News / Canada

Greg Clark quits as Alberta Party leader, says party poised to grow

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark goes door knocking while on the campaign trail in Edmonton on April 27, 2015. Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark is stepping down. Clark says he is quitting the position to spark a leadership race he says is needed to galvanize support for a party that is on the rise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark goes door knocking while on the campaign trail in Edmonton on April 27, 2015. Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark is stepping down. Clark says he is quitting the position to spark a leadership race he says is needed to galvanize support for a party that is on the rise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark is stepping down.

Clark said Friday he is quitting the position to spark a leadership race he says is needed to galvanize support for a party that is on the rise.

The 46-year-old first-term MLA says there's an opportunity for the Alberta Party to capture the vast majority of voters who are in the centre and don't favour the left-wing politics of the NDP or the right-wing policies of the United Conservatives.

"For the Alberta Party to be big enough to compete to win the next election we need to take some pretty bold action," Clark said in an interview.

"(We need to) throw the doors open, sell thousands of memberships, raise some money, grow the profile of the party in all corners of the province — and really the best way to do that is through a leadership contest."

The Alberta Party has a small profile in the legislature, with just two members in the house

It did not run a full slate of candidates in the 2015 campaign and captured 33,221 votes in total, representing just over two per cent of the ballots cast.

Clark won the Calgary Elbow constituency in the election with a quarter of those votes (8,707) and was joined Oct. 30 by fellow Calgary MLA Karen McPherson, who crossed the floor from the NDP.

He will make the resignation official next weekend at the party's annual meeting. He says when the party picks a new leader is up to the board of directors, but says he expects it will happen in February.

Clark said he may run for the top job again but either way he will be a candidate for Calgary Elbow again in the 2019 election.

The party is looking for support from Alberta Together.

Alberta Together is a non-profit organization looking to build support for centrist polices that espouse fiscal conservatism and social progressivism — values that dovetail with the Alberta Party's governing philosophy.

Clark says he is willingly walking the plank on the leadership and says no one is pushing him to go.

"We did do some consultation as much as we could. I certainly talked to my family. I talked to my board, of course, and some other key people and supporters, and at the end of the day decided this was the thing to do," he said.

"But ultimately it's my decision "

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