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Snelgrove resigns from Tory caucus
Julia Parrish, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Friday, January 27, 2012 6:07PM MST
CTV News has learned MLA Lloyd Snelgrove has resigned from the Conservative caucus, and will serve out the rest of his term as an independent MLA.
The premier's office confirmed the news Friday morning.
Snelgrove had already stated his intention to not seek re-election in his Vermilion-Lloydminster riding.
In 2011, Snelgrove was appointed finance minister after Ted Morton announced his intention to run in the PC Leadership race - but was not appointed to Premier Alison Redford's cabinet.
He's been outspoken against the Tory leadership system in the months following the most recent race – in an interview with Newcap Television in Lloydminster Thursday, he reiterated his stance against the recent election of the premier.
"Fundamentally, I disagree very strongly with the methds that were used to get votes in the leadership," Snelgrove said. "We all have lines that we can't cross,
"I just don't accept that that's the way politics should be and will be."
He's recently been quoted as referring to Premier Redford's cabinet tour as a ‘pre-election tour'.
However, the day before news of his resignation from the Tory caucus broke, he stepped back from disagreeing with the tour – and said it was an important exercise for provincial politicians.
"It's important to get out there and meet people in different communities, I get that," Snelgrove said. "I think at this time of the year, when we know the budget's printed, we know we're going back into session, anytime you have an opportunity to have access to people you can do it,
"So, quite honestly, this tour is just what it is."
The leaders of some opposition parties were quick to respond to Snelgrove's resignation from the Tory caucus.
"I would like to congratulate Mr. Snelgrove for doing the right thing by taking a principled stand and saying enough is enough," Liberal leader, and former Tory MLA, Raj Sherman said.
"Obviously, there are some deep divisions within the conservative caucus," NDP leader Brian Mason said.
The PC Association recently named Dr. Richard Starke, a veterinarian and former Lloydminster city councillor, will run in the Vermilion-Lloydminster riding in the next election.
Snelgrove called Dr. Starke a ‘good and decent person' in his interview Thursday, but said it allowed him to step back from the PC party.
"I can decide tomorrow what my direction will be."
With files from Kevin Armstrong, The Canadian Press and Newcap Television Lloydminster