After winning his party’s only seat in 2015 and serving as leader for the last four years, Greg Clark shook up Alberta politics Friday with the announcement that he’s stepping down as party leader.
Clark tells 660 NEWS he ultimately came to the decision earlier this week.
“It’s important the Alberta Party grows very quickly,” he said, adding the long-term goal is to grow and win the 2019 election. “The best way to do that, to sign up for memberships, to donate money, to get involved as organizers, to run with candidates, is to have a leadership process.”
The move comes as the party has seen increases in not just membership – the party is preparing for its biggest AGM next week – but in the legislature.
Last week, former NDP MLA Karen McPherson crossed the floor to become the party’s second member in the House and the party is planning to run candidates in every single riding in the next election.
But despite the need to grow the party with a leadership race, Clark said he hasn’t ruled out going for leader again.
“It is an opportunity for me to pause and reflect and talk with my family,” he said. “One thing is for sure though, I am running again in 2019.”
Sources tell City News there were backroom rumblings about possibly removing Clark for “a while.”
Clark said he consulted as much as he could without “letting the cat out of the bag.”
“We really went back and forth on different options, how are we going to grow the party, what is it going to take to catapult the Alberta Party into the next level and at the end of the day, we decided this is the thing to do and the way to do it,” he said.
“We need to throw the doors open here.”
Party financing will be crucial if the Alberta Party wants to make significant gains over the next two years and Clark says while fundraising initiatives are happening, the process has to be accelerated.
Clark said it’s been a privilege to serve as leader and he’s looking forward to the AGM.
“You certainly haven’t seen the last of me.”