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Wildrose, Progressive Conservatives continue on path toward unity

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier is pleased with progress made toward uniting Alberta conservatives under one political banner.
Party leaders last week signed an agreement in principle to unite the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties as the United Conservative Party.
“We have a chance to make history,” Stier said in an interview Friday. “It’s exciting.”
Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney on Thursday signed the agreement in principle.
The parties now have 60 days to have their membership approve the agreement.
“I’m excited and thrilled and I’m looking forward to getting on with the whole process,” Stier said. “This is an opportunity for all Albertans who are conservatively minded to get together again and forge forward and form a new party, with a bit of renewal in mind.”
Stier in March was named to the unity discussion group that set out to develop a framework that respects the principles and view os grassroots members from both parties.
Other Wildrose members of the discussion group were Wildrose treasurer James Cole, lawyer Arthur Hamilton, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason Nixon, Wildrose fund-raising vice-chairman Brandon Swertz.
Representing the Progressive Conservative Party were Calgary Chamber of Commerce director of policy and government relations Zoe Addington, chartered accountant Bridget Hennigar, Calgary Hays MLA Ric McIver, and lawyers Devinder Purewal and Tyler Shandro.
“We spent a lot of time with these documents to ensure we were incorporating the main stream thoughts from both parties,” Stier said. “And to ensure that we looked after all the details that we thought were needed to embrace everyone from the past and also the people we look forward to reaching out to in the future.”
Stier said there was a spirit of co-operation within the discussion group.
“It was a chance to reunite and get on with business,” Stier said.
The agreement in principle sets out how the parties will wind down their respective operations once the membership of each party has ratified the unity agreement.
Ratification votes will be determined by each party in the coming weeks.
Should the memberships of both parties ratify the unity agreement, the new party will immediately set out to elect a new leader.
The process was streamlined to get the united party in place quickly, in the event the New Democrat governments calls a snap election.
There is provision for a 90-day leadership campaign, followed by policy development and a founding meeting.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Stier said.
If an election is called before the new party is set up, there is an agreement for Wildrose and the PC Party to co-operate in a campaign.
Kenney called the signing of the agreement a historic day for Alberta.
“We are putting our province ahead of our parties in order to get Alberta back on track,” Kenney said in a news release. “With this agreement, we end a decade of division by uniting common sense Albertans.”
“This ensures the defeat of this disastrous NDP government, and the election of a free-enterprise government that will renew the Alberta Advantage. To the many Albertans who are struggling today, this agreement sends a clear message: that help is on the way.”
Jean said the agreement maintains Wildrose principles and its grassroots way of doing things.
“It’s been the mission of our party to inspire Albertans and restore common sense conservative ideas to government,” Jean said. “This agreement brings that mission one step closer to reality.”
“The most important part of the unification process is to remember the principle that this must be about more than seeking power for power’s sake and it is the members who will have the final say. Today’s announcement is about establishing a strong movement that secures Alberta’s future for generations to come.”

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