Local UCP group elects first official president

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The United Conservative Party now has an official presence in St. Albert after its founding meeting this past weekend.

The St. Albert constituency association for the UCP elected the first executive group to represent the riding on Saturday at the St. Albert Inn.

Malcolm Parker, who was the former president of the St. Albert Wildrose Constituency Association and recently ran for mayor of the city, was elected the first president of the new UCP association. Parker is replacing Jeff Wedman, who served as the interim board president of the St. Albert UCP and was the former president of the local Progressive Conservative association before the two groups merged.

The group has a board of 30 members, which is the same amount that sat on the interim board. Parker said that there are many familiar faces on the new local executive group but there are have been a few new additions to the team. Parker said that about 60 to 70 members showed up to the inaugural meeting.

The big priorities for the president over the next year are to find good candidates to run in the upcoming election, grow the local membership, raise funds and to continue to prepare policy for the provincial annual general meeting in May.

“The priorities are simply to build the organization so we are strong and united,” Parker said.

Currently the organization has around 850 members in the riding.

Parker said that the policy committee has already been busy reviewing the new party’s policy.

“I would guess the policy and constitutions would mirror what the Wildrose and PCs had. There were not a lot of differences and they were fairly compatible or the parties wouldn’t have merged,” Parker said.

The new president said that the transition from two parties to one unified party has been relatively smooth in St. Albert but it is still a lot of work to build a party from the ground up. Parker said that the group will help support the transition and founding of the new constituency associations due to the changes to electoral boundaries before the next election.

The party formed in July 2017 after the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Party members voted overwhelmingly to merge into one party.

The provincial UCP will hold the founding annual general meeting between May 4 and 6 in Red Deer when they will carve out the policy platform for the new party.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.