Former Liberal Communications Director Neil Mackie has accused leadership candidate and Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman of being part of a secret conspiracy to merge the Liberal Party with the Alberta Party.
Commenting on a recent post on this blog, Mr. Mackie, who is also Campaign Director to leadership candidate Bruce Payne, accused Ms. Blakeman of being part of a “super secret [sic] cabel” of Liberals who want to merge their party with the Alberta Party. Mr. Mackie then accused Ms. Blakeman, who has served as an MLA since 1997, of being a “stealth merger candidate.”
Responding to the accusations via email, Ms. Blakeman wrote that, “This cabal is so super secret that I have never heard of it.”
“I have no secret strategy to merge the two parties. I have said publicly that I believe the two parties will be the same within 10 years. I think that’s pretty obvious that one or the other will prevail. I just couldn’t tell you which one, my crystal ball is in for repairs,” wrote Ms. Blakeman.
She continued, “I am being very clear that I am the candidate who believes changing public policy is about building and participating in coalitions.”
“If Neil Mackie thinks being willing to work with others, cooperate on issue strategies, and bring in outsiders to affect change is a big bad thing…well I don’t. I’m here to change the world and I have some experience in doing that so I’m sticking with what I know!”
Alberta Party responds
When contacted via email, Alberta Party Vice-President Brian Thiessen wrote that, “it would have to be a super secret cabal, as the Alberta Party certainly doesn’t know anything about it.”
Mr. Thiessen then wrote that perhaps Mr. Mackie’s “super secret cabel” was “a sub-committee of the “ALP Committee of Awesome“. Or is it the “Awesomeness Committee”? Or maybe Laurie’s Secret Cabal and the Awesome Liberals have now merged to form the “Secret Cabal of Awesomeness” which will at some future date attempt to discuss further merger with the Alberta Party?”
“ALP members and certain MLA’s like Laurie have made no secret of their wish to join the Alberta Party, and many others may be attracted to some or all of the Alberta Party’s moderate, yet fiscally conservative message, as may many moderate PC’s. But the Alberta Party has no interest in merging with the Alberta Liberal Party,” wrote Mr. Thiessen.
The Liberals are scheduled to choose a new leader on September 10, 2011.