By Collin Gallant
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Paul Hinman has entered the provincial election as a candidate in the Taber-Warner riding and leader of Wildrose Loyalty Coalition, a new party that joins a crowded competition in rural Alberta.
The familiar face in Alberta’s political outsider scene joins a five-name ballot in the southern Alberta riding that he represented in the early 2000s among seven of his party’s candidates registered with Elections Alberta.
“Our biggest goal was to get a party registered and give people a place to cast their vote who are disenfranchised with legacy parties of the United Conservatives and the New Democrats,” Hinman told Southern Alberta Newspapers.
He said that his party won’t “split the vote” in close ridings by running candidates, and at this point that includes both Medicine Hat area ridings.
“We’ve been strategic… and have been careful except for areas where real bad apples (candidates from) the UCP who need to be removed,” said Hinman, a rancher based in Warner County and leader of four distinct parties over 20 years.
“We avoid that because were a loyalty coalition that is loyal to conservative principles.”
Last summer, a court battle ensued after Hinman lost the leadership vote of the Wildrose Independence Party to Jeevan Mangat, but the new party was registered on May 1 this year and will put strong candidates forward, said Hinman.
The WIP, the Alberta Independence Party, the Buffalo Party, and the Alberta Solidarity Movement, are also each running handfuls of candidates in the province’s 40 ridings outside of major centres.
“People should realize that legacy parties are failing us, and like any new technology or break through, there will be a bunch of upstarts because of demand or the realization that something different needs to be done,” said Hinman. “it’s a good thing.”
An official candidates list for Taber-Warner, which includes the County of Forty Mile, with Alberta Elections showed six names on Thursday.
They include Hinman, incumbent Grant Hunter (United Conservatives), Jazminn Hintz (New Democrat), Joel Hunt (Green), and Frank Kast (Independence Party of Alberta).
Another, Brent Ginther, has listed affiliation of the Solidarity Movement of Alberta, a new party created by ousted Alberta Independence Party Leader Artur Pawlowski.
Mangat, who ran in the Brooks-Medicine Hat byelection last fall placing a distant fifth, will run in Innisfail-Sylvain Lake in the general election according to the party’s website.
WLC main planks include instituting a recall mechanism for provincial representatives, pulling back on environment goals, creating an Alberta Revenue Agency to withhold funds from Ottawa for items not related to federal jurisdiction, and to generally lower taxes.
Hinman questioned the NDP policy goal of bringing the province of carbon neutrality by 2035, but said the UCP position of 2050 isn’t any better.
“We can’t be going to net zero at all — we’ll become a have not province — it’s not in our interests,” he told Southern Alberta Newspapers.
The Loyalty Coalition had seven candidates registered with Elections Alberta as of May 9.
Hinman was MLA for the area from 2004 to 2008 (when the riding was known as Taber-Cardston-Warner) while he was leader of the Alberta Alliance Party.
The party then merged with the Wildrose Party to become the Wildrose Alliance and in 2009, and Hinman won a byelection to fill the seat of Calgary-Glenmore. Later that year, Hinman lost the leadership of the rebranded “Wildrose Party” to Danielle Smith.
Hinman also ran in a Fort McMurray riding byelection under the WRIP banner, and, in 2015, sought the Conservative Party of Canada’s nomination to run it the Medicine Hat federal byelection.