Two months after Jason Kenney was elected as leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party on a platform to unite the province’s right, the PCs and Wildrose are taking steps to come together as a unified force, say MLAs from both parties.
Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt and PC MLAs Mike Ellis and Prab Gill spoke to about 50 people at a town hall in Leduc’s Maclab Centre for Performing Arts Wednesday night to discuss their ongoing work to bring their parties together in a bid to bring the NDP’s majority government down in the next election.
“People want us to get it done,” Fildebrandt said.
“They want us to park the egos, they want us to put Alberta first and get us to a single, unified conservative party and I’m confident we will.”
When asked if he’d consider running for the leadership if a unified party forms, Fildebrandt said it’s something he would consider but he wouldn’t make a final decision unless the Wildrose and PCs officially unite.
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One person who showed up to the event said she came to see how likely it is the two parties will unite.
“I hope that they do,” Cindy Miller said. “Anything to get rid of the NDP.”
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“I think if you held an election tomorrow, I don’t think the NDP would win it,” said Gil Whyte who came to see the MLAs speak. “I think you would see a minority government on the other side, but if you had both parties involved with the minority, you’d have a majority government voting one way.”
Earlier this month, Kenney said representatives from both parties have narrowed the gap on key points but declined to elaborate on where progress still needs to be made in the closed-door discussions.
READ MORE: Jason Kenney says PCs, Wildrose negotiators closing gap on unity proposal
“I’m not going to negotiate in public, but when you’re bringing together two political parties, there are dozens of different issues you have to deal with – legal issues, governance issues, (and) obviously a statement of principles,” he said.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean recently said he was optimistic about the unity talks but the direction of the party will be decided by the grassroots at the end of the day.
“Unifying conservatives cannot be based on a principle of gaining power for power’s sake,” Jean said. “It must be more than that.”
Both Jean and Kenney have said they will run to be leader of any new merged party.
There is a sense of urgency for conservatives looking to unite the right as Premier Rachel Notley must drop the writ in the spring of 2019.
-with files from .