An historic vote over the weekend brought Alberta’s two right-of-centre parties together, and now the real work begins.
Wildrose and PC MLAs will hold a joint caucus meeting Monday, and the first order of business will be to select an interim leader for the United Conservative Party (UCP).
Calgary pollster Janet Brown said it’s going to be a busy few months for the UCP. “They’ll need to set a time for a party convention to establish their policies and then by the end of October they’ll elect a new leader.”
Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer has already confirmed he will run for the leadership of the new party while Wildrose leader Brian Jean will make an announcement Monday. PC leader Jason Kenney has also indicated he will run.
It’s also believed others, such as Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt, will step forward, now that the merger has members’ support.
Brown said the party will want to have all candidates in place by next spring in case the NDP government calls an early election.
David Taras, professor of communications at Mount Royal University, said right now, there’s a sense of euphoria within the party, but he says there are “dangerous waters ahead,” starting with the leadership race which he said could be ugly.
” There’s a lot of animosity, a lot of ego and a lot of revenge.”
Members of both parties voted 95 per cent in favour of creating the new party.