Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Rona Ambrose says proposed PC-Wildrose merger what Alberta needs

Rona Ambrose says proposed PC-Wildrose merger what Alberta needs

A leadership race will begin the following day, with October 28 pegged as the date to elect a leader through a one member, one vote system.

"It's been an honour touring the province for the past year getting feedback from Wildrose members and supporters about the direction and future of our movement".

"This agreement ensures the defeat of this disastrous NDP government and the election of a free-enterprise government", declared Kenney, not a little immodestly.

"Hope is on the horizon", he said.

Rolling out the obvious theme, she said the Alberta right is addicted "to more and more extreme positions to the point where they might fall off the map". "There are many people who are loyal to the progressive conservative party and some of its principles...they're not happy with this at all".

Premier Rachel Notley said her party is focused on steering the province through the current downturn rather than making huge cuts to government programs, including health care and education, "to fund tax breaks for the top one per cent".

Elections Alberta has given the OK for a number of ways the Wildrose can legally spend its remaining cash to make sure it's not forfeited to the Crown, such as promoting a leader or party ideals. "I'm confident that our choice to stand with Albertans is the right one".

But first, members of both parties have to ratify the agreement July 22. "Truthfully, conservatives across this province, no matter what stripe they may be at the moment, really do in many respects want to be united and definitely don't want to see another term of NDP government".

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark tried the second-tier strategy; sticking a needle into the conservative wounds Kenney and Jean are trying to heal.

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By the way, anyone with memberships in both parties gets to vote twice.

And there are Wildrosers who are fiercely anti-PC and who feel their party can win the next election without the need to taint itself with the PCs.

If the deal is passed, the new party will move quickly to establish an executive and constituency boards in time for the next election.

The energy industry is likely to welcome unification of the right, with the new party eager to develop policies aimed at cutting costs for the oil and gas sector.

"Both of these leaders have a pretty major liability in that they are both social conservatives, and that's going to feed suspicions that this party is not going to be progressive", said Williams from Mount Royal University in Calgary.

May 7, 2016: Party members at the PC AGM vote to change the process to elect a new leader from one member one vote, to a delegate system. They believe Alberta Alliance won't be able to effectively challenge the Ed Stelmach PC government.

PC members Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth bolted to the Wildrose benches under Stelmach in early 2010, hastening his demise as PC leader a year later. Mr. Kenney does not have seat in Alberta's legislature; Mr. Jean leads the Official Opposition.

"Remember, when they initially set out their timeline they were wanting to have something done by the end of April, so we're a couple of weeks late", former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said on her Calgary radio show Thursday morning. The PCs are decimated, holding on to just nine of its 70 seats.

Prentice quit politics and the election loss led the party to a reappraisal of its mission and ultimately to the March election of Kenney.

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