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For week ended January 23, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Party Started Because of Intolerance to LDS Members Chooses Leader
Calgary Alberta Canada Herald (CP) 22Jan00 D2

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA -- The political party started when LDS politician Randy Thorsteinson objected to the intolerance in the Social Credit party towards LDS Church members has selected a new leader. The Alberta First party chose elk farmer John Reil as their leader on a vote of about 140 to 50 at the party's first leadership convention.

Last year, Thorsteinson, who was leader of Alberta's Social Credit party, resigned along with eight of the 17-member executive board because of the intolerance that other board and party members had toward the LDS Church and its members. They then started Alberta First, a right-of-centre party. Thorsteinson wasn't at the convention due to illness.

Reil, in his first statements after winning the leadership, criticized the governing Conservative party's acceptance of a Canadian Supreme Court's gay rights ruling. Reil said that the legislature should have fought the decision. The party's stands include reducing health care spending for services not medically required, such as abortion.


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