Alberta PCs and Wildrose to form new entity called United Conservative Party

By Dori Modney with files from The Canadian Press
May 18, 2017 - 9:53am Updated: May 19, 2017 - 11:37am

EDMONTON -   Alberta's two conservative parties are merging to form the United Conservative Party.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney announced the details of their unity deal Thursday afternoon.

The Agreement in Principle (AIP) sets out the process to unify both parties and how the parties will wind down their respective operations once the membership of each party has ratified the unity agreement.

The AIP still has to be approved by 75 per cent of Wildrose members and just over 50 per cent of PC members. Ratification votes will be determined by each party in the coming weeks. If the memberships of both parties ratify the unity agreement, the new party will immediately set out to elect a new leader by October 28.

Representatives from both parties had been meeting for the last two months to hammer out an agreement.

Kenney won the PC party leadership in March on a platform to merge, and both Kenney and Jean have said they'll run for the leadership of a consolidated party.

In a news Wildrose Leader Brian Jean stated his belief that the agreement will work.

"The foundations of this agreement stay true to the promise I made to the Wildrose grassroots members - to pursue unity in a way that maintains our principles, and our grassroots way of doing things. It's been the mission of our party to inspire Albertans and restore common sense conservative ideas to government. This agreement brings that mission one step closer to reality.

"It's been an honour touring the province for the past year getting feedback from Wildrose members and supporters about the direction and future of our movement. I am proud of the work that has gone into this agreement, and the way in which it honours the legacy of Wildrose. The most important part of the unification process is to remember the principle that this must be about more than seeking power for power's sake and it is the members who will have the final say. Today's announcement is about establishing a strong movement that secures Alberta's future for generations to come."

In the same release, PC Party Leader Jason Kenney was also optimistic.

"This is a historic day for Alberta. We are putting our province ahead of our parties in order to get Alberta back on track. With this agreement, we end a decade of division by uniting common sense Albertans. This ensures the defeat of this disastrous NDP government, and the election of a free-enterprise government that will renew the Alberta Advantage. To the many Albertans who are struggling today, this agreement sends a clear message: that help is on the way."

"I would like to thank Progressive Conservative members for giving me a mandate to develop this agreement, and thank all of those who have worked so hard to make this day a reality. Every PC member will have the final say on whether to ratify this agreement in a party referendum to be held in July. I look forward to meeting with PCs across the province in the weeks to come as part of an open and respectful dialogue about this unity agreement. I encourage all Albertans who want to renew our great province to get involved by joining the party. It's time to have your say on the future of our province.

The agreement in principle and draft bylaws can be found on the PC Alberta website, under the About section. 

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