Ken­ney takes lead­er­ship reigns

The Drumheller Mail - - CLASSIFIEDS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

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.”

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