Red Deer city Coun. Buck Buchanan has turned in his Progressive Conservative card to run under the Wildrose banner in the May 5 provincial election.
Buchanan, 57, lost the PC nomination for the Red Deer North constituency to Christine Moore on March 21.
He is taking a leave of absence, starting Friday, from city council until the election is over.
The third-term city councillor said he did not have sour grapes about losing the nomination. He called the process “interesting” but would not elaborate.
Buchanan said he considered running as a Wildrose candidate after the provincial budget came out on March 26.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean also called Buchanan last week and that sealed the deal. Buchanan said while Premier Jim Prentice talked about change, the budget said otherwise.
“I saw the 59 new taxes and the average family getting about a $2,500 hit,” said Buchanan. “We just can’t keep doing what we are doing.”
Buchanan’s candidacy in Red Deer North means Norm Wiebe, who initially had the nod for Red Deer North, will now run in Red Deer South.
Buchanan said Wiebe was instrumental in helping him take the leap.
Buchanan said he didn’t always agree with the Conservative policies.
“Most of the policies that the Wildrose have are ones that I believe in,” said Buchanan. “I wasn’t a big advocate of their previous leader but I quite like the new guy (Brian Jean) and his style.”
Buchanan said Prentice was initially a breath of fresh air for the Conservatives. “He grabbed the low hanging fruit,” he said. “He kept Michener Centre open. After the budget came out, we were going to change things. But things didn’t get changed. We can’t continue to keep doing what we are doing.”
Buchanan said he looks forward to the forums, where he wants to hear what his opponents have to say.
“Let’s get it on,” he said. “I would throw my record up against anybody … I saw in the last process that there are a lot of angry people out there.”
Other candidates in Red Deer North are: Michael Dawe for the Liberals and Green Party, Kim Schreiner of the New Democratic Party and Krystal Kromm with the Alberta Party.
In Red Deer South, the PC’s are represented by Darcy Mykytyshyn, while the New Democratic Party has Barb Miller and Serge Gingras is the Alberta Party’s choice.
Both Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski and Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas are not seeking another term.
The official list of candidates will be released after nomination day on April 17.
The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce will host an all-candidates forum on April 27 at the Memorial Centre.