit the Tory race last week over personal and online attacks she said had become intolerable.

She said the abuse peaked at the Tory policy convention when her nomination forms were vandalized and supporters of another candidate harassed her in the hallways.

Jansen, a two-term MLA, had openly indicated she was mulling whether to leave the Tory caucus and party.

She also accused leadership candidate Jason Kenney, a cabinet minister under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, of bringing “Trump-style politics” to Alberta.

“I don’t believe that there has been anything moderate or pragmatic being offered or even being discussed by the people intent on taking over the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta,” Jansen said Thursday.

Seeing the legacy of former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed being “kicked to the curb by extremists who are taking over the PC party has been heartbreaking to me,” Jansen said.

“The tone that has been brought into Alberta politics belongs in our past.”

Premier Rachel Notley said Jansen has always been a voice for moderate and progressive politics.

“We share some very important values and priorities that serve Alberta well in government,” Notley said.

Notley said the province is facing challenging times and it’s important to pull together.

“We don’t divide ourselves from each other. We don’t call each other names. We don’t harass each other. We don’t try to pull each other down,” she said.

“We believe in inclusion, equality and diversity.”

Donna Kennedy-Glans, a former PC legislature member who had been vying for the top Tory job as well, also quit the race last week over concerns the party is moving too far right on social issues.

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