While newly elected Wildrose Alliance Leader Danielle Smith may fix her crosshairs upon the Calgary North Hill riding, the sitting MLA for the area thinks she could be off target.

Calgary North Hill MLA Kyle Fawcett said Smith’s desire to represent her home riding could be premature. Fawcett said another general election isn’t likely for up to three years.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before we come to that,” Fawcett said, adding he believes mounting pressure to win a byelection legislative seat immediately would be higher priority.

“I’m not sure Albertans would be too happy with what she calls a ‘government-in-waiting’ party whose leader is reluctant to take an opportunity to sit in the legislature.”

Smith, who met with Calgary media yesterday for the first time since being elected leader, said she hopes to run in the next election in the Calgary riding where she lives, but would consider seeking a seat elsewhere if there were an earlier byelection.

Smith won the Wildrose leadership on the weekend and is taking the helm at a time when polls suggest the party is surging in popularity at the expense of the Tories.

Wildrose is a right-of-centre party which, among others things, espouses more grassroots involvement in decision-making.

Smith said she gets the sense that many people have bought memberships in both parties and are watching closely to see what happens next.

“I think that people have been shaken loose from their traditional voting habits, and we just have to earn their trust and give them a reason to vote for us again,” she said.

“What we’re going to say is we want to see the Alberta advantage back and that is going to be a message that resonates with Albertans.”
With files from the Canadian Press