Reuniting the right in Alberta … and staying out of the dark, smoke filled back rooms

Some years ago the long governing, some would say tired Progressive Conservatives in Alberta were shattered when many members defected to the Alberta Alliance Party and the then (in 2008) unregistered Wildrose Party of Alberta. When Danielle Smith took over the new party she led them, almost, to the brink of power. But, as the late, great British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan said …

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jimprenticeWildrose_Leader_Danielle_Smith… events transpired and when Ms Smith and the late and much missed Jim Prentice did a (premature, as it turned out) deal to reunite the Wildrose and the PC Parties. Albertans, in general, were dismayed and they, inadvertently, opened the door for Rachel Notley’s NDP to win the next election. Mr Prentice and Ms Smith, both uber-smart, politically savvy people, made, it seems to me, a fundamental error in 21st century Canada: they did a deal behind closed doors, in the corridors, in the back rooms, etc, when Canadians have decided that they want transparency in political dealings. (There’s a lesson here for Conservative leaders who would like to woo some of the “Manley Liberals:” do so, but do it out in the open so that Canadians know what might drive some smart people to change political brands.)

brain-jean-wildrosekenney_0Anyway, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney are doing it right according to an article in the Globe and Mail. “Alberta’s Wildrose Party and the province’s Progressive Conservative Party have struck a preliminary merger agreement designed to unify the two right-leaning parties under a new banner dubbed the United Conservative Party, ” the article says, and it goes on to report that “The new party will elect a new leader in October, according to the nine-page agreement released Thursday. The founding leader needs to capture a majority of votes. Members of both parties must ratify the preliminary deal, according to the document.” Although it’s anything but a foregone conclusion, I expect Mr Kenny to win and to, fairly handily, defeat premier Notley in (the expected in) 2019 general election.

If that’s the case, and if, as the polls indicate, Patrick Brown wins Ontario in 2018 then Prime Minister Trudeau will face, from West to East …

… a pretty solid conservative wall of opposition to his agenda.  Add to that the rumours that Michelle Rempel is considering (at least “refuses to rule out”) running againstNa heed Nenshi to be mayor of one of Canada’s major cities and one might suspect that conservative politics in Canada are changing … Jason Kenney, Brian Pallister and Patrick Brown are all former federal MPs, part of Stephen Harper’s team of socially moderate but fiscally conservative politicians, and Ms Rempel is still serving in the national parliament. That is, in my opinion, a healthy thing for Canadian politics.

As I said, I think Mr Kenney did the right thing in the right way: he came to Alberta and eSWPLb3sopenly announced that he wanted to reunite the conservatives ~ people responded favourably. I think Ms Rempel, who has been, properly, described as a “natural” when, back in the fall of 2015, she was being touted as a potential CPC national leader, is being a bit too coy, I suspect.  There’s no shame in being up front with Canadians, Albertans and Calgarians; she, clearly, opposes some of Mayor Nenshi’s policies and she will not do herself any harm if she say, openly, that she’s being courted as a potential candidate for mayor ~ stay out of the back rooms, Ms Rempel, be a “natural,” be open and honest; Canadians will reward you.

 

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