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Members of the Wildrose caucus had already started talking about unifying small-c conservatives when Danielle Smith criticized two members of the Alberta Legislature for crossing the floor to the Progressive Conservatives at the end of November.
Smith took a calculated risk when she defected to Jim Prentice’s Progressive Conservatives, in a stunning move on Wednesday, taking with her eight members of the Wildrose Party.
In an interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Smith said that when Wildrose MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan crossed the floor on Nov. 24, she felt she had an obligation to see whether some common ground existed between the two parties.
“There had been some back-and-forth discussions between some of our caucus members who had already started talking about if we were to come together as a merged entity — a unification of conservatives — what policies, principles and values would we base that on,” Smith said in an interview with guest host Rosemary Barton on Friday.?
Smith had publicly criticized the two MLAs for being “seduced by the perks of power.”
The former Wildrose leader did not deny that discussions had already begun, saying “I had to hear it out, as I say. I was intending all the way through to make sure that they knew that I was prepared to continue being a strong opposition leader.”
Smith, who sat down for a face-to-face meeting with Prentice last week, defended her actions, saying it became apparent to her the Wildrose Party and the PCs had more interests in common than they had differences.
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