Jonathan Denis says the PC and Wildrose parties should unite
'I just don't see a need for 2 conservative parties,' says former justice minister
Former justice minister and recently-defeated Calgary MLA Jonathan Denis says he's worried about an NDP government in Alberta and wants to see the province's right-wing parties unite.
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In the southeast riding of Calgary-Acadia, Denis place third in last Tuesday's election behind the victorious NDP candidate and the Wildrose.
"I just don't see a need for two conservative parties," said Denis.
First elected as an MLA in 2008, Denis was appointed as justice minister in 2012 — a post he continued to hold until PC leader Jim Prentice asked him to resign amid legal proceedings with his estranged wife, Breanna Palmer.
An emergency protection order against him was revoked the day before the election with the judge finding Palmer was "not in danger of family violence and not in need of protection."
Denis believes those court proceedings harmed him at the polls but also says vote-splitting was an issue.
His political recipe for future conservative success: unite the right.
Conservative Party of Alberta?
"It's time to have one conservative party in this province," said Denis. "If you take our vote, plus the Wildrose vote, you'd have had a much different result in almost every constituency and I just don't see a need for two conservative parties."
A grassroots movement to bring the Wildrose and PC parties together is needed, according to Denis.
"I think the Conservative Party of Alberta sounds like a pretty good name."
The 39-year-old says he won't run for PC leadership but can't rule out another go at politics.
"I'm a little bit concerned because one of the reasons I did decide to come to Alberta is because of some of the negative things that the NDP was doing to Saskatchewan," said Denis. "I'm hoping that that doesn't happen here and I sincerely wish Premier Notley the best."
Denis isn't the only voice calling for merger. Former Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith has been vocal for the last week about combining the strength on the right.
"The good news about the NDP having a four year majority mandate is it gives the conservative movement time to reunite and reinvent itself to become relevant to a new generation of voters," she wrote in the Globe and Mail. "If they don't, we may just have witnessed the start of a new political dynasty in Alberta."