Provincial Tories in northern Alberta are not pleased with Fort McMurray-Athabasca Conservative Member of Parliament David Yurdiga after he appeared in a photo on social media this weekend helping Wildrose leader Brian Jean and party volunteers assemble election signs [see photo above].
Mr. Jean is the former MP for the area and is currently running against PC MLA and Innovation and Advanced Education Minister Don Scott in the Fort McMurray-Conklin constituency.
Facing a strong challenge from federal Liberal candidate Kyle Harreitha in the 2014 by-election, Mr. Yurdiga’s campaign received a last minute endorsement from PC leadership candidate, and now Premier, Jim Prentice. Mr. Yurdiga’s support for Mr. Jean is sure to have raised the ire of Mr. Prentice’s inner circle.
Mr. Harreitha will once again challenge Mr. Yurdiga in the October 2015 federal election in the newly redrawn Fort McMurray-Cold Lake constituency.
Mr. Yurdiga’s by-election campaign manager, Kim Farwell also tweeted a photo of volunteers helping Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater Wildrose candidate Travis Olson build campaign signs. Mr. Olson is running against PC MLA Jeff Johnson, who also endorsed Mr. Yurdiga in the 2014 by-election.
According to Elections Alberta financial disclosures, Mr. Yurdiga also made a $900 donation to the Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater Wildrose constituency association in 2014.
A deep divide between the federal Conservatives and provincial PCs emerged during the 2012 provincial election when a number of Conservative MPs actively campaigned for Wildrose candidates in their areas of the province. The ascension of former Ottawa cabinet minister Mr. Prentice to the PC leadership and mass floor-crossing of Wildrose MLAs was expected to erase the divide.