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'I'm not going anywhere,' Alberta Wildrose leader says

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is staying put. 'I'm not going anywhere unless my membership says so,' Jean said during a year-end interview with CBC.

Brian Jean says he'll present members with options on the future of the party.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he'll put forward options to members on how to consolidate Conservative voters. (CBC)

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is staying put.

"I'm not going anywhere unless my membership says so," Jean said during a year-end interview with CBC.

Regardless of what happens in the Progressive Conservative leadership race, Jean plans to present party members with a series of options on its future.

Jean won't disclose what those options are, but said they include a potential name change that reflects a party for all conservative voters.

"I will be putting through and forward options to our membership, and whatever our members decide, is where I'm going to go," he said. 

More than a year ago, the Wildrose secured the names of two potential political parties: the Conservative Party of Alberta, and the Alberta Conservative Party. Elections Alberta says the Wildrose has approached them with a number of suggestions if the party wants to change its name. 

State of Alberta politics 'in flux'

"We know that the state of politics in Alberta is in flux," said Jean.

"We know that there are changes and people are deciding where they are on the political spectrum and we want to make sure our members get to decide their future without there being a whole bunch of roadblocks in front of them."

Jean's approach sounds like the idea being floated by Jason Kenney, the highest profile candidate in the contest to become the new leader of the PC party.  

Kenney says he also wants to unite all Conservative voters under a single party. He said a decision to end the Progressive Conservatives in favour of a new united option should ultimately be decided by the grassroots. 

"I believe consolidating Conservatives is the best thing," said Jean. "That may mean two parties getting together, to provide options and a better government to Alberta, or it might just mean that people join the Wildrose and we can move forward together."

Jean continues to say that he's "willing to dance, with the right dance partner," as long as it is in the best interests of Wildrose members.

"But I'm not going to concern myself with the PC leadership race," he said. "I really want them to decide for themselves who they are, who they're going to be, and I don't think that means a hostile takeover of one party by another party."

About the Author

Kim Trynacity is an award-winning journalist and CBC Alberta's provincial affairs reporter. You can reach Kim by email at kim.trynacity@cbc.ca or on Twitter @ledgewatcher