“I’ve decided to seek the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta seeking an explicit mandate, to unite with the Wildrose Party and all like-minded Albertans so we can defeat the NDP and put this province back on the right track.” – Jason Kenney
It’s been a rough six months for the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party but it looks like Jason Kenney will get his wish, at least part of it. He appears to be destined to win the leadership of the party and the right will be united but not likely under his control.
With all of the current turmoil within both the executive and the rank and file of the PCs, the March leadership convention is likely to ring the death knell of that party. Kenney may win the leadership but the leadership of what? The PC party seems doomed to crash (if it hasn’t already) and will take Kenney with it.
Progressive Conservative sympathizers are already turning to the Wildrose Party under the leadership of Brian Jean in droves, essentially fulfilling Kenney’s mandate to ‘unite the right.’ This seems to be a much cleaner and more rational means to accomplish the ‘unite the right’ movement than attempting to take over the leadership of the current organization, folding it, and attempting to form a new amalgamated party, bringing in the present members of the existing Wildrose.
Yes, the hardcore fiscal conservatives from the rural areas may have some difficulties getting along with the socially progressive urban conservatives but a strong, dynamic leader can be a peacemaker. There are certainly ‘progressive’ champions who feel that Wildrose is too far to the right but the ultimate objective is to defeat the New Democrats and form the next government in 2019. We need to remember that the formation of the Wildrose under Ed Stelmach’s reign was largely precipitated by the perception that the PC party was drifting too far to the left. Now is a good time to go back to the right and see if a middle ground is attainable.
Given this objective, PC’ers must hold their collective noses, vote for the best alternative, and get involved with the existing Wildrose Party. If there is sufficient support over time an attempt can be made to find an acceptable platform to bring Alberta back to a more centralist political philosophy. But now is the time to think rationally and move on – enough of the bickering and in-fighting.
Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.