The Wildrose is back on the Alberta political landscape.
Members of Wexit Alberta and the Freedom Conservative Party voted overwhelmingly Monday to merge their parties into the new Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta.
A total of 97.5 per cent of FCP members voted to ratify the agreement, easily surpassing the 75 per cent required by the party’s constitution, and beating the 90 per cent predicted by FCP president Ricky Northey.
On the Wexit Alberta side, 96.1 per cent voted ‘yes’ to the merger agreement, which required a simple majority.
The new party will now begin implementing its unification agreement, beginning with its Interim Joint Board of Governors, which will meet for the first time tomorrow with 15 members from each side. That board’s first acts will be to select an interim leader, elect its officers, prepare for its founding policy convention, and its first leadership race.
FCP President Rick Northey said that the job of picking the party’s interim leader will be important.
“Picking the interim leader is going to be tricky, we will need to find someone acceptable to both sides.”
After the founding meeting, a leadership campaign would be held which Northey said with current pandemic regulations, may not be held until next year.
The merger vote takes place just days after veteran MP Jay Hill announced he was taking the leadership of the new federal Wexit Canada Party.
“That’s good news, he has serious political clout,” Northey said.
Another possible leadership candidate could be Brian Jean, leader of the former Wildrose Party which merged with the UCP. Jean lost the leadership race for that party to Jason Kenney.
Jean was coy about his political future when he talked to the Western Standard on Wednesday.
“Brian Jean still has enormous popularity in Alberta,” said Northey, adding he will make attempts to try and talk to Jean.
“We are trying to attract people who are on the political outs.”
The rebirth of a party under the Wildrose banner has the potential to disrupt the current political landscape in Alberta. A poll conducted in late May for the Western Standard found that the theoretical new party had the support of 10 per cent of the electorate without any leader at the helm. The same poll found that between 45 and 48 per cent of Albertans backed an independence vote on the province’s sovereignty.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard