Why there is unlikely to be a Conservative Party of Alberta anytime soon

As prospects of a merger of Alberta’s two estranged conservative parties appear more and more unlikely, Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean has suggested that his party may consider rebranding with a name change before the 2019 election.

Postmedia has reported that Mr. Jean’s party has registered the names Alberta Conservative Party Association and Conservative Party of Alberta Association with the province’s societies registrar.

While these names could help the Wildrose Party further align with the Conservative Party of Canada in the eyes of Albertans, there is a possibility the name change could be denied by the Chief Elections Officer because the new name could likely be confused with the other conservative party, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

Section 7 (3.1) of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act states that:

If a registered party changes its name, the Chief Electoral Officer shall not vary the register accordingly if, in the Chief Electoral Officer’s opinion,

(a) the proposed name or the abbreviation of the name so nearly resembles the name or abbreviation of the name of a registered party as to be likely to be confused with the name or abbreviation of that registered party,

(b) the proposed name was the name of a registered party whose registration was cancelled or whose name was changed since the last general election, or

(c) the proposed name or abbreviation is unacceptable to the Chief Electoral Officer for any other reason.

Barring the dissolution of the current PC Party, it might be unlikely that a separate Conservative Party would be allowed to register with Elections Alberta.


The PC Party was officially registered as the Provincial Conservative Association of Alberta until when it added “Progressive” to its name in 1959, to conform with a similar change made by the federal party in 1942.

The Wildrose Party was known as the Alberta Alliance Party (a nod to the Canadian Alliance) from 2002 until 2008 when it became the Wildrose Alliance Party after merging with a group of disgruntled Alberta Alliance members who had formed the Wildrose Party of Alberta in 2007 (the first version of the Wildrose Party was never officially registered with Elections Alberta). According to Elections Alberta, the party’s name was formally changed to the Wildrose Party effective February 3, 2015.

12 thoughts on “Why there is unlikely to be a Conservative Party of Alberta anytime soon

  1. David Foster

    The trouble is, neither of them are a real conservative party…the PCs used to be, and Prentice tried to turn then in that direction, but failed. While the Wildrose was and is nothing more than a rural populist protest party. Alberta needs a true, modern conservative party, that is why we have to start a new one from scratch.

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      1. David Foster

        Well, just for starters, how about a return to balanced budgets, paying civil servants on par with other provinces instead of significantly more, privatizing the anachronistic Catholic Schools, implementing Chaouilli (right to choice in health care), making labour unions and student unions voluntary, privatizing ATB…I can think of many other conservative policies that a new party could bring forward.

        The problem in Alberta is not a “divided right” between PC and Wildrose so much as a “divided right” between PC, Wildrose and the large group of Albertans who voted for the Harper Conservatives but sat on their hands in the provincial election, because PC and Wildrose have diminished into fighting battles of the past, not proposing actual conservative policies. Get the last-mentioned group of federal Tories on board, and a new party is viable – especially given that both PC and Wildrose only have third-rate members left in their respective caucuses.

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        1. Val

          well, what a point in such change for PC, if you just offered WR agenda, you like to see implemented under umbrella Alberta PC. simpler and cheaper would be just to merge together and change name WC (not toilet but Wild Conservatives).

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    1. JLH

      Good idea David. Let’s create a third conservative brand and just give the next election to the NDP. It is about time we all grow up and tell the Wildrose and Conservatives to get their collective a##es together and merge the two parties already. This can only be done buy the grassroots kicking and screaming.

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  2. Justa Guy

    I love that the Wildrose always think they are just one more name change away from success. I guess that’s easier than looking at themselves with a critical eye and asking why the majority of Albertans roundly reject their candidates and their policies.

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    1. JLH

      You mean like Rachel Notly receiving 40% of the vote? Or Sunny Ways garnering less than that? This is what I love about you leftest’s, biggest hypocrites on the planet.

      Reply
  3. Darren

    I guess it supposes on what you consider “anytime soon”. Since the next election is still 3 years away, any activity anytime soon is irrelevant. The two parties can fight among themselves for the next two years and it really won’t matter. I suspect there will be no real effort to work together at least through to early 2018. Once the election is about a year away and neither party is the clear conservative choice then you’ll start seeing some movement. I’ve said before, a week is an eternity in politics and the next election is just under 3 years away. Plenty of time.

    Reply
    1. Dave Cournoyer Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Darren. Good point. I wouldn’t count on it never happening. I would argue that Alberta’s elections laws might make it more likely any merger would happen after the next election. The elections law prohibits parties from merging their assets, which means the WIldrose and PCs would literally have to forfeit their current financial assets to actually merge a party (which means more for the WR than the PCs at this point). At some point before the next election, which appears to be now, the two parties have to decide whether they are planning to run as their current party or as a merged entity.

      Wilder things have happened – the NDP winning the last election, for one – so I won’t count anything out, but they are running out of time if they wanted to do it before 2019.

      – Dave

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  4. Cai

    I wonder if it is the social conservatism of the right that is putting off voters, I still feel that economic libertarianism would maintain widespread support throughout the province, and a shift away from social conservatism is certainly happening on the federal level, possibly because mainstream tories wish to become more approachable to younger generations who are more likely to be outraged by homophobia and violations of First Nations’ rights than by budget deficits. At the same time, opinion polls seem to suggest that Wildrose will have the highest vote share were the election to be held today, by a margin seemingly-larger than what could be accounted for as a protest vote, the old guard naturally remaining strong in rural Alberta. Possibly then we could see a new spectrum emerging with the right wing occupied by Wildrose and the pragmatic centre occupied by the NDP, with the tories falling between the cracks unless they get a leader charismatic enough to revive their fortunes much as Trudeau did. On the other hand, I don’t know.

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  5. Grant

    First visit. Nice site Dave. I am not trying to start any CT, but this is a comment I made 14 months ago:

    “What a lot of commenters rarely mention is that this will be only the 5th governing party in AB since ’05. 1905. No party returned to power after their initial defeat and 2 parties dissolved not long after. Liberals 05-21 (16 yrs), UFA 21-35 (14 yrs), Social Credit 35-71 (36 yrs) and PC 71-2015 (44 years). If you average the first 2 and then the second 2, the series would basically look like 15,15,40,40. What number fits next? 65? This may be how Alberta rolls. We’ll just have to wait and vote. See y’all at the polls.”

    Impressive CV. Thanks for your volunteerism. I will read more.

    Reply

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