Kenney takes leadership reigns
The political landscape in Alberta changed over the weekend as the former MP Jason Kenney has taken the helm of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party.
Kenney was running for the leadership under a banner of uniting the PC Party and the Wildrose to form a coalition with a number to defeat the Alberta NDP. By Monday, Kenney and the leadership of the Wildrose Brian Jean had met to begin working on this goal.
MLA for Drumheller-Stettler Rick Strankman sees the results of the leadership as a positive. “It is going to be interesting times going forward for the province, and I am hopeful it is going to be positively interesting times for the province,” said Strankman.
He said going forward, they want to make sure any new party, whether it remains under the Wildrose, the Conservative or a new entity, that it is inclusive.
“There is a sensitivity, in my opinion, we have to be as conducive as we can to all party members in what their perception of the unity model is because we want to be as inclusive as we can to as many as we can,” he said. “In terms of Brian Jean mentioning using the Wildrose framework, that may be the most simplistic way to go forward but there may be others that are sensitive to it that would be happy to go along with unification if it is only under the Wildrose framework. So maybe there is some wordsmithing that needs to be done to be more palatable to those on both side to the wording.”
President of the Drumheller-Stettler PC Constituency Mark Nikota doesn’t see the process as being simple. While he is not privy to what the delegates from the constituency votes, it appeared to be split. He is waiting to see the direction of the unification process.
“That is the big unknown at the moment. Kenney’s plan has already been set into motion to merge at the provincial level, I think they want the constituency associations to start to talk to each other. There is no real direction or plans on what to do next. I think they have to figure out the provincial model before we have a real idea what is going on,” he said.
He says it is important to see what the vision for the new party before members can decide whether to support it. He says logistic might be a stumbling block. “The logistics are what they are, and that is probably going to be the hardest part on the Wildrose side because they need to vote at least 75 percent in favour of disbanding or doing something like that, otherwise they are just inviting us to come and join them,” he said. “Philosophically, that is going to be the interesting to me is because the leadership was all about defeating the NDP, merge the parties and worry about the rest later. I really what to know what they are going to stand for before I throw my support behind them.”
“Richard Starke alluded to that, it’s a big tent, but which flaps are open? The left? The right? The middle? There are a lot of questions to answer.”