Alta. Wildrose ag critic joins Tories

The agriculture and rural development critic for Alberta’s official Wildrose opposition has crossed the floor to the governing Tories.

Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan announced his defection from the Wildrose on Monday to the Progressive Conservatives alongside Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle, Wildrose’s critic for human services and seniors.

“In order to maintain my integrity, I feel I can best represent my constituents as a member of Premier Jim Prentice’s team,” Donovan said in a release Monday.

“Over the past few months, it has been increasingly difficult to follow the direction of the Wildrose caucus. I have also been impressed by the new management of this government and the premier’s understanding of the needs of southern Alberta.”

Donovan, a grain grower at Mossleigh, and a former director of the Blackie Seed Cleaning Association, entered municipal politics at age 19 as a Vulcan County councillor and won the Wildrose party nomination in 2010.

He became Little Bow’s MLA in April 2012, defeating Tory candidate and former Chicken Farmers of Canada chairman John Kolk. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith named Donovan as ag critic following the election.

Towle, an associate real estate broker before entering provincial politics in 2012, previously worked with her husband raising turkeys for five years (2003-08).

“After a period of reflection and discussion with family, friends and constituents, I have come to the conclusion that Premier Jim Prentice is offering the leadership that Alberta needs right now,” she said in the same release.

Prentice described Donovan and Towle as “hard-working and dedicated conservative MLAs who entered politics for the right reasons — they are passionate about improving the lives of Albertans. Kerry and Ian are strong constituency representatives who will be effective members of the government caucus.”

Wildrose had not yet named replacements in either critic post by late Monday. — Network


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