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United Conservative Party Born

PhotoEdmonton (ATB): More than 95 per cent of Wildrose members voted in favor of the creation of the UCP. The Progressive Conservatives also voted 95 per cent in favor of this slightly awkward marriage between former political foes. The coming honeymoon period will be very crucial and Albertans will watch with fingers crossed.
The high approval rate for the two sides to focus on what unites them rather than on what divides them is proof that finger pointing and vicious rhetoric, targeting members from the opposite side of the alliance, will be viewed as defying the views of the majority of members of the new party.
News that potential leadership contender Derek Fildebrandt disparaged former Wildrose leader Brian Jean as someone he could never support, moments after results of the merger vote were disclosed, is the kind of intemperate and ill-timed remark that has plagued the Wildrose.
Leadership contests have the potential to be divisive only if contempt and personal attacks form the basis of the race.
UCP leadership hopefuls should remember to look forward and not in the rear-view mirror, filled as that is with recriminations and negative history.
Alberta’s electoral officer is expected to officially incorporate the new party in about one month, but already the task of coming together with a common goal has begun, with a joint caucus meeting held in Edmonton last week.
There was great jubilation and high spirits at that meeting, whereas the NDP undoubtedly are worried, as they should be.
In the May 2015 election, the NDP won 40.6 per cent of the popular vote. Meanwhile, the popular vote of the PCs and Wildrose equalled 52 per cent.
Premier Rachel Notley’s government has rung up enormous deficits to the tune of $10.8 billion last year and a forecast $10.3 billion for 2017/18 and has created much uncertainty in the oilpatch with her policies, including a carbon tax and new corporate taxes. Saskatchewan is reaping the benefits.
The United Conservative Party is therefore not just a significant accomplishment for the two parties, but an indication that a more business-focused government and some fiscal restraint are legitimate possibilities come the 2019 provincial election.
Meanwhile, Alberta Party is also pegging very high hopes on Stephen Mandel leadership and are keep their cards close to chest till UCP elect leadership and declare their political plank.

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