Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Sources say Alberta PCs, Wildrose have agreed to merge

Alberta Wildrose Party Brian Jean Alberta conservative Sources say Alberta PCs, Wildrose have agreed to merge
Kenny Thornton | 19 May, 2017, 06:38

Premier Notley spoke at an engagement in Carstairs earlier in the day and said that the two parties have been talking about a merger for a while but it doesn't change her government's thinking.

Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and Wildrose leader Brian Jean have both previously said they will run for the leadership.

The deal would still have to be approved by a majority of members in both parties. It will be a one member, one vote system, with members of the new party casting their ballots October 28.

But Jean slowly began to support unification for two main reasons - many of his members demanded it, and public opinion polls indicated he was the most popular politician in Alberta and could defeat Kenney in a head-to-head contest. "If approved by the membership, it would set us on a path to regain control of our province for now and for future generations". "There are many people who are loyal to the progressive conservative party and some of its principles...they're not happy with this at all".

Kenney himself fuelled those fears in late March when he said he favoured schools telling parents if their children joined a gay-straight alliance. Critics said telling parents could effectively "out" a child before they are ready and put them at risk.

"That is not a path to recovery", she said. "It doesn't really matter". "I'm confident that our choice to stand with Albertans is the right one".

Kenney will be painted as the Ottawa guy who'd rather look beyond his past social conservative voting record, even though that's an accurate description of both party leaders-Jean's low-profile Parliament experience gets outshone by his personal story of resilience amid loss (his son to cancer in 2015, his home in Fort McMurray's wildfire last year).

Unifying the two right-wing parties was at the centre of PC Leader Jason Kenney's campaign when he sought leadership of the party.

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark tried the second-tier strategy; sticking a needle into the conservative wounds Kenney and Jean are trying to heal.

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The Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose have released a plan to unite under the new United Conservative Party, pending a ratification vote from members.

"If the election was today they (the NDP) would be sunk and defeating a unified conservative party would be very hard", said Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

The next time we see the navy-suited pair this way, they'll be in a policy debate for the helm of that party.

With oil prices low and Alberta's economy continuing to suffer under one of the worst downturns in decades, the PCs and Wildrose hope to harness the political discontent of Albertans who have seen friends and family lose their jobs or are out of work themselves.

Both old parties will retain their money because they they can't transfer it to each other, or to the UCP.

PC members Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth bolted to the Wildrose benches under Stelmach in early 2010, hastening his demise as PC leader a year later.

"Remember, when they initially set out their timeline they were wanting to have something done by the end of April, so we're a couple of weeks late", former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said on her Calgary radio show Thursday morning. Mr. Kenney does not have seat in Alberta's legislature; Mr. Jean leads the Official Opposition. The PCs are decimated, holding on to just nine of its 70 seats.

The PCs finished third, with 10 seats, and none of the Wildrose floor crossers made it back to the house.

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