Wildrose rejects proposal to merge with Alberta Tories

The Wildrose Party will not merge with the Progressive Conservatives, a proposal that was put forward by Danielle Smith before resigning as party leader.
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and former Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith leave a news conference in Edmonton on Wednesday. Smith and 8 other Wildrose MLAs joined the PC caucus. (The Canadian Press)

The Wildrose Party will not merge with the Progressive Conservatives, despite a proposal that was put forward by Danielle Smith before she resigned as party leader.

Smith and eight other members of her caucus crossed to the PCs on Wednesday, a move that stunned Albertans and angered many Wildrose members.

The Wildrose executive committee and the remaining five caucus members unanimously rejected Smith’s "reunification proposal." The party said the Tories never made any offers about a merger. 

“The future of any political party is decided by its members and voters,” the news release said.

“The Wildrose EC has reaffirmed its commitment to maintain Wildrose as a strong, independent political party.”

The executive committee will meet with the remaining MLAs to decide who should serve as interim leader.

From critics to colleagues

Over the past month, the Wildrose caucus has lost 11 MLAs to the PC party. Former Wildrosers Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan crossed to the PCs late last month.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said caucus discussed the rancorous relationship the former Wildrose MLAs used to have with the PCs. (CBC)
The move means some of the legislature’s most outspoken critics of the PCs are now members of caucus.

Premier Jim Prentice said there were discussions about that issue during yesterday’s closed-door meeting. He acknowledged comments made by the former Wildrosers over the past weeks and months can’t just be taken back.

“Individuals are going to have to wrestle with those things on a personal level,” Prentice said in his year-end interview with CBC News. “That will unfold over time.”

Prentice said his job as leader is to “knit people together” and create a team that thrives.

The defections leave the Wildrose with five seats, the same number as the Alberta Liberals.

It's now up to the speaker of the legislature, Gene Zwozdesky, to decide which party will serve as the official opposition.

Zwozdesky said he is reviewing decisions made in the past from Alberta and in the rest of Canada.


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