July 24, 2017 11:27 am
Updated: July 24, 2017 12:17 pm

Peter Watts: United Conservative Party — so what’s next?

Sun, Jul 23: The old PC party that dominated Alberta politics for four decades is winding down. Now, the overwhelming show of the support for the unification of the Wildrose and PC parties is leaving many questions about policy and who will lead the new United Conservative party.

Global News

Jason Kenney and Brian Jean are leaders of political parties that no longer exist after Saturday’s vote to bring together the Conservative and Wildrose parties into a new political organization. Brian Jean was a guest on the Alberta Morning News on Sunday and told me he will be a candidate to lead the United Conservative Party.

“The new party incorporates a lot of the principles upon which Wildrose was founded,” said Jean. “We’re going to be able to move forward and offer Albertans a distinct alternative to the NDP government.

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READ MORE: Jason Kenney accuses NDP supporters of undermining United Conservative Party

It will be a busy schedule for the next three months. The party has to be registered as an official political party with Elections Alberta. It has to establish a financial plan since existing funds for the Conservative and Wildrose Parties cannot simply be turned over to the new organization.

Speaking of organization, there is the little matter of organizing 87 constituency associations and continuing to build the membership base. The Conservative and Wildrose caucuses were to meet Monday to select an interim leader. A permanent leader will be picked by Oct. 28 and the provincial legislature is due to reconvene on October 31.

READ MORE: Alberta PCs, Wildrose unveil plans to merge, create United Conservative Party

Clearly, the economy and the government’s handling of the budget was the rallying point for the political right to put aside differences and to try and provide a creditable alternative.

The NDP will be quick to pounce on perceived weakness on social issues and to rally its own supporters to maintain the current course. Those with no particular political affiliation will have plenty to watch and lots to listen to over the next while.

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

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