Alberta PCs, Wildrose sign deal to form unified party
Merger would have to be approved by party members
EDMONTON — Alberta’s two conservative parties are merging to form the United Conservative Party.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney announced the details of their unity deal Thursday.
The deal still has to be approved by 75 per cent of Wildrose members and just over 50 per cent of PC members. If it goes ahead, the new party will set up a leadership committee with an eye to electing a new leader by Oct. 28.
“The members will always be in the driver’s seat,” Jean said. “If approved by the membership, it would set us on a path to regain control of our province for now and for future generations.”
Kenney said the proposed deal represents the reunification of a family which has been divided for too long and ensures the defeat of the current NDP government.
“Hope is on the horizon,” he said. “We are not seeking to impose an agreement but rather propose a way forward.”
He spoke directly to PC members, some of whom have left the party in recent weeks, saying that they fear it’s becoming less progressive and adopting a more socially conservative position.
Kenney himself fuelled those fears in late March when he said he favoured schools telling parents if their children joined a gaystraight alliance. Critics said telling parents could effectively “out” a child before he or she is ready and put them at risk of harm or ostracism.
Kenney won the PC party leadership in March on a platform to merge, and both Kenney and Jean have said they’ll run for the leadership of a consolidated party.
Brian Jean, left, and Jason Kenney sign the deal between the two parties Thursday in Edmonton.