St. Albert UCP association to host founding meeting

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The St. Albert UCP Constituency Association will become a permanent fixture in the city after the founding annual general meeting slated for this weekend.

On Saturday Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. at the St. Albert Inn the St. Albert UCP Constituency Association will be transitioning from an interim board to a permanent board with their inaugural meeting and vote.

Jeff Wedman, who is the current interim president of the riding association, said that right now the local constituency has around 850 registered members who are able to vote for the board on Saturday. Once the board of 30 members is chosen, the board will then select the executive for the constituency association, including a new president and vice president.

Currently the interim board is made up of 30 members, who are half from the former Wildrose Party and half from the former PC party. Wedman hails from the PC side of the merger.

Wedman said that the riding’s numbers are down slightly from the leadership vote, where there were 1000 registered members in the area. Wedman said that this is typical and that any time there is a leadership race, party memberships spike. He said that once the leadership race is over, some party members will let their memberships lapse and not realize they haven’t renewed.

While the constituency association has been transitioning from interim to permanent the members have formed a policy committee, which has been combing through the policy document released by the party to give feedback. Wedman said that the policy committee has met several times to review policy to prepare for the convention in May. Wedman said the policy committee, which is led by Richard Plain, has already had around four meetings and they have combed through most of the document.

“[The policy document] was for discussion. It was a starting point for the membership to talk about,” Wedman said. “There was everything and the kitchen sink in there. Not many people like the flat tax.”

Along with reviewing potential policy, the group has started fundraising. The PC and Wildrose constituency associations were not able to bring over savings from the merger and the group had to start fresh financially. Wedman said that so far the united group has raised $2,300 from a pub night but he said that that money is being spent by renting meeting rooms and taking out advertisements.

The group plans to raise more money on April 20 during a surf and turf event at the St. Albert Inn, which will include a visit from party leader Jason Kenney.

The constituency association is also looking to start preparing for the 2019 provincial election. Since the last election, the provincial electoral boundaries have changed, including a shuffling of the St. Albert ridings. The current St. Albert riding will change by picking up the portion that currently belongs to Spruce Grove-St. Albert. The northeast part of the riding will break off and join up with Morinville to form a new riding.

Wedman said that the main St. Albert riding will help establish the new Morinville-St. Albert constituency association by arranging social engagements with the current Morinville members of the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock riding. Wedman said according to his membership list around one third of the current St. Albert riding will be joining with the neighbours to the north. Wedman said the riding will likely lose around one-third of the executive to the new riding.

The next general election is anticipated to be spring 2019.

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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.