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New PC leader meets with Wildrose Party leader days after leadership vote
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 6:50PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, March 20, 2017 6:52PM MDT
It didn’t take long for the new leader of Alberta’s PC Party to get to work on his plans to amalgamate his party with the Wildrose, the province’s Official Opposition.
PC Leader Jason Kenney was in Edmonton Monday; he sat in the gallery of the Legislature during question period, and met with Wildrose Leader Brian Jean – for the first official merger meeting.
“I was very encouraged by the positive, constructive tone of the meeting,” Kenney said Monday.
Both sides called the meeting informal.
“We wanted to get together as soon as possible,” Jean said. “[I wanted] to congratulate him of course, and B just to set out the general terms, and to understand where we’re going to go forward from here.”
“Brian and I agreed on every point, we discussed the initial steps in the process to take us to unity,” Kenney said.
At least one former PC cabinet minister said he wasn’t happy about the apparent plans for the two parties.
“This is an unholy alliance,” Former MLA Thomas Lukaszuk said. “Based purely and exclusively on hunger for power.”
Lukaszuk tweeted a photo of his discarded PC membership card – he said he believes the merger will bring the party further to the political right, and he’s concerned that in the next election Alberta voters will only have a choice between a left wing and right wing option.
“We are entering into a stage in Alberta where you will see politics ideologically polarized like never before,” Lukaszuk said.
Aside from any ethical concerns, it appears a merger is legal, according to a group of Calgary lawyers has been studying the legalities of the merger.
“We’re releasing our report and submitted it to the two parties and we have concluded that a merger can be done,” Andy Crooks, director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation said.
The two sides have agreed to form a discussion team to come up with a unity agreement; the team is expected to be in place by next week. It’s expected the team will report back to both sides by the end of April.
With files from Bill Fortier