raj sherman expected to join the liberal party.

Independent MLA Raj Sherman is expected to join the Liberals today.

Independent Edmonton-Meadowlark MLA Raj Sherman is expected to announce that he will join the Official Opposition Liberals at 12:30pm today. Dr. Sherman was suspended from the PC caucus in November 2010 after penning a blunt email to the Premier, and his caucus and medical colleagues criticizing the PC government’s record on health care.

Dr. Sherman’s membership in any opposition party is a mixed blessing. While he is seen as an opposition folk hero among many Albertans, his political fortunes are sporadic and continue to plunge and spike depending on the day of the week.

In February, Dr. Sherman told reporters that he was thinking about running for a party leadership, but had not decided which party. Current leader Dr. David Swann has announced that he will resign as his party’s leader at the end of the spring sitting of the Assembly. Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman is the only candidate to have officially announced interest in the job.

This may be the first time in Alberta’s history that an MLA has left another party and joined the Liberal Party.

UPDATE: Dr. Sherman has announced that he is joining the Liberal Party as a member and will seek that Party’s leadership, but he will remain an Independent MLA in the Assembly until the next election.

29 thoughts on “raj sherman expected to join the liberal party.”

  1. Dave – you are being pretty disengenuous – you KNOW that the Alberta Party which you have helped form was SALIVATING at the pospect of courting Sherman to their small (but you may claim – mighty) ranks. Sherman will keep the big ballot question at the forefront – “Do you trust the 40=year-old PC Dynasty?” From Health Care, to Energy Policy, to the Environment and Education – this TRUST ISSUE is what Sherman is sparking – and even you, Dave, have to admit that the “spark” is now a bonfire!

  2. Hi Fran – I’m not being disingenuous, but thanks for trying to guess my intentions. I’ve known Raj for a few years (we served on the U of A Senate together) and I quite like him as a person.

    From what I understand, Dr. Sherman had planned to join the Alberta Party in January, but then backed off in favour of staying an Independent. Personally, I think he was stronger as an Independent, which enabled him to work with all the parties (last night he was at an Alberta Party event in Edmonton-Rutherford and a few weeks ago he was on the campaign trail with Lac La Biche-St. Paul Wildrose candidate Shayne Saskiw). I wish him good luck in the Liberal Party.

    The spark has been lit, but the unanswered question is what happens next. How will the allegations being levelled and uncovered improve health care for Albertans? Let’s not let the bonfire burn everything to the ground.

    Will it just degenerate into a round of personal politics and witchhunting? I hope not.

    Thanks again for the comment.

    – Dave

  3. I agree that this momentum for the Liberals is a TOUGH thing for those I know who are considering the Alberta Party. Many are NDP, Green, and of course the older Lougheed Conservatives. It was telling that Sue Huff has been left out of the media on this issue, even a recent article on women on politics didn’t bother to mention her! What does that tell you, Dave?
    I respect your viewpoint, but feel that the writing is becoming a little MORE clear on the wall – the Alberta Party has a place in our democracy for sure – the “reform” concepts of “listening” , “family values” (spouted by Chapman in an early foundation piece of the Alberta Party) – all of these things are the style of politics that many find appealing (though to me they are “red flags.”). It will be a long time for the Alberta Party to have any traction – and meanwhile, the Liberals are still under Swann. He and Laurie Blakeman, Raj and the two to three other ALP Leadership contenders which will enter the race will be forming a ballot question of TRUST. The ALP is on the rise, the Executive is young (most under 35), the caucus is reinvigorated, the Membership (in my area and many others) is out of their funk!

  4. Was Laurie Blakeman left out of the loop?
    I can understand the Libs courting Raj to join their party, but was he negotiating for support for a leadership role between parties? Is that how he chooses the agenda? Party platforms of the past really don’t matter. He could lead Liberal, NDP, Green or Purple party. It really makes no difference?

    Is Blakeman going to come out in support of Raj today? Was this the planned out all along?

  5. There is no big surprise here. Raj Sherman was a very active federal Liberal and he finds a kindred spirit in Dr. Swan who himself was a doctor fired by the Government for using his position as Public Health Office for Palliser Health Region as a platform to argue for better climate change policy. He chose the party he feels he is most likely to be able to win the leadership of and shape into his own image.

  6. If having one medical doctor leading the party did almost nothing to help the Liberals, why does anyone think having another medical doctor among their ranks will make any difference?

  7. This may be the first time in Alberta’s history that an MLA has left another party and joined the Liberal Party.

    Nope – Peter Miskew and Omer St. Germain in 1934 or 1935. I’d check for sure, but you dropped this bomb the week after I boxed up New Brunswick’s finest privately held library of Alberta political history and put it in a storage locker in Montreal.

  8. According to Wikipedia (articles I didn’t write, though the fellow who did usually has his facts straight), Miskew was 1930 and St. Germain was 1934.

  9. Don’t be glib. Sherman is not an ordinary man, nor is Sherman an ordinary Doctor. He is as intelligent as he is tough. Tough as nails.

  10. @Dave C.

    Will somebody tell me what the heck did Erick Ambtman, Kent Hehr or Anne McClennan do for the ALP or for people? They have all had some time now to make a big splash, don’t get me wrong, I like all of them, but, you really need to take that outdated and skewed voter poll out. It is skewed and out of date.

    Sherman, by far is the most credible, intelligent and courageous aspiring political leader in a Alberta.

  11. Welcome to the Liberal Party Raj! You are joining a newly invigorated vibrant group of passionate Albertans dedicated to making Alberta a better place! As our next Leader are sure to be Premier!

  12. Winston Churchill said of a colleague who left the Conservatives to join the Liberal Party: “it is the only recorded instance in history of a rat swimming towards a sinking ship.”

  13. Sherman isn’t a loose cannon. He’s well informed and knows where at least some of the corpses are buried. For those who read closely the Cieran McNamee story in the Journal last week, it ought to be clear why neither he nor anyone else can name the doctors whom the government has silenced. They have to come forward on their own, and in some cases, that will jeopardize out-of-court settlements that include a non-disclousure clause,or simply rekindle memories of when they and their families were victims of intimidation by a thuggish government. But I’m confident that Dr. McNamee is not the last brave doctor who will talk truth to power.

    One thing’s for sure. Every New Democrat hyper-partisan tomorrow will say “I always knew he was a scumbag,” the mantra that they used when Laurie Blakeman, David Swann, Harry Chase, and especially Kevin Taft decided to run as Liberals after months of hot pursuit by the luckless NDs.

  14. The Real Deal: “Will somebody tell me what the heck did Erick Ambtman, Kent Hehr or Anne McClennan do for the ALP or for people?”

    Well, Kent Hehr is the Alberta Liberal MLA for Calgary Buffalo and Erick Ambtman is the President of the ALP, so I’m not sure if you need a more detailed description for what those two do for the ALP. I’d be happy to provide it, however.

    As for what all three of these individuals “do for people”, that list would take some time.

  15. If vitriol could run a car Alvin Finkel would have the solution to our energy problems! It isn’t easy to be ungracious in all occasions, but you manage to pull it off.
    I was happy to work with Raj these last months, and will do so again. If your intention is to be hurtful, and hate-full, you have succeeded. Most will move on, so should you. Mr. T does not suffer fools!

  16. @ Craig

    I would agree, Churchill and Sherman have a lot in common. Courage against terrible odds.

  17. That’s true Jonathan. Sherman thinks so too. He compared the PCs to the Nazi’s this week.

    Rogue MLA sorry for comparing PCs to Gestapo
    By FRANK LANDRY, LEGISLATURE BUREAU EDMONTON SUN

    Outspoken MLA Raj Sherman has backtracked on comments he made comparing the Tory government to Nazi Germany’s secret police force.

    The “united” opposition, meanwhile, continued to hammer on the Ed Stelmach government Monday, demanding in independent inquiry into allegations doctors were paid hush money over deadly surgery delays.

    Opposition politicians also successfully convinced the Speaker of the house to grant an emergency debate on the state of the health-care system.

    In an early morning post on Twitter, Sherman said he was “sure that health staff would ‘love’‚ to air ‘concerns’‚ to the PC Gestapo.” Later, Sherman posted to Twitter again, saying “perhaps Gestapo is too strong a word.”

  18. Well, I hope I’m wrong about current attitudes inside the NDP. But that’s the sort of stuff I heard while in that party. People cheered on election night at the NDP’s “victory party” when it was announced that Bruce Miller was defeated, even though his disagreements on policy with the NDP were zero and it was Heather Klimchuk who had defeated him. May I emphasize that I speak of the hyper-partisans in the NDP, who erect a huge wall around the party, not the entire rank and file nor most of their voters. I support NDP policies; I’ll be voting NDP provincially and federally next time around (I’m in provincial and federal Strathcona). But I’d like to see that party act more strategically, which means with some willingness to focus its resources and to be more charitable about non-Tory parties where the NDP can’t make any headway anyway.

  19. Churchill had impecable judgment. And a vision beyond self-interest. Sherman has neither one of these and should resign for his behaviour.

  20. I would have liked Raj to join the AB Party, but life moves on. I am quite positive that we are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation realignment in this province, so party allegiances are “fluid” at this point.

    Next election I predict the WRA will win a handful of rural seats, the first time the PC have been challenged in rural Alberta since the demise of the Social Credit party in the 70s. In the cities the PCs and WRA will split the right-wing vote, perhaps allowing some more progressive wins. But it is obvious to me that the Liberals cannot win an election in Alberta, nor can the NDs. Yet the stupidly refuse to merge or cooperate. Therefore I support the Alberta Party as it can function as a neutral meeting place for Liberals and NDers (and centrist Tories) to come to without having to feel as if they have gone over to “the enemy”. This is why I predict more MLA will eventually join the AB Party, perhaps even Raj one day, though perhaps not right now.

  21. Sherman ought not to have compared the PC Government to the Gestapo; a comparison to the Soviet-era KGB would, however, be justifiable :-)

    And Churchill was himself a multiple floor-crosser: he was first elected to the British House of Commons as a Conservative, and joined the Liberals over a Government measure on tariffs. Later on, while out of office, he rejoined the Conservatives, and was re-elected to Parliament as a Conservative (this was not technically floor-crossing, but it showed how he trimmed his sails to suit himself).

  22. @Dave C, Joe Albertan,

    Churchill is gone. Sherman has more vision than the entire PC caucus combined. He is a most welcome edition to the Liberals and will superboost the liberals to a potential majority.

    Liberals must come together now and regroup and stengthen. There is a protracted political battle ahead and it will require unity and strenth. Squabbling over leadership will weaken the party once again and another chance will have wasted.

    This is a new opportunity to bring back rebalancing in Alberta, with a renewed and invigorated Liberal Party. All Liberals must strengthen their outlook and think long term. We finally have a good shxt at winning this time and bringing back democracy.

  23. Alberta party should merge with Liberals. AP is in political wasteland, serving the PC machinery to weaken the Liberals by clawing away Lib votes and brining Tory dissidents in to be de-nutted. AP is not a serious party unless it joins with the Libs. Sorry Mr. Taylor.

  24. I–for one–never salivated at the thought of Dr. Sherman joining the Alberta Party.

    He has done this province a great service by creating the stir he has. That took courage, and the questions he has raised need credible, independent answers. The light he has focused on our health-care system is nothing but good.

    Still… I’m not sad he’s landed somewhere other than in the Alberta Party.

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