Al­berta PCs, Wil­drose sign deal to form uni­fied party

Merger would have to be ap­proved by party mem­bers

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - DEAN BEN­NETT

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.

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