Elections Alberta says if PCs and Wildrose decide to merge, it won’t be easy

A file photo of the Alberta flag. Dave Carels, Global News

Uniting Alberta’s two right-of-centre political parties has been the dominant talk of the PC leadership race and even the leader of the Wildrose has said the idea is a possibility.

But Elections Alberta says it’s not going to be easy.

Drew Westwater, deputy chief electoral officer with Elections Alberta, says the parties would have to start from scratch, and that means they can’t take previous money they raised with them.

READ MORE: Final Alberta PC leadership debate dominated by talk of merging with the Wildrose

He also says if the two parties decide to dissolve and start a new party, they would have pay off all debts as well, and any leftover funds would go to Elections Alberta.

He says there’s technically no provision in legislation that allows parties to merge.

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Westwater says the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act states that if a new party is formed, .3 per cent of the electorate across the province would have to sign a petition to allow them to register.

“What they can do is de-register from their existing party, and their existing party banners, form a new party and then register under that banner and form the new party and move forward from there,” he says.

READ MORE: Alberta PC candidate Jason Kenney says ‘it’s been awkward’ to try to unite the right

Watch below: In January 2017, Alberta PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney told Vassy Kapelos some senior members of his party would rather he not be in the race but he is running to unite the conservative base and to stop Rachel Notley from winning a second term.

Click to play video 'Open hostility in Alberta PC leadership race: Kenney' Open hostility in Alberta PC leadership race: Kenney
Open hostility in Alberta PC leadership race: Kenney – Jan 22, 2017

“Once they became registered they could raise funds, issue tax credit receipts and things like that and do fundraising. They can’t raise money or spend money, other than the $5,000 startup money, until they are registered as a party and the assets they currently have they can’t use or transfer to them.”

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Westwater says the situation is unique to the province. Parties are born in Alberta quite often, but the province has never seen two parties dissolve to form a new party.

The next provincial election will be held spring 2019.

-With files from 630 CHED.