Sandra Jansen

To see members of a spurned political party leap to their feet to give a standing ovation to an MLA that had just abandoned them to join a government they despise must surely be a first in Parliamentary history.

Just the same, it happened yesterday in the Alberta Legislature when Sandra Jansen, until recently a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party and now a member of the governing NDP, rose in the Legislature to passionately denounce the hateful comments she has faced in person and on social media before and since she crossed the floor of the Legislature last week.

As all Albertans know, this kind of abuse — mostly by anonymous cowards — is standard operating procedure on social media in Alberta, almost entirely emanates from the political right.

In her first member’s statement as an NDP MLA, Jansen implored the members of the House: “Don’t ignore it. Don’t look the other way. Don’t excuse it. Because our daughters are watching us.”

When she sat down, the members of her former caucus and the Wildrose Party Opposition lumbered to their feet and thundered their applause. What can this mean? Shame? Denial? Political expedience caused by a sense of the way the wind is blowing? Or the fact that in their hearts they know she’s right?

I’ll tell you this: What Jansen had to say is worth listening to in its entirety.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog,

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David J. Climenhaga

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga is a journalist and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. He left journalism after the strike...