Tory MLA says crossing legislative floor should be banned
After two Tory MLAs crossed the legislature floor earlier this week to join the rival Wildrose Alliance, Conservative MLA Thomas Lukaszuk calls it "unacceptable" and feels the process should be banned altogether.
Airdrie-Chestermere MLA Rob Anderson and Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Heather Forsyth recently resigned as members of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party and as members of the PC Caucus to join the Wildrose Alliance.
Lukaszuk now says he is preparing a private member's bill preventing members from crossing the floor.
"I acknowledge the fact that I am being a hypocrite when I say that because we as government have accepted members crossing over... that doesn't make it right either," he said.
Tory Deputy Government House Leader Gene Zwozdesky was first elected as a Liberal, but he quit the party and sat as an independent. He says his situation was completely different.
"I surveyed my constituents, I bought a whole page ad, I asked people what they wanted me to do," he said.
Zwozdesky says he got 2,000 respondents to that ad and more than 95 per cent wanted him to join the Tories.
The Wildrose Alliance did not take out ads looking for approval but party leader Danielle Smith says the response has been positive overall.
But Lukaszuk still feels new legislation is needed so if members choose to leave a party, they must first step down, sit as an independent, and force an immediate by-election.
"That's not to discourage members from leaving us, if they want to then by all means, but do it the proper way," he said.
Currently Manitoba is the only province that has this type of legislation, which prevents members from crossing the floor. If a member chooses to leave the party they were votes in, they must step down, and sit as an independent until the next election.
With files from Kevin Armstrong