Kenney to PC-Wildrose merger resisters: grow up
Jason Kenney told a packed Cochrane meeting, despite challenges uniting the right, it can be done
Jason Kenney is not ready to fully commit to running for the conservative leadership position in Alberta politics, but he does have some advice to those within the existing parties: grow up.
"There are some people in senior roles in the two provincial parties who are not completely in tune with the views of the majority of free enterprise Albertans who want one party," Kenney told reporters in advance of an Alberta Can't Wait meeting in Cochrane Wednesday.
Alberta Can't Wait is one of several unite the right groups in the province.
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"So this is going to require, I think, some maturity. I think people are going to have to be willing to make some compromises but it is about more than just who a leader is."
Sources, claiming to have an inside track on Kenney's ambitions, said last week he was considering the move from federal politics.
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Is he considering a shot at that leadership?
"Stay tuned," he said.
Kenney said despite a fractured right wing landscape in Alberta since last year's historic election of the Alberta NDP, bringing those groups together is entirely possible.
Why? Because it was done federally.
"We made it happen, we came together. Progressive Conservatives, Reformers, Canadian Alliance into one big, principled conservative coalition that won three federal elections, gave Canada really good government," he said.
"The proof was in the pudding of the Conservative Party of Canada. We made it work federally, we can make it work provincially."
And that is what Wednesday's organizers are hoping too.
"Would I vote for him? Absolutely," said Owen Neal, with the Alberta Can't Wait group.
Neal says there has to be a way to bring conservatives together in Alberta.
"There is many versions of how that might play out. One version, of course, is what happened in Saskatchewan," Neal said.
"They call themselves the Saskatchewan Party. You have an anti-NDP, anti-socialist, guys who got tired of getting their brains beat out and then they formed the Saskatchewan Party. I am not sure how it would unfold," he said.
"People want one conservative party at the next election. There are some activists in the two parties that would probably disagree with me … we need a unified conservative movement."
Ashley Marshall came to see Kenney speak.
"I am putting all of my eggs in Jason's basket," she said enthusiastically.
"Alberta obviously had a shock last year and I think that Jason might be what we need to bring everybody together and maybe take back the province. I don't know if we say 'take back the province' because a lot people obviously voted NDP but I think that Jason might be the guy to maybe put us on a new path come 2019. A good path, so I am excited. I don't think three or four conservative parties is going to be helpful to anyone. I think we need to unite. I think a federal style merger would be a great thing."
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In addition to the resistance by some within the PCs and the Wildrose, another obstacle popped up last week when a third right wing party, the Reform Party of Alberta, registered with Elections Alberta with the support of a petition with more than 8,000 signatures.
With files from Mike Symington