“Doing what’s right is always right,” said former Wild Rose MLA Kerry Towle, who’s officially seeking to run as a Tory for the Innisfail/Sylvan Lake riding in the next election.
Towle told about 20 supporters at the Innisfail Legion on Saturday that she never regretted her decision to cross the legislative floor to join the government side last November
If she becomes a Progressive Conservative candidate in the next provincial election, she said she will “continue to be a vibrant and strong voice for our seniors, our kids and an agricultural sector that we are all proud of.”
Although Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood also wants the Tory nomination for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Towle is confident she should win the membership vote.
“I am the best and the strongest candidate for this riding, and I intend to prove it . . . I’ve never been afraid of a fight,” she added.
Towle was elected as an opposition Wild Rose Party MLA in 2012, and gained a high profile for her vocal support of seniors and health care issues. She became controversial when she and Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan left the party to join the governing Tories.
This started a Wild Rose exodus — nine other opposition party members, including former leader Danielle Smith, also joined the Progressive Conservative government a month later. And Albertans who supported the Wild Rose Party reacted by expressing outrage and betrayal.
Towle acknowledged some displeasure remains about her floor-crossing. But she counted 40 angry constituents out of 629 people who contacted her over the last couple of months, so she believes there’s “overwhelmingly” more support.
“I was always on the side of offering a solution and not just pointing out what’s wrong” with government policies, said Towle, who noted many people had told her during the last provincial byelection that “Wild Rose had gotten really negative and that was not right for Alberta . . .
“It’s time to stop the negativity and work together for all Albertans.”
Towle stressed she would be a “proud” part of the Tory team in the election, which is rumoured to be planned for this spring.
New leader Jim Prentice offers a clear vision and “solid suggestions on how to move forward”— including ideas on dealing with falling oil prices and for diversifying the provincial economy, said the MLA, who suggested these were lacking under former PC leader Alison Redford.
Towle’s nomination was endorsed on Saturday by Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, who stood by her in Innisfail.
Denis described her as a caring, hard-working politician who fights for victims’ rights in the criminal justice system, and other important causes.
No matter on which side of the legislature Towle has sat, “Kerry puts your interests first and wants to be your representative in Edmonton and not the other way around,” he added.
Denis urged Albertans to sign on as Tory party members, so they can vote for Towle as riding representative — and also to ask four friends to sign on too. “This will involve a lot of hard work. We will need each of your votes.”
Towle, who has two daughters with her husband Brad Towle, said her eyes are open to how the political process works. “Constituents, I do it for you. I have . . . the voice to get us what we need.”