PHOTOS: Unintended irony? Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw from last year’s Canadian Strategy Group House of Cards Alberta political division promotion. Below: Former Wildrose House leader Rob Anderson.
The intense furor over the defection of majority of Alberta Wildrose Opposition to the Progressive Conservative government seems to have prompted new clarifying statements from two of the MLAs widely reported to have played key roles in the negotiations between the two parties.
Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills MLA Shayne Saskiw, who remains a member of the five-member Wildrose remnant in the Legislature, told the CBC he was directed by then Wildrose leader Danielle Smith to set up meetings with the premier’s chief of staff, former Alberta Liberal MLA Mike Percy.
He didn’t actually attend enough of the meetings to know what might have been promised or not promised, Mr. Saskiw told the CBC.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson made the startling revelation he had called in the RCMP to investigate a gruesome death threat made against him for switching parties by an anonymous telephonist. It is not clear from the coverage when the threat was made.
According to an Edmonton Sun story, the threat was a “major contributing factor” in Mr. Anderson’s decision not to run again, although he conceded in the story he was “leaning very heavily in that direction” before the angry reaction took place. Mr. Anderson also said his Facebook page received numerous “disturbing” comments.
Mr. Anderson’s original announcement that he intended to quit was posted on Facebook shortly before midnight on Monday. In it, he stated that he had told Premier Prentice of his intention to not run again the previous week. According to various media reports, he then didn’t return their calls the next day.
As for the disturbing messages on Facebook, that is impossible to verify as someone on Mr. Anderson’s staff appears to have been deleting negative comments from his Facebook page. Later in the week, his entire Twitter account was also deleted.
The revelation of the threat appeared to follow a scathing column by Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid that dismissed Mr. Anderson as “a serial quitter” who, no matter how often he quits, is “utterly convinced of his own rectitude.”
Mr. Anderson was quoted by the Canadian Press in its story yesterday saying he would no longer comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Mr. Prentice confirmed that, despite the civil service hiring freeze announced last month, two senior Wildrose staffers had joined the premier’s staff.
Steve Rennick, Ms. Smith’s former chief of staff, joined the premier’s staff as “manager of policy priorities,” whatever that means. Caucus researcher Kim MacDougall has become a PC policy analyst, the Edmonton Journal reported.
The Journal’s report gave no clue, however, about what has become of Ms. Smith’s trusted longtime strategist and media advisor Vitor Marciano.
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.