Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith has pulled the plug on a review of her leadership – just one week after she requested that party members be given the chance to have their say on her performance.
Smith had asked her executive for a review at the party's annual meeting in Red Deer, Alta., later this month after the Opposition party failed to win a seat in four provincial by-elections Oct. 27.
Smith said she changed her mind after conferring with party executive and following a unanimous show of support from caucus members, who asked that the request be withdrawn.
"The leader has to be the first to take accountability and responsibility. That's what I did last week and I got an overwhelming reaction from our members of caucus, our executive committee and others that it wasn't me," she said at a news conference Monday.
"There's no question that they have issues with some of the personnel decisions, some of the campaign decisions and some of the strategy decisions, but those can be fixed. I am gratified to have gotten that level of support."
Her office received calls and e-mails of support from 700 of the Wildrose's 22,000 members, Smith said. The party's president was also concerned about putting a leadership review on the convention agenda without 60 days of notice.
Smith said any discord within her caucus is gone with the departure of central Alberta Legislature member Joe Anglin to sit as an Independent. She said there was a belief that Anglin was recording caucus meetings, which led to a concern about confidentiality.
"There was some concern that whatever we said in full, frank discussion was potentially being recorded," she said.
"I do not have any proof of that other than the fact he did provide tapes of the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Airdrie [annual general meeting] and obviously somebody was there recording it on his behalf."
Anglin said the allegations are ridiculous and unbecoming for a party that hopes to become government some day.
"It makes me sad. I've been around a bit longer than some of them. It's childish. It's immature and if you want to be government … you can't be acting like that. That's silly," he said in a telephone interview.
"To make a claim that I would secretly record like I'm James Bond, it doesn't sound rational. It doesn't warrant a reply. It's sad."
Anglin said he was against a leadership review for Smith from the get go, although he would like to see Wildrose straighten out its problems.
He said he wasn't considering legal action against the Wildrose for Smith's remarks.
"If they keep it up to the point it causes a lot of harm, maybe I would, but right now I'm ashamed they would stoop so low and I don't feel like going down to that level at the moment."
Wildrose house leader Rob Anderson said there are problems within the party that can be resolved. He dismissed the results of the by-elections in which the Wildrose finished in third place in two constituencies.
"I think we all just need to relax a little bit. The fact of the matter is the deck in these byelections was stacked in most of those ridings. We needed to put these by-election setbacks behind us," Anderson said.
"We need to stick together and not let internal distractions hamper us in any way going forward."