Story by Erica Fisher, 2Day FM Grande Prairie
Wildrose leader Brian Jean has opened the door to merging with the PC Party. In a video message shared with his online followers Thursday, he says he’d be willing to step down and run as leader for a merged conservative party if his members approve a unity agreement.
“The clear direction I got from the majority of you was that we should pursue unity, but only if we can do so in a way that maintains our principles and our grassroots way of doing things.”
Jean also wants the Wildrose’s legal framework to be the foundation for the consolidated party, and for members to choose its name. The willingness to join forces under a single party is new for the Fort McMurray – Conklin MLA, but he’s been vocal about wanting conservatives to work together in the past.
His announcement come just hours after PC leadership candidate unveiled his plan to have the two parties work together to defeat the NDP in the next election. Vermillion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke proposed having both the Tories and the Wildrose work together but remain separate.
“It doesn’t involve destroying two existing political parties that would have to forfeit their financial assets to the Crown. I would say forfeiting your financial assets to the Crown is something that is fundamentally non-Conservative.”
Starke didn’t have many details on how it would work, but said he believes it’s a better way to avoid vote splitting than Jason Kenney’s Unite the Right platform. He admitted he hadn’t yet spoken to Jean or anyone else in the Wildrose about his plan, but it seems less likely now that they’d be on board.