Wildrose Alliance has a new leader
Published Saturday, October 17, 2009 5:00PM MDT
A new leader has emerged to guide the Wildrose Alliance party after members gathered in Edmonton this weekend to discuss the future of their party.
Late Saturday afternoon, Danielle Smith was declared the winner of the leadership race.
Smith,38, is a former journalist and business lobbyist.
Her opponent was 38-year-old Mark Dyrholm from Calgary. He is a Calgary chiropractor and former vice president of the Progressive Group for Independent Business.
Ballots were collected from across the province and the result was announced at the party's convention in Edmonton.
Heading into the convention this weekend, the party was riding a wave of new support after Paul Hinman captured the first MLA seat for the party in Calgary-Glenmore last month.
Smith promises to focus on better management of the economy and the energy sector and says it is important for MLAs to have freedom to speak out and vote against their own party.
"MLAs should be given much greater reign to be able to speak against policy," said Smith.
The question now for the Wildrose Alliance is whether they can continue their momentum until the next provincial election which could be four years away.
"I think Albertans are looking for a change, they're looking for some direction," said Wildrose leadership committee president Jeff Callaway.
Membership for the Wildrose Alliance Party has gone up from 1,100 when the Wildrose Party of Alberta and the Alberta Alliance Party merged in January of 2008, to more than 12,000 current members.