In an announcement made alongside Premier Rachel Notley, former PC Leadership candidate and MLA for Calgary-North West Sandra Jansen announced she had crossed the floor to join the governing NDP.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon at the Alberta Legislature.

“Sandra has always been a voice for practical, moderate, progressive policy,” Notley said. “She is now going to be a compelling voice for that approach within our caucus and within our government.”

Notley said Jansen is joining the government as a member of the NDP caucus.

Jansen said most Albertans are “reasonable, moderate, pragmatic people”, and want a government that reflects those values.

“I believe we are getting that kind of government from Premier Notley,” Jansen said, going on to criticize her former party.

“I also believe that is absolutely not what would be on offer from those who are taking over the Progressive Conservative Party,” Jansen continued. “The best traditions of the Peter Lougheed legacy in Alberta politics are being pursued by Premier Notley. And that legacy is being kicked to the curb by the extremists who are taking over my former party.”

A statement from the NDP said Jansen will join the government caucus in the legislature when it resumes its sitting on Monday.

Interim PC Leader Ric McIver released a statement in response to the announcement:

“While I am disappointed that Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen has chosen to cross the floor to the NDP caucus, I respect her decision and wish her well in her new role. Sandra has been a valued member of our caucus and we know that the government will benefit from her sharp intellect and passion for serving Albertans.”

Jansen’s decision to defect to the governing party came more than a week after she announced her withdrawal from the Progressive Conservative Leadership race.

On November 8, Jansen said events at the PCAA Convention in Red Deer the previous weekend had left her “shaken”, she said she had “never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend”.

Jansen said she had been harassed online, and during the convention insults were “scrawled” on her nomination forms. She said she was also harassed by volunteers for another campaign.

Another candidate, former MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans also dropped out that same day.

One of the four remaining PC leadership candidates responded to news of Jansen’s floor crossing Thursday through social media. In a statement posted on Facebook, MP Jason Kenney said he joined McIver in wishing Jansen well, and said he respected his former rival personally, but had strong words on her change in party: