The Wildrose Party has picked a new leader and made the announcement from its caucus office in Calgary on Monday.

The party called a news conference to unveil that Heather Forsyth will take over now that Danielle Smith and several other MLAs have crossed the floor and joined the PCs.

Smith and eight other MLAs jumped ship on December 17 and the Wildrose’s remaining members have vowed to come back with a vengeance in the next election. 

Smith is still the MLA for the Highwood electoral division but her place at the PC table is not guaranteed.

The Highwood Progressive Conservative Association says it acknowledges Smith as a PC member and it will proceed with a “full and open nomination process at a date to be decided in the near future.”

The Wildrose Party spoke about its future and appointed the new interim leader at a news conference in Calgary on Monday afternoon.

Heather Forsyth, the MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek will take the helm for the next sixteen months.

“I am deeply humbled to receive this endorsement from my colleagues.  Albertans can be assured our team is united in purpose and solidified in our commitment to serve,” Forsyth said. “We want to send a clear message to Albertans right across the province: we are here to fight for Alberta, we are here to earn your trust, and never before has Alberta been more in need of the values and principles the Wildrose stands for.”

She says she will continue on as Health and Seniors Critic and will spend her time as interim leader building support.

“We’re here to hold the PC government accountable, we’re here to fight and we’re here to win,” Forsyth said.  “I am ready to roll up my sleeves with our incredible Wildrose team and continue our work of getting real and tangible results for all Albertans.”

Drew Barnes will serve as the new caucus whip and also Finance, Human Services, Education and Innovation and Advanced Education Critic.

Shayne Saskiw will be the new House Leader and also critic for Justice and Solicitor General, Energy, Environment, International and Intergovernmental Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Executive Council.

Pat Stier will serve as the Wildrose Critic for Infrastructure, Transportation, Municipal Affairs and Sustainable Resource Development.

Wildrose Drumheller-Stetter MLA Rick Strankman’s will become the critic for agriculture, Service Alberta, Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour and Culture and Tourism.