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“As a province, all Alberta can do is complain.”
That’s a pretty clear slap down of his own leader’s approach.
“I’m not looking to leave the caucus,” Barnes said in an interview. “I’m very grateful that the UCP has let me speak up on behalf of my constituents and Albertans.”
That almost makes it seem like he’s testing the waters for Kenney.
But Barnes is too ornery a character to go along with such a ploy. And his disagreement is far too direct and fundamental to be anything but a challenge.
Paul Hinman, the former MLA and interim leader of the new Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta, says he’d be delighted if Barnes is kicked out of the UCP caucus and joins him.
“He’d be welcome, absolutely, but I think there’s a lot more UCP members than him who are frustrated with the government and the premier . . . I hope Drew and others on the inside are seriously talking about this.”
The Wildrose Independence Party will have a leadership contest sometime soon. Hinman invites Barnes to compete with him for the job.
This new party has already blown a fastball past the UCP by formally registering the word “Wildrose.”
The UCP thought they had it legally locked up by designating Wildrose a “legacy” party, along with the Progressive Conservatives, when the two united. They’ve complained to the elections office. Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler waved them off on grounds that a party name can be rejected, but not an individual word.
There’s currently a lot of energy and time going into the creation of independence movements, including former MP Jay Hill’s Maverick Party, which intends to run only for federal seats in Parliament.