Alberta Politics

UCP merger kickstarts another summer of politiking in Alberta

Photo: Wildrose leader Brian Jean formally launches his campaign to lead the United Conservative Party (source: Facebook)

It has been a busy week in Alberta politics, and it is only Tuesday.

Nathan Cooper

On Saturday, 95 percent of Wildrose and Progressive Conservative Party members who cast ballots voted in favour of amending their respective parties constitutions and create a new political party – the United Conservative Party.

Only 57 per cent of eligible Wildrose members, and 55 percent of PC member, cast a ballot, which is roughly 25,000 and 27,000 members of the two parties. It is suspected that a significant number of individuals who voted held membership in both parties, and voted twice.

Here is a quick look at what has happened since:

  • As predicted on this blog a few days ago, Nathan Cooper has been chosen as interim leader of the new 29-MLA joint-Wildrose-PC United Conservative caucus. Cooper will serve as leader of the Official Opposition, though likely not in the Assembly as the Legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until after the new party chooses a permanent leader in October 2017. He is a first-term Wildrose MLA for Olds-Didisbury Three Hills and a former Wildrose caucus Chief of Staff, Carstairs town councillor, and spokesperson for the social conservative Canada Family Action group.
  • Richard Starke
    Richard Starke

    PC MLA Richard Starke will not join the new UCP caucus. Starke, who has represented Vermilion-Lloydminster since 2012, ran against Jason Kenney in the 2017 PC leadership race and opposed his plans to merge the PCs with the Wildrose Party. Starke wrote on Facebook that: “My experience, and that of many like-minded party members who have left or been driven from the party, is that our views are not welcome, and that the values and principles we believe in will not be part of the new party going forward.”

  • Wildrose leader Brian Jean formally announced his bid for the leadership of the new party at the Apple Creek Golf Course in Rockyview County. Jean was accompanied by Airdrie Wildrose MLA Angela Pitt, who has endorsed his campaign.
  • Kenney is expected to formally announce his leadership bid on Saturday, July 29, 2017.
  • Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt, who is also expected to join the leadership race, vowed he would never support Jean in a leadership race. Jean briefly attempted to suspend Fildebrandt from the Wildrose Caucus in May 2016, after the MLA’s partisan antics went too far. 
  • Long-time PC Party strategist Susan Elliott announced she will be joining the Alberta Party. Elliott managed the PC Party’s successful 2012 election campaign.

4 replies on “UCP merger kickstarts another summer of politiking in Alberta”

Something has to happen. We are now at the mercy of these crooks who now are our government. I will be supporting this new party. The Alberta Social Credit is now officially doomed. I did belong to the Alberta Social Credit party around 2012. Since 2008 I have been a member first of the Alberta Alliance Party, Wildrose and now our new party, the United Conservatives Party. I am not sure if Alberta can handle another 4 years of run away spending. 2019 better be a UCP win. I sure hope there will be.

Lets see – Mr. Fildebrandt has already said he does not want to serve under Mr. Jean as leader under any circumstances (you know – been there done that, apparently didn’t like it) . I also don’t think Mr. Kenney would want to be #2 either (you know – been there done that in Ottawa already).

Hold onto your hats the UCP leadership race will be quite an adventure. I have a feeling that the #2 and #3 candidates (and maybe #4 too) will not stick around for the big party after.

Putting the name United at the very front of the name is surely tempting fate. I have a feeling people will eventually start referring to them as the “not so” united conservative party.

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