Now that his caucus has doubled in size, Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark says he'll seek "official party status" in the legislature.

Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill MLA Karen McPherson joined Clark's caucus on Monday, after leaving the NDP caucus earlier this month to sit as an independent.

Clark said there is "plenty of precedent" for his party to gain official status.

In 2008, he said, two NDP MLAs, Rachel Notley and Brian Mason, were given official party status, along with the time in question period and resources that come with the designation.

McPherson said it was "certainly a challenge" to have  her voice heard among so many NDP MLAs.

She said joining the Alberta Party will provide her the support and resources to represent Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill with a stronger voice.

Stronger voice

"I really believe I have the ability to speak with more force, more power, outside the government caucus," she said.

McPherson was reluctant to criticize her former NDP caucus colleagues. She said she supports the NDP approach of stimulating the economy through infrastructure spending.

"I think there's a lot more we can do as well," said McPherson, who has an interest in technology and alternative energy sources.

As he introduced his party's new MLA on Monday, Clark said he rejects both the "far-right" politics of UCP leader Jason Kenney and the "far-left" views of the current government.

"Albertans demand and deserve a strong society and a strong economy," he said. "I don't see either party, right or left, that has a complete vision that fits those things."

Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said she hadn't given McPherson's departure much thought, but wished her former colleague well.

Up to her

"It's always, I think, troublesome when you think about what may or may not have worked out," Hoffman said on her way to a cabinet meeting.

"It's up to her, it's her choice," Hoffman said. "The type of democracy we have gives people those options."

McPherson said she intends to seek re-election in the next provincial election in 2019.

Articled from the CBC RSS Syndication - RSS Feeds Copyright is that of their respective owners (CBC).

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