New conservative candidate enters local election race

Jerry W. Semen will run in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain as a member of the Freedom Conservative Party.

Conservatives in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain will have another option in the upcoming election.

The Freedom Conservative Party will have Jerry W. Semen as a candidate this year. He formerly ran for the UCP nomination last December, but lost to Searle Turton.

Semen says he switched party allegiances after losing confidence in the UCP's direction.

“I haven’t changed, my ideology hasn’t changed. I was part of the advisory team for the unification of the Wild Rose party and the Progressive Conservatives at the time. I promoted working with the PCs and the good governance they were supposed to be bringing in, and it’s changed. I haven’t changed, but the party has changed,” he said.

The Freedom Party was founded last year by Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt, after his falling out with the then-Wildrose and UCP parties.

Semen says his party is putting the biggest focus on what he calls "governing for Alberta."

“We either need to be treated as an equal partner here in confederation, or we really need to take a hard look at independence and how we’re going to survive through the next 5, 10, 20 years, so our grandchildren have something. Right now, the path that we’re on of populism is not good governance,” he said.

 Saskatchewan's Premier Scott Moe and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper have both urged conservatives in Alberta to stay loyal to the UCP, to avoid splitting the vote.

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