Sources say Alberta PCs, Wildrose have agreed to merge in tentative deal


“There’s no guarantee that either Jason Kenney or Brian Jean are the ones to do that”.

However, they agreed on the name United Conservative Party, presumably without anyone thinking to pronounce the initials aloud.

The two party leaders will speak to the deal at a news conference Thursday afternoon, which is expected to happen around 1 Edmonton. The document is littered with lofty language disguising compromise.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney announced Thursday they’ve struck a tenttative deal to merge.

In the case of Wildrose, the constitution calls for a special general meeting with voting allowed via phone or online.

Wildrose lawmakers, for example, repeatedly introduce recall bills that would give constituents the right to remove members of the Legislature and force by-elections. Some PCs, meanwhile, have a socially progressive streak and if UCP is going to be inclusive, then members of that faction must be comfortable sitting beside their right-wing relatives.

The United Conservative Party could provide a serious challenge in the next provincial election, due in 2019, to Premier Rachel Notley’s left-leaning NDP, which was helped by divisions on the right when it swept to power in 2015. “Wildrose accepted the formulation of progressive social policies and a diverse coalition that reflects the diversity of today’s Alberta”. However, it is not, as so many on the right fervently believe, impossible.

Mr. Jean and Mr. Kenney differ on whether some of the principles are open to interpretation. At the time, Jean called the plan “a distraction”, but never rejected it.

Watch below: Now that the Wildrose and PCs have a tentative plan in place to unite, we thought we’d go back to the 2015 election results and see what things would have looked like if you add the two parties’ votes together. The respective parties will hold referendums in July. And after that, the race is on for a new leader to be chosen at an AGM on October 28.

Unifying the two right-wing parties was at the centre of PC Leader Jason Kenney’s campaign when he sought leadership of the party.

The PCs were also reeling from the departure of former premier Alison Redford, who resigned amid allegations of nepotism, misspending and using her position to fund an extravagant lifestyle. Former PC deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk believes Mr. Kenney is building a false mythology that this is the reunion of a political family. Indeed, it’s the kind of thing that might make a real cynic suggest these are folks who couldn’t, as the old expression goes, organize a piss-up in a brewery.

“We are a government that is focused on making life better for Albertans”.

They’ve signed an agreement in principle that calls for members of both parties to vote on the deal on July 22 and choose a leader on October 28 if they say yes. “There are a group of people who simply want back at the trough”.

Jean’s comment was more thoughtful. Alert readers will recall that the PCs, who were coming up on their 45th anniversary in power, had in late 2014 engineered the attempted takeover of the Wildrose Party’s legislative caucus, a cynical maneuver Albertans across the political spectrum reacted to with revulsion. Even with two competing conservative parties – which could still happen if the deal making comes a cropper, although it’s said here that’s unlikely – it will not be easy for New Democrats to get re-elected in this province.

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