Premier’s in-law joins Wildrose

EDMONTON — Political ties aren’t binding the family of Alberta’s premier.

EDMONTON — Political ties aren’t binding the family of Alberta’s premier.

Allan Warshawski, the brother of Premier Ed Stelmach’s wife, bought a membership to the Wildrose Alliance last Thursday at the founding meeting of the Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville constituency association, said party official Shayne Saskiw.

Cam Hantiuk, the premier’s communications director, downplayed the significance of the moment, noting Tuesday that Stelmach isn’t close with his brother-in-law and they haven’t spoken in a number of years.

Hantiuk insisted that Stelmach is not disappointed with his brother-in-law’s political leanings, adding that everyone within a family has a democratic right to have differing political philosophies.

“Not all families agree on their politics all the time,” Hantiuk said. “That’s clear and I don’t think the premier’s family is all that different from a lot of families.”

Nevertheless, Hantiuk called the publicizing of Warshawski’s new Wildrose Alliance membership a “political stunt” and said it wasn’t a great surprise as the Tories saw tweets about it on a Wildrose Alliance Twitter site a week ago.

Saskiw said Warshawski is no different than many other people who’ve supported the Progressive Conservatives in the past but are now turning to the Wildrose Alliance.

“It might just be another example of what’s happening across Alberta, with generally Albertans losing confidence in the current government,” Saskiw said in an interview from his office in Vegreville, Alta.

Danielle Smith, the leader of the Wildrose Alliance, touted Saskiw’s defection to the party in January after he jumped ship as the vice-president of policy and resolutions for the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.