Alberta Politics

The U-C-P: Jean and Kenney launch the United Conservative Party

Today’s announcement from Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney that they plan to create a new conservative political party has been expected for weeks. The press conference was filled with fairly nauseating partisan rhetoric about how awful and catastrophic the NDP are, but most importantly, we found out what is included in the agreement that was negotiated by a committee of party insiders and signed by the two party leaders.

– It is not really a merger. Under the Jean-Kenney agreement released today, a new legal entity will be created under the Societies Act. It is not clear what will happen to the two currently existing parties and whether they will eventually be dissolved or will continue to exist in name only.

– The new party will be called the United Conservative Party, or U-C-P, for short (the acronym was widely mocked on social media today). This name might not have been the first choice of the two leaders. A failed plot was supposedly hatched by the Kenney-support group Alberta Can’t Wait, to take control of the Alberta Party board of directors at their 2016 annual general meeting. The Alberta Partiers thwarted the takeover and preserved their control over their party’s coveted name.

– The two parties will hold a vote of their memberships on July 22, asking whether the membership would like to create a new party. Approval would require the support of 50 percent plus one of the PC Party membership and 75 percent of the Wildrose Party membership. It is fairly well known that many of Kenney’s supporters in the PC Party leadership race also hold memberships in the Wildrose Party, so it is unclear whether those individuals will be able to cast their ballots twice.

– If members of the two parties vote in favour of creating a new party, the two leaders will step down from their current position and a newly merged caucus of Wildrose and PC MLAs will elect an interim leader. The UCP, Wildrose and PC parties will then be governed by the same leader and executive officers.

– A leadership vote would be held on October 28, 2017. Jean and Kenney have said they will run for the leadership. Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt is said to be preparing a leadership bid. Interim federal Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose, who announced her retirement from federal politics this week, was rumoured to be considering a run, has instead taken a position with the Washington DC-based Wilson Centre.

– There are still outstanding questions about what will happen to the finances of the two parties, in particular the PC Party’s outstanding debt from the 2015 election. According to financial documents published by Elections Alberta, as of December 31, 2016, the PC Party had drawn $754,475 from their $850,000 line of credit. The line of credit is guaranteed by a former director of the party.

The next five months could be fascinating to watch.

6 replies on “The U-C-P: Jean and Kenney launch the United Conservative Party”

Kenney, Fildebrandt and Jean all represent the ideological hard right of Alberta. Kenney’s social conservative views scare me.

Alberta Party? NDP? This Red Tory is looking at you for the first time.

Hi Dave,

After joining the CPC to vote for Chong, I’ve received a nauseating variety of nonsense from the various candidates. Curiously, I got an actual flyer in the mail from someone who hates Maxime Bernier, called “Albertans for an Affordable Future”. Any idea who that is? There’s nothing on the Internets so far.

“the PC Party had drawn $754,475 from their $850,000 line of credit. The line of credit is guaranteed by a former director of the party.”

And there’s no way this fine, upstanding group would leave them holding the bag, right? Right?

Conventional political wisdom seems to say the UCP party should get enough votes to win the next provincial election. However, “conventional” wisdom also said Paul Martin was going to win a huge majority as PM, Justin Trudeau could not go from third place to first, Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump badly and of course the NDP would never win in Alberta.

Those that are confident voters will do what they expect or as they are told are often surprised how things do not turn out as carefully they plan.

I just received more garbage from “Albertans for an affordable future” hating on Bernier. There was no return address on the envelope and no website or contact information in the single page hate letter. There was just a note in the bottom right corner “Albertans for an affordable future” in the worlds smallest font. If you don’t like something, fair enough, stand up and explain yourself! Don’t hide behind drive-by hate speech. I was on the fence about Bernier but I just filled out my forms and put him as my first vote. Good work “Albertans for an affordable future”.

I keep hearing about Rona Ambrose running for Alberta New PC (UCP) and Michelle Rempel considering taking a crack at Calgary Mayor.

Lets see how hard right they are. If they have some common sense and lead from the fiscal right with a social center, we could have some winners.

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