Gatherin of Conservatives Calls For 3rd Party

At the “Alberta Can’t Wait” meeting held Saturday at Red Deer College, a straw poll of the crowd of roughly 400 saw overwhelming support for the idea of a new party, rather than unification under either the Wildrose or Progressive Conservative parties or continuation of the status quo.

Rick Orman, a former Tory cabinet minister and leadership candidate who was one of the main drivers of Saturday’s event, said the next step will include more meetings and the formation of a steering committee.

He said the PCs and Wildrose should pay attention to the meeting’s result but that ultimately it shows there is a conservative movement in the province bigger than the existing parties.

“The fact of the matter is the people in this room obviously don’t identify with either of the two parties,” said Orman.

“You sort of have to get yourself to a zen state around it. Like, they don’t matter. The infrastructure doesn’t matter — the PC infrastructure and the Wildrose infrastructure has nothing to do with this or the momentum this will create. And they’re not needed.

They’re welcome but they’re definitely not needed.”

However, Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon said in a statement that forming another party would only divide the right, calling it “folly.”

“Wildrose will continue to have grassroots discussions with principled conservatives about becoming an even broader and more inclusive big tent party,” he said.

Earlier, veteran political operative Cliff Fryers told the crowd that the ongoing division of Alberta’s conservatives could mean a second election victory for the NDP, which ended four decades of PC rule with its win last year.

Fryers said Alberta has been “the bastion of conservatism in this country.”

“We need to build a conservative option that will again dominate the province,” he said.

Fryers was supposed to lay out the arguments in favour of four different options: maintaining the status quo, folding Wildrose into the PC party, folding the PC party into Wildrose and forming a new party.

However, he said there is no compelling argument for the status quo.

Pollster Marc Henry of ThinkHQ told the crowd that it is a “nice theory” that simply combining Wildrose and PC together would result in a majority vote but it “doesn’t work in practice.”

He said polling shows a large number of PC and Wildrose supporters in the last provincial election would not switch to the other party.

There is “reasonably strong support” for uniting the right under a new conservative party, said Henry.

However, if a new party is formed and the Wildrose and PC parties soldiered on, “you’re essentially giving the NDP another majority,” he said.

Gathering of Alberta conservatives backs call for new provincial party | Calgary Herald
If Jason Kenney decides to be in, Sandra Jansen will be out.

The Calgary-North West MLA said she will quit the provincial Progressive Conservatives if Kenney makes a successful run for leader of the party.

"I would leave, I would not be a member of the party anymore," she told CBC News Calgary.

"I think there are enough people who feel the way I feel that we would look for a different alternative, but I don't think we have to."

Jansen said she takes issue with what she sees as support for the Wildrose from Kenney during the last three provincial elections.

"I think Jason has never been a friend of the Progressive Conservative party, there's nothing progressive about Jason Kenney," she said.

"I think it's an interesting strategy, the idea of coming in to a party that stands for very little of what he stands for to try to take it over and create a merger where we certainly haven't asked for one."

Rumours of Kenney jumping from federal to provincial politics have swirled for months and came to a head Tuesday when University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan revealed on CBC News Calgary he'd discussed the idea with the Calgary-Southeast MP during a recent dinner.

Kenney has remained coy about a potential leadership run.

"I've been encouraged by a lot of members of our federal Conservative Party to pursue the national leadership, but also a lot of folks back here at home in Alberta to help bring together free enterprise Albertans so we can get this province back on track," he said, adding he will make a decision in the "near future."

Flanagan said his discussions with Kenney centred on uniting the PC and Wildrose parties in Alberta.

But provincial PC members voted against pursuing a merger with Wildrose at the party's AGM in May, said Jansen.

"So the idea that someone is going to come in who is not progressive and wants a merger is diametrically opposed to everything that the general PC membership stands for," she said.

Jansen is also considering a run at the PC leadership, she said.

"The fact is, I think there are a lot of things to consider when you're going to do that and that's certainly a conversation I'm having with my family," she said.

"I'm talking to all sorts of people and it's certainly not an idea I've ruled out."

Sandra Jansen threatens to quit if Jason Kenney becomes PC leader - Calgary - CBC News

[quote] If you think the gossip, rumours and speculation over Alberta’s frantic unite-the-right movement haven’t reached bizarre levels, listen to this.[quote]

Officials with the Alberta Party were so rattled by suggestions they were about to be the target of a hostile takeover by right-wing activists that the party held what amounted to an emergency meeting of members June 11.

The officials had heard that supporters of Alberta Can’t Wait — a unite-the-right movement — were going to show up at the Alberta Party’s annual general meeting in August, become members, vote to change its leadership, hollow out its policies and make it into a vessel for a new conservative party.

It would have been a good old-fashioned political coup with the prize being the coolest name in Alberta politics: The Alberta Party.

“Anyone that tries to take us over from the right is going to have a hell of a fight on their hands,” declared Clark.


Graham Thomson: Jittery Alberta Party holds emergency meeting to avoid a political highjacking | Edmonton Journal
Three times since December 2014, conservatives in Alberta are known to have tried to subvert the normal democratic process by what amount to stealthy palace coups to destroy or take over another political party.

First came the attempt said to have been orchestrated by Preston Manning in December 2014 to push the to push the Wildrose Opposition led by Danielle Smith into Premier Jim Prentice’s governing Progressive Conservative caucus.

Next came the ham-handed effort by Rosehip Tea Party agitator George Clark’s rightward fringe of the province’s conservative movement to first join and then take over the NDP before its annual general meeting, a plot that came to be mockingly known as the #Kudatah.

Then came the effort this spring reported by the media to involve supporters of Alberta Can’t Wait, a unite-the-right group associated with Mr. Manning, to pack the Alberta Party’s AGM with new members, take over the party, and grab its valuable name as a prize of ideological war.

The first scheme – reminiscent of the way Mr. Manning and his advisors engineered the takeover of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada by his Reform Party back in 2003, when it was known as the Canadian Alliance – fell apart when the plotters failed to anticipate the hostile reaction of the Wildrose base, which had spent too long being encouraged to hate the PCs.

The second was fairly easily thwarted by the NDP, which was able to identify and weed out most of the conservative infiltrators thanks partly to the fact they’d never made a donation.

The third, by the sound of it, was halted when Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark lucked out and got wind of it from a newspaper columnist and moved up the party’s AGM to early June. This may only be a reprieve, however, as the takeover conspiracy may still be percolating.

Now, as is well known, former prime minister Stephen Harper’s lieutenant in Ottawa, Jason Kenney, proposes to do essentially the same thing twice more.

To his credit, I suppose, Mr. Kenney has been quite open this time about the plan, first to snatch the PC Party from its traditional big-tent conservative supporters despite his reputation as a Wildroser at the provincial level, then to use it to take over the Wildrose Party in a rare double reverse hostile takeover.

As has been pointed out by many commentators, this plan is not guaranteed to work, but it has big money behind it and Mr. Kenney has already proved he is willing to campaign in violation of Alberta’s election spending laws by pretending not to be a candidate yet for the job he’s openly seeking. I leave it to readers to decide on the ethics of that decision.

He has been endorsed by the former Conservative prime minister, Mr. Harper, and the current Conservative Opposition leader, Rona Ambrose, and many of the unite-the-right front groups set up by lobbyists with Conservative ties to push the NDP out of power, so it must be recognized that he could well succeed.

Of course, there are also conservatives predisposed to using traditional Canadian democratic means to achieve their goals. But they are the very people Mr. Harper purged from the federal Conservative Party, leaving them with precious little influence at the national level. Mr. Kenney continues to vilify them today, as in his broadsides at former PC prime minister Joe Clark, who like NDP Premier Rachel Notley is a real born-and-raised Albertan.

Perhaps if the so called “Red Tories” were still around the federal party, they could exert some influence against this kind of disreputable scheming, most of which has involved figures associated with the Conservative Party of Canada after its takeover by the Reform-Alliance Axis.

Such people still exist in the Alberta PCs – the names of Sandra Jansen and Thomas Lukaszuk are often named nowadays, and former premier Ed Stelmach is one too. But they will not have much influence for long if the schemers from the former federal government have their way with their party.

Even if they manage to hang on, as Mr. Lukaszuk observed recently, “it forces political parties to be on the defensive instead of developing policies and alternatives for the benefit of Albertans.”

That’s likely the idea, especially when it comes to voters on the right side of the political spectrum.

The core beliefs of Mr. Kenney, Mr. Harper and Mr. Manning, to name three of the most prominent examples, are becoming too extreme for the average Alberta voter if they are not already. So the only way to capture center-right votes for their radical vision of society is to deny more moderate voices on the right the political space to offer competing visions.

Alberta PoliticsAbout those conservative coup attempts: once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times has got to be enemy action! - Alberta Politics
Since they were all basically one party originally until so many outsiders showed up in the province there is little other than egos keeping them apart. Hopefully they will do whatever it takes to get rid of the dippers once and for all.
Bloc Cementheadcois?
Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
My feet are too long
My hair's falling out and my rights are all wrong"
- John Prine...

Not that right, your other right.....
Sandra Jansen just confirmed she’s running for the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party. This is good news because her campaign will test Jason Kenney’s assertion that there’s no such thing as a progressive conservative.

Kenney is peddling the line that there are only two kinds of people in Alberta—small “c” conservatives who yearn to merge the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose into a single “free enterprise party” and a bunch of nutbars who accidentally elected the NDP.

Jansen acknowledges the PCs demonstrated poor leadership in the past and suggests PC leadership candidates should take a hard look at themselves and figure out how they can be better leaders and better MLAs.

Which leads one to wonder why Jason Kenney, notwithstanding his high praise for the PCs under Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein, decided the best PC leader is one who buries the party, rather than rebuilds it.

Kenney says if Peter McKay and Stephen Harper could unite a bunch of small “c” federal conservatives under the Conservative Party of Canada banner, merging Alberta’s PCs and Wildrose parties will be a “walk in the park”.

He points to a recent report published by the Manning Centre as evidence he’s right.

The Manning report says that since May 2015 when the NDP came into power the majority of the Wildrose and PC MLAs voted the same way 90.2% of the time on legislative votes and 95.8% of the time on money votes and this demonstrates there’s little of substance separating the Wildrose from the PCs.

Aside from the fact that the Manning report is not a quantitative analysis—the issues put to vote range from inconsequential to significant and the number of Wildrose and PC MLAs voting on each issue varies from vote to vote—it fails to address two instances where the Wildrose and the PCs are sharply divided, namely fiscal policy and democratic renewal.

In June 2015 the PCs proposed Bill 201, Assuring Alberta’s Fiscal Future. The Bill required the government to invest 25% of all non-renewable resource revenue into the Heritage Fund. The investment obligation jumped to 50% in years where operating revenue was expected to exceed operating expense.

Every Wildrose MLA voted with the NDP to reject the PC’s Bill.

Jason Kenney says Albertans are sophisticated and will be able to see through the objections to merger thrown up by naysayers.
That’s true. Albertans can also tell the difference between a politician spouting vacuous slogans and one with a vision for Alberta that goes beyond simply getting into power.

It’s time for Mr Kenney to show his respect for Albertans by telling them what he would do the day after he’s elected premier to address climate change and convince Justin Trudeau not to impose a federal carbon tax after Kenney eliminates the provincial carbon tax and how he will ensure religious schools protect the rights of LGBTQ students…and that’s just for starters.

Because a campaign built on destroying two political parties in order to unseat a third isn’t going to cut it.
No reason to unite with 'confused' PC's, says Jean

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is rejecting a union with the Progressive Conservatives, a party he described in a speech Friday as "confused about its values" and rife with "instability."

Speaking to the Wildrose annual general meeting in Red Deer Friday, Jean addressed the elephant in the room — how to respond to PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney's vow to unite all right-wing Albertans under a single conservative party.

Last year, Jean called on Wildrose members to invite everyone into their tent. He seemed open to merger talks with the PCs even as late as last summer. But much has changed since then.

Last May, the majority of delegates at the PC AGM rejected a merger with the Wildrose, so Jean is no longer interested.

"That party still remains confused about its values, its principles and what it stands for...And, right now, their party is rife with uncertainty, division and instability," Jean said, adding it was not time for Wildrose to be distracted by a possible merger and putting the province's future at risk by not being ready for the next election.

"We've already been very successful consolidating conservative-minded Albertans," he said.

"In the months ahead, let's not put the future of our province at risk waiting for the PC party to figure out what they do or don't believe in. Because friends, we are just two years away from an election. Two years away from defeating the NDP."

While they liked Jean's speech, a couple of party members worried about his message on a merger.

"I think you're naive to think one single right party can beat the NDP next election with the vote-splitting of the Wildrose and PCs," said Jason Wilson.

"I think the only solution would be to unite."

Keean Bexte said he was concerned with Jean's apparent rejection of a merger just because the PCs have some internal issues. He says all conservatives need to unite to defeat the NDP.

"We need to do everything we can to stop that, and that starts with getting conservatives under one party and whether that's the Wildrose Party or a new party, we'll see."

This weekend Wildrose members are expected to debate a policy calling for the Alberta government to appeal the carbon tax.
Jean has long been vocal in his opposition to the provincial levy which kicks in Jan. 1, 2017. In his speech he vowed to fight the federal government's own carbon-tax proposal, which he described as more aggressive and a "sledgehammer" against the provinces.

"Let's mark this weekend as the first step taken to ripping up the carbon tax and sending a message to Ottawa that Albertans won't back down when Wildrose forms government."

A number of candidates for the federal Conservative party showed up at this weekend's AGM. Kellie Leitch, Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier were seen making the rounds meeting party members.

Wildrose leader rejects PC merger in speech to party faithful - Edmonton - CBC News
The solution is simple. Change the name of the Wild Rose to Conservative (since they are the only conservative party in Alberta. Change the Conservative party name to Liberal to more accurately reflect their views. I'm sure the two card carrying Alberta Liberal party members won't mind as they have no real values anyway and this means the Liberal party will have a chance. Change the name of the Dippers to whatever you want. In a couple of years they will be done
The strange case of the Boys on the Bible Buses

Today is the deadline for new entries into the Progressive Conservative Party leadership race, and you have to ask: is the party executive now working directly for the Jason Kenney campaign?

It certainly seems so when you consider the strange affair of the Boys on the Bible Buses at last weekend’s PC policy conference in Red Deer, not to mention the harassment of at least one female candidate by Mr. Kenney’s supporters during the meeting.

While Mr. Kenney’s minions were yelling at Sandra Jansen in the hallways of the Red Deer hotel where the conference took place, the now-famous busloads of mysterious Bible school students were showing up at the convention to execute a takeover of the PC youth wing for Mr. Kenney’s campaign.

As the CBC explained it in its coverage of the conservative kiddie coup, the four buses of young Kenney supporters arrived on Saturday. “The young men and women, many in their teens, were led to a room where they could take pictures with former prime minister Stephen Harper. The youth were then directed to the room where the annual general meeting for the PC Youth Association was taking place.”

The reason for the visitation? The PCYA appoints 20 of the delegates who get to vote for the next leader at the party’s convention in March 2017, the CBC explained.

No one seems to know exactly who these mysterious young people were. An unconfirmed rumour circulating online last night
suggests they’re from one of the religious schools that refuses to obey the government’s policy on gay-straight alliances – a drama in which Mr. Kenney’s campaign appears to be pulling the strings.

Donna Kennedy-Glans, who with Ms. Jansen dropped out of the leadership race on Tuesday, complained about the bus voters – but failed to arouse any interest among the members of the party executive.

Now, here’s the thing. None of the young bus people – whoever they were – were PC Party members until their buses pulled up at the door.

So, under the PC Party’s own rules – based on a resolution party members insist was properly passed as required by the party’s constitution – you can’t vote at a PC meeting unless you’ve been a member for seven days. None of the young bus people had been, as they were signed up at the door.

After this – and presumably after the protest by Ms. Kennedy-Glans noted by the CBC – I am informed the PC executive met and decided not to enforce the constitutional rule.

In other words, Mr. Kenney’s supporters now appear to be in control of the party executive. Leastways, the executive is acting as if that’s the case. Given that, one wonders why they’d bother with the expense and inconvenience of a leadership convention.

As for Ms. Jansen and Ms. Kennedy-Glans dropping out, the party executive appears to be completely unconcerned.

Whatever the circumstances that led to their decisions, it is clear Kenney campaign – backed by the likes of former prime minister Stephen Harper and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning – wanted them gone. Otherwise, they could have potentially pooled their support for a more progressive alternative on a second ballot at the March leadership convention.

Alberta premier Rachel Notley may think, as she said yesterday, that “if a party or a campaign cannot conduct itself in a way to ensure the most basic of rules around inclusivity, for instance, anti-harassment, then quite frankly that party or that campaign is not equipped to govern the province.” But important people in the PC Party, by the sound of it, do not agree or care.

In a Facebook post last night, former deputy premier and 2014 leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk lamented the way Ms. Jansen and Ms. Kennedy-Glans were driven out of the race. “I know both of these women. I worked with them. They are brilliant, resilient and politically experienced. I know that they entered the race with full intentions to compete; they had the resources, and I know that it must have taken a lot for them to withdraw.”

“Both of the silenced candidates were bringing policy options and alternative perspectives that Albertans deserved to hear,” Mr. Lukaszuk wrote. “However, with the two candidates pushed out and with (today’s) deadline for new candidate entries, the PC race is set to proceed without any female representation and under a cloud of controversy.”

To restore faith in the process, Mr. Lukaszuk called on the executive to immediately suspend the deadline for new candidate entries while it investigates the candidates’ allegations.

Don’t expect this to happen.

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail with Jason Kenney: The strange case of the Boys on the Bible Buses |

Alberta PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney is being fined by the party.

Party President Katherine O'Neill confirmed to CBC News Sunday night that the board of directors accepted the recommendation of Chief Returning Officer Rob Dunseith for Kenney to forfeit $5,000 of the $20,000 performance bond he put up for his leadership bid.

The ruling is related to Kenney showing up at a delegate selection meeting in Edmonton-Ellerslie last week. Party rules stipulate candidates running for the leadership cannot be in attendance.

The PCs launched an investigation into Kenney's presence at the Mill Woods golf course clubhouse on Nov. 16 following complaints from the scrutineers of the other candidates — none of whom were around.

The Kenney campaign booked a hospitality room in the same building on the same floor as the delegate selection meeting, arguing that what meant to be "near" the event was ambiguous.

"We have been from the outset very determined to run a fair, open and transparent race because we're trying to rebuild the trust of Albertans after the last election," O'Neill said.

"One of the ways we can do it is by showing Albertans that as party members, we follow rules," O'Neill said.

Alberta PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney being fined by party - Edmonton - CBC News

Kinda refutes the point you tried to make a week ago, doesn't it?
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

Kinda refutes the point you tried to make a week ago, doesn't it?

Which was?

I just post the news. I have no sway in Alberta Politics.......
Quote: Originally Posted by tay View Post

Which was?

Party brass are working for Kenny.

Quote: Originally Posted by tay View Post

I just post the news.

Hehehehe...yes, of course.
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

Party brass are working for Kenny.

Hehehehe...yes, of course.

They may be working or prefer to have him but when these type of things go public they have to at least pretend they are being fair to the others. A $5,000 dollar fine is peanuts to the machine...
[QUOTE=tay;2305873][quote] If you think the gossip, rumours and speculation over Alberta’s frantic unite-the-right movement haven’t reached bizarre levels, listen to this.

Officials with the Alberta Party were so rattled by suggestions they were about to be the target of a hostile takeover by right-wing activists that the party held what amounted to an emergency meeting of members June 11.

The officials had heard that supporters of Alberta Can’t Wait — a unite-the-right movement — were going to show up at the Alberta Party’s annual general meeting in August, become members, vote to change its leadership, hollow out its policies and make it into a vessel for a new conservative party.

It would have been a good old-fashioned political coup with the prize being the coolest name in Alberta politics: The Alberta Party.

“Anyone that tries to take us over from the right is going to have a hell of a fight on their hands,” declared Clark.


Graham Thomson: Jittery Alberta Party holds emergency meeting to avoid a political highjacking | Edmonton Journal

look out for them danged muslims with the sharia law....
ooops, lol,....wrong thread
Quote: Originally Posted by tay View Post

They may be working or prefer to have him but when these type of things go public they have to at least pretend they are being fair to the others. A $5,000 dollar fine is peanuts to the machine...

That sounds an awful lot like an opinion. You're supposed to just report news remember?
Quote: Originally Posted by tay View Post

“Alberta Can’t Wait”

It's down the hall on the right.
In an email to supporters sent late Sunday with the bland subject line, “A Wildrose Update,” Opposition Leader Brian Jean drops a bombshell with the revelation someone broke into the party’s Edmonton office several weeks ago, stole two laptop computers and tried unsuccessfully to walk off with the party’s server.

Mr. Jean starts a section of the email headed “I also want to update you on matters related to our party’s data security” with another startling revelation: “Some of you have been receiving unsolicited calls and letters from another political party.”

Mr. Jean doesn’t say whom in the email, or what the calls were about, but sources have confirmed, unsurprisingly, that the caller was the Progressive Conservative Party and the topic was the leadership campaign of Jason Kenney.

“I do not know how parts of our membership data appear to have been obtained by organizers in another party, but I have directed staff to investigate this and take all necessary steps to further protect our lists,” the Opposition leader stated in the email to members.

“I want to be very clear that the unauthorized use of Wildrose membership data and the protection of Wildrose information are serious matters for me.”

Mr. Jean then appeared to connect a couple of dots, going on to make the statement the break-in had taken place.
“A number of weeks ago, our party office in Edmonton was targeted in a break-in,” he said. (The party office is the only one in the building.) “Some laptops were stolen and an unsuccessful attempt was made to steal Wildrose’s computer server.”

“We do not believe there was any data released during this incident but we cannot be certain. No credit-card information was contained on any of the missing password-protected laptops. A police investigation is ongoing and since the robbery we have moved our computer server offsite to a high-security location.”

Describing the Progressive Conservatives as “going through a divisive fight right now,” Mr. Jean then revealed another interesting tidbit: “I’ve heard some concerning reports from some of you that you’ve received unsolicited calls claiming that I am encouraging Wildrose members to buy memberships and influence the leadership vote in the PC party. This claim is absolutely false. I would NEVER ask our members to interfere in the activities of another party.”

A Wildrose member not associated with the party leadership has confirmed he will ask Elections Alberta and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta today to investigate the information breach.

Alberta PoliticsWatergate anyone? Wildrose Edmonton office burgled, computers stolen, membership data being misused: Brian Jean - Alberta Politics

Don’t bet the farm on a “merger” between the Progressive Conservatives and the Alberta Party.

Metro reported late last week that a merger between the once governing PCs and the still irrelevant Alberta Party is “percolating.” Alas, what their reporter was smelling probably wasn’t coffee, exactly.

Still, the report is interesting, because a trial balloon was obviously being floated by someone for some reason.

The story said the presidents of the two parties wouldn’t be opposed to a merger, and quoted PC Party President Katherine O’Neill saying … “It wasn’t surprising there was part of our membership that said ‘if you’re going to do a merger, it should be with the centre.’ The Alberta Party came out more than others.”

Ummm … OK. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of a merger with the largely meaningless Alberta Party to me.
Nor did it to Ms. O’Neill, apparently. She Tweeted after the story had appeared: “Disappointed w/ this story.” No, she also economically said in the same Tweet, the PCs are not involved in merger talks with any party.

Well, the PCs are involved in merger negotiations of a sort whether they like it or not – with the Wildrose Party, driven by the PC leadership candidacy of former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney, who has big plan for a double reverse hostile takeover of both conservative parties. Since it seems increasingly likely Mr. Kenney will pull off the first stage of his scheme at the PC leadership convention on the first ballot on March 18 in Calgary, that means it’s much less likely the PCs will be part of any fight to occupy the centre of Alberta politics.

So worrying about a party with very few members, only one MLA and no discernible future – even if it does posses an excellent name – just doesn’t sound like anything the PCs are going to be spending much time thinking about in their present straits. And even if they were, they’d be talking about a takeover, not a merger.

Still, one thing the Metro story did get right, after a fashion, was that the centre is likely to be the ground over which Alberta’s next general election will be fought, at least in the province’s two biggest cities.

Meanwhile, Metro’s story quoted Alberta Party President Pat Cochrane denying outright her party is talking with the Tories – nope, they’re talking with the Liberals, she told Metro! My usually reliable Alberta Liberal source says it ain’t so.

But this raises the question, if the Metro story’s not completely out to lunch, who in the Alberta Party is talking with the Tories?

Alberta PoliticsA ‘merger’ between the Alberta Party and the Progressive Conservatives? Unlikely - Alberta Politics
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says he will soon present a better path forward for conservative unity than a party merger — even as one of his MLAs, Derek Fildebrandt, is calling for his party to amalgamate with the Progressive Conservatives.

The notion of uniting the right has become a key issue in Alberta politics, with former Conservative MP Jason Kenney running for the Tory leadership on a platform of merging the parties.

But Jean told Postmedia Thursday that Kenney’s initiative won’t fly and he intends to present a plan that will actually work.

He provided few details but suggested it could include ways for the Wildrose and PCs to co-operate without a formal merger

“It has to be something palatable to both sets of members,” said Jean. “And I think that our plan is, quite frankly, much more palatable to both sets of members.”

Jean said a year ago his party was willing to reach out on the grassroots levels to the Tories in an attempt to form a “consolidated conservative coalition.” But he shelved the idea in the spring when the PC convention rejected the merger idea and he has been cool to Kenney’s campaign.

However, Fildebrandt became the first Wildrose MLA to back the merger idea, telling a Whitecourt radio station Wednesday that the public wants the two conservative parties to come together.

“The NDP are too dangerous, they are too ideological, they are too destructive to the future of this province to take chances,” the Strathmore-Brooks MLA told XM1o5.

“I’m willing to put everything I’ve accomplished in politics on the line for this.”
Fildebrandt refused to comment to Postmedia Thursday but a spokesman for the MLA confirmed the story as accurate.

In late afternoon, the Wildrose caucus issued a statement from Fildebrandt saying he stood by his comments, but that they were consistent with what he and Jean have been saying: “That we want to see all conservatives united going into the next election to defeat and replace the NDP.”

Fildebrandt’s Whitecourt remarks echo Kenney, who commended the MLA for endorsing the merger of the “free enterprise parties.”
“There are a lot more MLAs who feel this way,” he said.

Fildebrandt was briefly suspended from the Wildrose caucus in the spring over his apparent endorsement of a homophobic Facebook post targeting Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

Wildrose appears split over party merger with PCs
Brian Jean fired a shot across the bow of Jason Kenney's unite-the-right campaign Thursday, saying he would be willing to step aside as Wildrose leader to seek the leadership of a new, united conservative party.

Jean said bringing Alberta's two right-wing parties together under a single banner would give conservatives in the province the best chance winning the next election, scheduled for 2019.

The man who has led the Wildrose since March 2015 made the announcement in a group email sent to party members and in a video posted on the party website.

He said his envisioned a united party would be viable only if it was ruled by the grassroots and recognized all members of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties as equals.

"Let me be clear on this point, I plan to be Alberta's next premier," Jean said. "If our members approve a unity agreement with the PC party, I am prepared to stand down as leader of the Wildrose and to seek the leadership of our single, principled, conservative party in a race to be conducted this summer.

"We must remember that the members will decide the name for Alberta's conservative movement," he said. "And most importantly, time is of the essence."

The announcement seemed to herald a shift in Jean's thinking on the issue. In October, at the Wildrose annual general meeting in Red Deer, he rejected talk of a union with the PCs.

Taking aiming at the PC party, Jean said Albertans elected the NDP in May 2015 because many voters "soundly rejected those who put personal ambition ahead of principles."

In a warning to his own party members, Jean said conservative-minded voters can't afford to risk being caught off guard by an early election call.

"[Premier] Rachel Notley could very well call such an election if she sees any vulnerability in Alberta's conservative movement," Jean said. "Our party's survival has been put at risk by that type of cynical and jaded politics in the past, and I'm not willing to take that chance with Alberta's future.

"We cannot give Rachel Notley and the NDP a free pass. The leader of a consolidated party must be in place and ready to oppose the NDP's damaging legislative agenda, this fall."

Jean was elected Wildrose leader in March 2015, six weeks before the provincial election and only months after former leader Danielle Smith and eight party MLAs defected to the then-ruling Progressive Conservative party.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean willing to step down to head united conservative party - Edmonton - CBC News

In short order throughout the day, three shoes dropped in the room upstairs. That leaves only one more to go … at least if there’s really a talking political horse up there.

First, PC leadership candidate Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster and one of the three men who as of this morning were still challenging Mr. Kenney’s plan to destroy the party as soon as he takes it over by merging it with the Wildrose Opposition, announced he had a plan for a PC-Wildrose coalition .

Then Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin, announced he was willing to step aside as leader of the Opposition on the condition there is a quick contest in which he can seek the leadership of a new and united right-wing opposition party.

Then Tory leadership candidate Stephen Khan, former MLA for St. Albert, announced just before 10 p.m. in a disillusioned sounding Tweet that he was quitting the race . He followed up with an angry and more detailed statement on his campaign website.

That leaves only candidate Byron Nelson, a Calgary lawyer, to provide the final thump we’re now all awaiting.

Calling his scheme a “necessary adjustment” to his campaign, Dr. Starke seemed to be proposing that Tories run in some ridings and Wildrosers in others, with an agreement to form a coalition government.

The plan must have been cobbled together quickly, because the details were sketchy in the news coverage most of us were forced to rely upon. It sounded to me at the time like a graceful way for the gentlemanly veterinarian to step out of the way of the Kenney juggernaut without appearing to have walked away from his doomed party, which not so long ago was Alberta’s governing dynasty.

As for Mr. Jean, he sounded feistier, even if he was hunkered down and using the group email to members of his caucus he’s been relying on for a lot of his announcements lately.

“Let me be clear on this point, I plan to be Alberta’s next premier,” Mr. Jean declared. “If our members approve a unity agreement with the PC party, I am prepared to stand down as leader of the Wildrose and to seek the leadership of our single, principled, conservative party in a race to be conducted this summer.”

Mr. Jean also said that members of the new party “will decide the name for Alberta’s conservative movement.” Not “Wildrose,” presumably.

Well, OK, but since in the past he’s rejected union with the PCs outright, this sounds a lot like a man who is having trouble controlling his own fractious caucus and party membership. Recent rumblings from the ranks have included Wildrose members bitterly complaining that Mr. Jean’s recent Facebook videos were produced without a membership vote and spreading rumours the party was broke.

If this was Mr. Jean’s big promised Unite-the-Right Plan, it is a significant disappointment after all the lead-up.

As for Mr. Khan, he apparently had no compunction about the need to save face and maintain the fiction all is well on the right side of the aisle in Alberta. “When the race is no longer about a vision and plan for our province, it’s time to step down,” he Tweeted.

“I was confident that this race would be one of ideas and hope for Alberta’s future and I expected it to be a well-run and principled campaign,” Mr. Khan elucidated on his campaign website last night. “Instead, it has devolved into vitriol, anger and division. As such, I can no longer participate in this race in good conscience, nor ask my family, volunteers and supporters to do the same on my behalf.”

“We have seen the reputation of the PC Party damaged so badly over the course of this campaign that our credibility may be beyond repair,” Mr. Khan continued. “More concerning, we have seen volunteers, organizers, leadership candidates, members of the Board of Directors, our party president and even some PC caucus members harassed and threatened.

“It is clear that there is no room in this race for competing ideas and we have seen more anger and division in the last three months than in the half-century legacy of this party,” Mr. Khan concluded.

Mr. Khan asked his supporters to vote for Dr. Starke.

I imagine that tonight Mr. Kenney feels as if the universe is unfolding as it should and looks a bit like a cat that ate a canary.

Alberta PoliticsProgressive Conservative leadership campaign rattles uncomfortably toward a seemingly inevitable Jason Kenney victory - Alberta Politics
In case you’re still wondering how this unite-the-right thing is supposed to work, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has clarified matters for you.

The party that emerges when the dust has settled will be the Wildrose Party, he told the world earlier this week. The Progressive Conservatives will be no more – although, certainly, the “new” Wildrose party (which will not be new at all, of course) will soon try to rebrand itself “conservative.”

Mr. Jean’s refreshing honesty is important, because up to now all would-be unite-the-righters – including Jason Kenney, who is all but certain to become the PC leader on March 18 in Calgary – have been pretending that what emerges after the next step in his double reverse hostile takeover would be a merger of Alberta’s two principal conservative parties.

For his part, Mr. Kenney has claimed what results will be an entirely new party, although he has not explained how that could happen over the objections of the Wildrose leadership, or what would happen to the estimated $1.5 million in PC constituency bank accounts and candidate trusts that has reported would have to be forfeited if the party was dissolved. The Wildrose Party would not lose as much, because it quickly spends most of the funds it raises.

So, despite the efforts of other Wildrosers to say it ain’t so – Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt, for example, Tweeted this week that “unification should respect both Wildrose & PC members as equals” and called for negotiations closed to the media – for the reasons Mr. Jean pointed out, it cannot easily be so.

Mr. Jean made his clarifying statement while attending a Wildrose Party town hall meeting in Camrose on Monday. He told participants that if unification happens, it will be under the Wildrose structure, and furthermore that he will be a candidate to run the united party.

According to a media report , Mr. Jean told participants in the forum that joining up with the Tories “is a small price to pay if we can have Wildrose as the legal framework for the conservative movement going forward.”

And while the Wildrose Party has divisions of its own, as evidenced by constant rumours of factional warfare within the Opposition legislative caucus, it is hard to see how this could be any different without the consent of the Wildrose leader.

This presumably means the PCs under Mr. Kenney or anyone else are stuck with this reality if they decide to proceed with this union of unlike minds. At least, not without a Wildrose coup to depose Mr. Jean, and that would likely take too much time.

So if Alberta’s conservatives move to union – red Tories, progressive conservatives and the like take note – it will be as members of a new, possibly even more radical, version of the Wildrose Party that emerges as Alberta’s new “conservative” political entity.

Alberta PoliticsBrian Jean makes it clear, any new Alberta conservative party will be the Wildrose Party - Alberta Politics
Former Kenney campaign organizer charged with assault after an incident at the PC convention.

Calgary police confirmed Saturday morning that officers were called to the Calgary Convention Centre just before midnight to deal with a disturbance involving Alan Hallman.

Hallman was cuffed by security and kept in a room until police arrived just after 1 a.m. He was charged with common assault and released on a promise to appear.

Hallman was suspended by the PC Party earlier this year for posting inappropriate tweets that breached the leadership code of conduct. Kenney said at the time Hallman was no longer part of his campaign team.

Albertans will know the next leader of the province’s Progressive Conservative party tonight.

The leadership vote at the Calgary Convention Centre could very well be the death knell for the party that ruled the province for 44 years, with frontrunner Jason Kenney proposing dissolution of the PCs to merge with Wildrose and form a conservative megaforce.

There are just three candidates left in the race — Kenney, the former MP for Calgary Mindapore, Lloydminster-Vermilion MLA Richard Starke, and Calgary lawyer Byron Nelson.

Nelson is the only one not running on a mandate of some form of cooperation with the Wildrose; Kenney wants to create a new united conservative force with both parties, whereas Starke supports a non-compete clause or similar.

Nelson isn’t against the unity concept in theory, he told the convention crowd Friday night, but thinks Kenney’s plan is too hasty and paves the way for another four years of the NDP.

The leadership convention kicked off Friday night with a candidate rally.

Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives pick their new leader Saturday | Edmonton Journal
Jason Kenney wins Alberta PC leadership on first ballot

Jason Kenney wins Alberta PC leadership on first ballot - Calgary - CBC News
Curious Cdn
Quote: Originally Posted by tay View Post

Jason Kenney wins Alberta PC leadership on first ballot

Jason Kenney wins Alberta PC leadership on first ballot - Calgary - CBC News

That's a good thing. He knows, by now, that there is more out there in the world than just Alberta. I expect a guy like that to take a leadership role among the Premiers, when he gets that far.
So that’s the end of it, then.

Whatever happens, the old Progressive Conservative Party that ran Alberta for nigh unto 44 years is gone like the wind.

At the culmination of the party’s leadership convention in Calgary, yesterday afternoon delegates elected Jason Kenney, 48, the social conservative former Stephen Harper lieutenant who has pledged to dismantle the party and merge it with the Wildrose
Opposition in a double reverse hostile takeover modelled on the Reform/Alliance party’s capture and destruction of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003.

Aided by social conservative activists drawn from Wildrose Party ranks and signed up as new PC members, Mr. Kenney’s campaign triumphed as predicted on the first ballot just before 5 p.m. He had about 75 per cent of the vote.

“Today, it’s springtime in Alberta,” Mr. Kenney grandiloquently intoned in his victory peroration – presumably intending a tip o’ the top hat to Ronald Reagan, but raising the suspicion in some minds that Mel Brooks must be writing speeches for Mr. Kenney now.
He also made a pro forma pledge to PC members on the party’s once significant progressive side who are unhappy with his merger plan that he’ll be “inclusive and welcoming to all.”

But if you were looking for a more evocative signal of the party’s likely future course under Mr. Kenney’s leadership, it came about four hours earlier when the old PC Party’s standard bearer, Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke, was roundly booed from the floor by Kenney supporters.

Dr. Starke’s offence? He was warning delegates about the dangers of merging with the Wildrose party when the catcalls began ringing out: “We hold our breath hoping that none of our candidates believe that gay people spend eternity in a ‘lake of fire,’ hold our breath that one of our campus clubs doesn’t send out an email saying ‘feminism is a cancer. …’”

It seems to your blogger that Dr. Starke also made a reference to Wildrose Leader Brian Jean’s unfortunate joke about beating NDP Premier Rachel Notley in this passage of his speech as well, but if so, by the time I got around to writing the post, it had already disappeared down the mainstream media memory hole.

I suppose the Kenney PCs can now argue they were jeering at the genial veterinarian from Vermilion because he dared to suggest there’s a road to re-election for the NDP, but it sure sounded from up here in Edmonton as if they were endorsing homophobia and attacks on women.

We will see the true face of the new style Alberta Conservative party soon enough as Alberta’s conservative movement is hammered into the template set out in the Preston Manning playbook Mr. Kenney is following.

In his speech, Mr. Kenney also repeated his past vow – red meat to the Wildrose base – to repeal every single piece of NDP legislation regardless of its merits. This includes, presumably, even the law requiring students to be allowed to for gay-straight alliances in schools that was actually passed by Jim Prentice’s PC government.

The night before the speeches – in an act of not much significance, perhaps, but a certain symbolic power – a former Kenney campaign strategist, suspended from party membership for a year last January for calling someone he was arguing with an “*******” on social media – apparently took a swing at a security guard who tried to get him to leave the Telus Convention Centre. He was later taken away in handcuffs by police.

Can chants of “lock her up” be far behind? Oh, wait, they’ve already happened, led by one of the sad sack collection of candidates campaigning contemporaneously to lead the federal division of the combined Wildrose-Conservative Party.

Well, it may seem strange for an old Dipper to lament the passing of the PCs – Kenney backers would likely just say it’s proactive sour grapes ’cause they’re gonna win in 2019 and party like it’s Saturday night at Mar-a-Lago. But it’s not a good thing that the kind of conservatives who helped build Canada and actually believed in conserving valuable institutions we’ve created together no longer have a political home of their own in this province or this country.

If nothing else, occasional runs of progressive conservative government acted as a useful steam valve to relieve without too much damage the periodic dissatisfaction with the more progressive governments, whatever their label.

Peter Lougheed, premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985 and the effective founder of the PC Dynasty in Alberta, must be spinning like a top in his grave in Calgary’s Union Cemetery tonight at the thought of someone like Mr. Kenney leading his party. Mr. Lougheed had his flaws, as readers of this blog point out from time to time, but he was neither a market fundamentalist ideologue nor a rage-steeped social conservative, and he certainly didn’t believe in unrestricted resource development or running roughshod over other provinces.

Mr. Jean, leader of the Opposition now in the legislature, has said he hopes to meet with Mr. Kenney tomorrow morning to talk about the future. Whether that meeting comes about on Mr. Jean’s schedule, or at all, will give us some hints about how Mr. Kenney and his advisors plan to roll out the next stage of their takeover plan.

Meanwhile, another open question is what those who loved the P in PC will do.

Will the majority of them look for a completely new home, gravitate toward another existing party or stick with the Kenney PCs and hope for the best?

It’s too soon to tell. But one thing is clear: the days when Alberta politics were boring have not yet returned.

Alberta PoliticsIt
Jason Kenney is more interested in uniting Albertans against Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP Government than he is in “uniting the right.”

So it’s time for Albertans to have a sober conversation about the kind of policies he would likely implement if he won power, based on his political history and the platform implied by his successful leadership campaign.

Fresh off his first-ballot victory at the Progressive Conservative leadership convention in Calgary on March 18, Mr. Kenney and his supporters quickly pivoted to give his tarnished image a makeover.

Suddenly, Mr. Kenney was no longer the arch social conservative unafraid of being on the wrong side of history on gay marriage, LGBTQ rights, workers’ rights, women’s reproductive rights, environmental stewardship, or pretty much anything else that progressive Canadians support.

Overnight, or so we were told by Mr. Kenney’s backers, he had become as moderate as can be, especially since his bid to run the PC party began in earnest last summer.

The problem with this story is Mr. Kenney’s long track record as a Conservative Member of Parliament and the things he said in numerous social media posts and speeches he has made in in recent months.

It is no secret Mr. Kenney is a social conservative with some very unpalatable opinions that many claim would take us back to the 1950s – or at least to the 1990s when he left Alberta for Ottawa. He has voted in favour of Motion 312 in Parliament in 2012, for example, the failed attempt by Conservatives in Parliament to undermine women’s reproductive rights protected by the Criminal Code of Canada.

Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean also supported that motion when he was a Conservative MP, by the way.

But even if we were to ignore Mr. Kenney’s voting record as an elected MP since 1997, his recent campaign for the PC leadership alone gives Albertans plenty to worry about.

The entire campaign, and especially its social media component, seems to be based on the idea Alberta is in a state of terminal decline. It implies that only a broader conservative movement led by Mr. Kenney himself can save us from an unpalatable fate.
The problem is that there is little evidence to support the idea Alberta is in an economic death spiral.

While it is true the province is undergoing an economic transition due to relatively low oil prices (in reality, what are historically average oil prices over the past 40 years), the Kenney campaign has done everything in its power to blame this situation on the “disastrous socialist” NDP Government, as he Tweeted earlier this month. Other hyperbolic and inaccurate expressions found regularly on Mr. Kenney’s Twitter feed include “drowning in debt,” “Alberta’s fiscal house is on fire,” “future mortgaged by debt,” “anti-growth policies,” and the like.

But as we can see from the two charts accompanying this story – both based on the trustworthy Royal Bank of Canada fiscal tables, updated as of March 22, 2017 – Alberta’s debt position, measured on a per capita basis or as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, is stronger than that of any other Canadian province.

Obviously, the former CEO of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in the 1990s isn’t shy about using debt as a political weapon, even when the facts hardly warrant his hyperbole. Is Alberta really “drowning in debt”? If it is, what does this say about Canada’s other provinces?

The new PC narrative under Mr. Kenney that Alberta is a state of terminal decline serves to justify the Conservative claim a strong man is required to take severe countermeasures, much as we saw last week in Saskatchewan in Premier Brad Wall’s controversial budget.

The implied Kenney platform is that the privatization of public assets, severe cuts to public services, and downloading the lion’s share of taxation from corporations onto the backs of working people are all necessary given the current fiscal crunch.
This entire Kenney program is based on fear: Fear of debt, fear of decline, fear of fair taxation, and, above all, fear of the current provincial and federal governments.

It’s clear Mr. Kenney’s implied policies would inflict harm on Albertans, especially the most vulnerable who rely on social services.

Last year, the Alberta Federation of Labour calculated austerity inherent in the Wildrose Opposition’s policies would “usher in a second recession” by shrinking the economy by $10 billion per year. The author of that report found that such measures would result in 22,000 direct job losses in the public sector, plus an additional 16,000 in indirect job losses.

The Wildrose Party’s policy boils down to this: We will solve Alberta’s unemployment, caused by the decline in oil prices, by laying off even more people!

Mr. Kenney’s implied policies – with or without a successful union with the Wildrose Party – do not seem to be much different.

Every day I hear resignation and fear from acquaintances and colleagues that Mr. Kenney will sweep to power in Alberta, just as he swept the leadership of the PCs. The goal of the Kenney campaign’s narrative is to create a sense of invincibility about his ambition to lead Alberta. But this sort of pessimism is wrong-headed and defeatist.

Not only should we resist his well-financed campaign, we can do so in the confidence he has given us the tools to resist successfully in the things he has said and stood for.

Mr. Kenney’s track record is a key vulnerability for the next step in his campaign. His alarming social media campaign during the leadership race provides plenty of ammunition.

We certainly shouldn’t buy what Mr. Kenney is selling when even many on the right for good reason do not! We should recognize the danger he poses to our health care, education and social services in Alberta.

The reason Mr. Kenney won the PC leadership wasn’t because of what he offered to Alberta. It was because he out-organized everyone else in the rag-tag band of Tory traditionalists that opposed him. He successfully implied he has all the answers without actually discussing a single aspect of public policy other than his desire to repeal the carbon levy.

It’s no accident Mr. Kenney ran on a platform of destroying the PC party itself. Destruction is what he does.

So, we need to learn from the mistakes the PC traditionalists made and not underestimate Mr. Kenney’s organizational skills, or his willingness to achieve power by whipping up fear and self-loathing among enough Albertans to persuade them to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

This is not so different from the mistake made by the Democratic Party in the United States, which underestimated Donald Trump’s ability and willingness to use pervasive notions of Western decline to his advantage.

Alberta PoliticsGuest Post: The time has come for a sober conversation about Jason Kenney