June 12, 2017 5:23 pm
Updated: June 13, 2017 10:31 pm

Jason Kenney accuses NDP supporters of undermining United Conservative Party

Jason Kenney is accusing NDP supporters of trying to influence the referendum on the new United Conservative Party.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
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Jason Kenney is accusing unions and activists on the left of trying to undermine the new United Conservative Party.

The Progressive Conservative Party (PC) leader told News Talk 770’s Rob Breakenridge that he has seen evidence that a local of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, as well as others gunning for a NDP victory in the next election, have been buying memberships in the PC and Wildrose parties.

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“[Sunday], somebody sent me a memo that came out from a political engagement committee of a local of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, encouraging their members to sign up specifically with the Wildrose Party, to vote in the upcoming referendum and the subsequent leadership,” Kenney told Rob Breakenridge.

Scroll down to see the memo from the Political Engagement Committee, Rocky View Local #35

READ MORE: Would the Alberta NDP have won if conservatives parties united ahead of the 2015 election?

The Alberta Teachers’ Association said it encourages its members to get involved in the political process and has teachers of all different political views in its organization.

“For (Kenney) to consider the only teachers that would buy a membership would be left-wing NDP members, that is grossly overstated,” said Mark Ramsankar, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. “For a gentleman who is trying to build a big tent organization uniting the right – is he questioning whether he wants teachers involved?”

Kenney said he doesn’t know how organized it has been, but said it’s “pretty clear” there is an effort on the left to influence the referendum.

“Let me just put it this way; if you’re a big union boss and you’re doing pretty well with the NDP, you want to keep the gravy train running,” he said. “You want to avoid conservatives uniting because the only way the NDP has any realistic prospect of re-election, is if conservatives are divided.”

LISTEN: Jason Kenney alleges effort by NDP supporters to undermine conservative unity

The Alberta NDP denied its members have had anything to do with an attempt to undermine the unity effort.

“We certainly aren’t involved in any attempts to buy memberships in the Progressive Conservative Party,” said Roari Richardson, provincial secretary for the Alberta NDP.

LISTEN: Alberta NDP responds to allegations NDP supporters are trying to undermine United Conservative Party

“When it comes to memberships in our party, you can’t be a member of another party and be a member of the New Democrats.”

“It makes me chuckle a little bit. We’re not engaged in that in any way.”

READ MORE: Rachel Notley makes appeal to conservatives turned off by potential merger between Wildrose and PCs

Kenney said he is aware of the rules around NDP membership, but that it would be difficult for the party to police.

“Of course, there’s a constituency of people who are more broadly on the left that might not be NDP members but who have a political interest in preventing unity amongst conservatives,” he added.

“I’m not condemning them,” he added. “I’m saying the response is for free-enterprise Albertans to get involved too.”

The Wildrose Party had not responded to News Talk 770’s request for comment by publication time.

The Wildrose and PC party members will vote on the new United Conservative Party on July 22.

READ BELOW: Memo from Political Engagement Committee, Rocky View Local #35

 
It is not often that the Local Political Engagement Committee asks you to take this type of action, but today we are inviting you to consider purchasing a membership in the Wildrose Party of Alberta.  Why?  Good question!
 
As you are likely aware, the Wildrose Party and the PC Party are potentially joining forces.  In July, the party members will have the opportunity to vote on the merger.  This is the first place you can have your say.  After this date, a leadership race will proceed, one that may, given the political climate of the province, see the election of our next premier.  At the present time, the two candidates most likely to succeed are either Brian Jean or Jason Kenney.
 
If you would like the to have your say, you can vote online on July 22, 2017 regarding the merger of the two parties, either yes or no, but you need to get a membership with the Wildrose Party.  This can be done online at: http://www.wildrose.ca/membershiphttp://www.wildrose.ca/membership.
 
On October 28, 2017 you will then be able to vote for the new leader of the party, assuming the merger is passed.
 
It is important to remember that our ATA is a non-partisan organization.  However, this is an opportunity for you to elect  the person who could potentially be our next premier.  Although the results of a provincial election over two years away are difficult to predict, we can, as teachers, make a difference.  We have done this before as a group of teachers with very successful results for education.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Annette Forer at aforer@shaw.ca.  
 
Thank you,
Annette Forer
Chair, Political Engagement Committee 
on behalf of the Political Engagement Committee Rocky View Local #35

 

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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