Edmonton

Creation of new right-wing party questioned by PC, Wildrose leaders

The leaders of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties are skeptical about a proposal to create a new right-wing party in Alberta to defeat the NDP in the next election.
About 400 came together to unite the right in Red Deer on Saturday. They vote, overwhelmingly, to start a new party. (CBC)

The leaders of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties are skeptical about a proposal to create a new right-wing party in Alberta to defeat the NDP in the next election.

On the weekend, people at a meeting in Red Deer voted to create a new party rather than amalgamate conservatives under the Wildrose or PC parties or stick with the status quo.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the only option is for conservatives to unite under his party's banner.

"We think the formation of a third party is frankly not helpful at all," said Jean.

"We want to consolidate conservatives, we want to make sure we are the only choice in the next election that there will be a fiscally conservative government in Alberta."

PC interim leader Ric McIver said he isn't sure what to make of the vote and said he needed more clarification.

"If I was going to try to unite the right, I'm not sure I would do it by creating more parties on the right," he said.

Though the unite-the-right issue isn't on the agenda for this weekend's PC annual general meeting in Red Deer, McIver thinks it will come up during question and answer sessions.

Talks about uniting right-wing voters under one party surfaced after the NDP won a majority government in the May 2015 provincial election. Some attributed the victory to a vote split between Wildrose and PC candidates. 

The meeting in Red Deer was organized by a group called "Alberta Can't Wait." A political action committee called Alberta Prosperity Fund has also held unite the right meetings across Alberta. 

In a release sent Friday, the group said Albertans have told them the PCs and Wildrose parties need to unite 

"We disagree with the option of setting up a new party before the grassroots members of the Wildrose and PC party, and Albertans, have had the chance to voice their opinions on the matter," fund president Barry McNamar said.