Pitt leaves Sawhney UCP leadership campaign, citing need to realign with constituents

Pitt announced the departure in a Facebook post Sunday morning, in which he praised Sawhney but said he needed to refocus his own efforts.

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Angela Pitt of the Airdrie-East MLA will step down as chair of Rajan Sawhney’s UCP leadership campaign over what she describes as a need to realign with her constituents.

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Pitt announced the departure in a Facebook post Sunday morning, in which he praised Sawhney but said he needed to refocus his own efforts.

“It is time for me to realign myself with my constituents and my values,” Pitt wrote. “I believe in a strong Alberta that stands up to Ottawa and respects individual freedoms.”

Sawhney, the UCP Calgary-North East MLA and former minister of transportation and community and social services, has positioned herself as a moderate candidate in the current UCP leadership race.

Your platform includes an independent investigation into Alberta’s COVID-19 responseand took aim at fellow hopeful Danielle Smith in the first leadership debate, particularly at Smith’s proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act, which would aim to allow Alberta to ignore the laws and policies of the federal government.

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Some of those stances seemed to clash with Pitt’s views, as a vocal opponent of Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions and supporter of the province seeking sovereign jurisdiction status within Canada.

In his Facebook post, Pitt said he is focusing his efforts on local issues, including Airdrie’s “inadequate” urgent care center, which is facing overnight closures on weekends, and Alberta’s troubled EMS system.

“We have to remember why we are here and what needs to be done,” Pitt said. “I will do my part to ensure that the conservative movement in Alberta remains united as we rebuild a free and prosperous future for our province.”

Sawhney’s campaign did not immediately respond to Postmedia’s request for comment.

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A mid-July Leger poll, taken of the candidates for their first debate, showed minimal support for Sawhney, with zero percent in the polls. Former Wildrose Party leaders Smith (22 percent) and Brian Jean (20 percent), as well as former Finance Minister Travis Toews (15 percent), led the pack, while 31 percent of those respondents to that survey were undecided.

Rounding out the field of leadership candidates are former cabinet ministers Leela Aheer and Rebecca Schulz and independent MLA Todd Loewen.

Those who wish to vote in the leadership contest must purchase UCP memberships, which can be done until August 12. The vote for the new leader takes place on October 6.

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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