Unit­ing the right be­gins

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Terri Hux­ley The Drumheller Mail submitted

Wil­drose and Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive lead­ers sign merger agree­ment to unite the right.

Af­ter Ja­son Kenny's rise to PC lead­er­ship in March, Wil­drose leader Brian Jean and Kenny have been talk­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of a uni­fied con­ser­va­tive party to over­throw the cur­rent NPD gov­ern­ment for next year's elec­tion.

Af­ter a press con­fer­ence on May 18, 2017, the two lead­ers con­firmed their de­ci­sion to join forces as the ‘United Con­ser­va­tive Party' be­fore the up­com­ing elec­tion in 2019.

Every­thing within the party must be done so in a demo­cratic way by get­ting a gauge on mem­bers and hear­ing out their opin­ions.

Al­low­ing their say cre­ates a ‘ grass­roots' or­ga­ni­za­tion from the Wil­drose per­spec­tive.

The end goal of this merger is to reach a well-rounded con­ser­va­tive party for Al­ber­tans. Drumheller - Stet­tler MLA Rick Strankman plans to talk to con­stituents while at­tend­ing mass func­tions like grad­u­a­tions where he will at­tain feed­back and see where their per­spec­tives lie.

“Hope­fully this will be a good model for them to reach out to,” said Strankman.

For con­stituents of the Drumheller-Stet­tler riding, this means a pos­si­ble change in gov­ern­ment but must be wary of other rid­ings.

“I think what peo­ple in our riding have to re- mem­ber is the cities have more rid­ings than we do cur­rently and they are not go­ing to get less that's for sure,” said Mark Nikota, Pres­i­dent of Drumheller-Stet­tler con­stituency.

Nikota be­lieves that the Drumheller-Stet­tler con­stituency is ‘quite dif­fer­ent than the rest of the prov­ince' as it leans to­wards the right side of the spec­trum when it comes to po­lit­i­cal mat­ters.

Nikota em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of the party's pol­icy as a sim­ple ges­ture to beat the

NDP will not hold vot­ers, es­pe­cially in ur­ban cen­tres.

“I think if it is han­dled wrong, not based on prin­ci­ples and poli­cies, then peo­ple in the cities aren't go­ing to buy into this united right idea and they are go­ing to go back to an­other party where they don't prom­ise them things but give them some­thing to be­lieve in.”

The Agree­ment in prin­ci­ple on the es­tab­lish­ment of the new United Con­ser­va­tive Party out­lines key poli­cies such as rule of law, a drive for eco­nomic free­dom which en­cour­ages wealth through free en­ter­prise, low tax­a­tion rates, uni­ver­sal public healthcare, grass­roots democ­racy; in­clud­ing mea­sures to em­power Al­ber­tans to hold the gov­ern­ment ac­count­able, have all been ex­pressed.

A party's pol­icy can be the make or break of it's own fate if not done so in a thought­ful way. “I don't know if that is go­ing to be enough to have their dream come true and it wor­ries me that it ac­tu­ally might sink the ship more than any­thing,” said Nikota.

What­ever the case may be, Al­ber­tans re­main on standby as to how this merger will play out. “The next elec­tion is in 2019 some­time – that's not as far away as peo­ple think,” said Nikota.

Wil­drose leader Brian Jean and Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive leader Ja­son Kenny sign an Agree­ment in Prin­ci­ple to start to merge both par­ties to a stronger United Con­ser­va­tive Party.

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