Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean wants to unite conservative parties in Alberta to be ready for the next election.
What that will look like needs some planning but Jean has taken to the road to speak with constituents in a series of town halls. He stopped in Ponoka Feb. 7 after speaking in Blackfalds and Lacombe.
About 25 people attended the town hall on uniting the parties. Jean is willing to step down as Wildrose leader to stand as leader of a united conservative party.
“I’ve always said that I’ll put aside personal ambition for the greater good,” said Jean.
“What could be more greater than the conservatives consolidate in one movement.”
With Alberta’s PC Party in a full leadership race it is unclear how that would work. While Jean was speaking to Ponoka residents, the PC’s were in the final leadership debate in Calgary with elections for the PCs set for March 17.
Jean’s intention is to be the next premier. “Let’s be clear, I will be the next premier of this province. I will be running in the next leadership race under a unified party and I believe that I will win that.”
Rather than focus on the challenges, Jean said there are commonalities between the two parties including fiscal responsibility and strong policies.
Jean says the Wildrose Party’s membership is clear in its intention to have the two come together as long as Wildrose principles remain intact.
“What I’m trying to find is common ground where we can unify,” said Jean.
One challenge that could become an issue is determining what happens to the assets and accounts for a party. Jean said under Alberta law the two cannot merge, if they did they would have to start from scratch.
For the Wildrose that would not be ideal, says Jean, considering the party has a strong portfolio of assets. If a party is dissolved, debts would have to be paid off and the leftover would have to go to Elections Alberta.
If those issued can be solved it would be up to the members to make the decision changes.
“It’s about them (the members) deciding on how to move forward, on what the foundation will be, on the principles we will go with and what name they will follow,” said Jean.
His concern is to ensure the membership has a say.
The next provincial election is expected to start in the spring of 2019.