Departing police Chief Rick Hanson to run for MLA in Calgary-Cross: Sources
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Calgary's longtime top cop will soon be chasing a seat in the Alberta legislature, sources have told Metro.
Progressive Conservative Party sources have confirmed to Metro that departing Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson will vie for the Calgary-Cross nomination. It's not clear yet if he will be acclaimed or face a challenge from some of the eight original candidates who put their names forward.
On Feb. 25, Hanson announced his sudden retirement from the Calgary Police Service after a career that spanned 40 years.
The move fuelled speculation that Hanson may want to get involved in an anticipated spring election. Premier Jim Prentice wouldn't say in a scrum the day after Hanson's retirement announcement if his party was attempt to recruit the law-enforcement pioneer, but he did praise his efforts.
"He'd be a fabulous candidate for public service, certainly," Prentice said at the time. "There's no doubt about that, he's an extraordinary Albertan and Canadian and I have all the admiration in the world for him."
Hanson's official last day at the helm of the police service is March 13.
Lori Williams, an associate professor of political science at Mount Royal University, said this move comes as no surprise given the departure notice provided by Hanson.
“Not only is he going to win the election, he’s likely to be in cabinet and he’s likely to have a lot of clout,” Williams said.
“He’s well-liked and he’s got ideas about making our society and our community better.”
Williams said this high-profile announcement will likely draw some attention away from Premier Prentice’s blaming gaffe that sparked fury across Alberta, but the blunder will likely be carried over into the presumed spring election.
“It (Hanson announcement) will probably be welcome relief, but those comments aren’t going to go away,” Williams said, noting it took away from looking ahead to the province’s future.
“It’s had the effect of looking back at the history or legacy of the conservative party.”
Williams believes Hanson will be an immediate force in the PC party.
“He won’t be the typical, capable MLA that gets sidelined by the party politics, he’ll drive a lot of their agenda,” she said.
It wasn't clear when a nomination vote in Calgary-Cross would occur should it be necessary. Earlier this week, one of the original eight candidates, Dan Singh Sidhu, announced he was pulling out of the race and wrote a message supporting any potential push to nominate Hanson.
In a follow up interview Tuesday, Sidhu told Metro, "If he (Hanson) decides to run he will be a great candidate."
Calgary-Cross is currently represented by PC MLA Yvonne Fritz, who's announced she's retiring.
— With files from Darren Krause