Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith delivers a keynote speech at her party's annual general meeting at the Mayfield Inn and Convention Centre in Edmonton, Alta., on November 24, 2012. (Ian Kucerak/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON — Alberta's Wildrose Party needs move on from the missteps it made in the last election by overhauling its hard, right-wing policies to catch up with a provincial "reality," it's leader urged Saturday.
"We need to defeat the PC establishment, and the only way we will do that is with ideas that are fresh, innovative and forward-looking," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith told supporters at the party's annual meeting at the Mayfield Convention Centre Saturday.
Smith told reporters the Wildrose never fully recovered after two party candidates suggested gays would burn in hellfire and white candidates were better than non-white ones during last April's provincial election.
She said the party needs to move on by stepping away from its push for a provincial police force, along with its stance on removing the Alberta's human rights commission.
Smith also said her party must revisit its stance on same-sex marriage, saying the average Albertan's stance on the issue is much different now than when it was 10 years ago.
"When the reality changes, and when people's level of acceptance change, you have to make sure that your policies are reflecting the Alberta that we are and will be, rather than trying to fight these old battles," said Smith.
Smith said every candidate running for the Wildrose will be vetted and must "have views that are respectful to all Albertans.”
When asked if Smith would remove controversial candidates who hurt the party in the next election, she said the party would review it next year.