Process to unify conservatives under fire

Dedication to grassroots questioned

Joe Anglin (File photo by RANDY FIEDLER/Advocate staff)

A flaw embedded in the agreement to unify the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties has already been identified by Wildrose grassroots, says former Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin.

Wildrose leader Brian Jean said the agreement in principle to establish the United Conservative Party maintains the principles of the grassroots way of doing things.

But Anglin asked what about the 12-member interim joint board to be put in place upon membership ratification?

“It starts off with the leadership and current executive appointing members. That’s not democratic. That’s not grassroots. So that makes members nervous,” Anglin said.

“I really do want to see democracy respected and I want to see democracy work.”

Anglin, who holds both Wildrose and PC memberships, said he worries about who the Wildrose will put into those power positions.

Ron Orr, Wildrose MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, said the agreement is a framework that provides some content so members know what they are voting on and there will be lots of opportunity for discussion prior to a vote.

Orr said the agreement is fair and respects Wildrose values and he will be casting his ballot for the United Conservative Party.

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Don MacIntyre said the grassroots are clearly in the driver’s seat as they always have been.

He said there has been a genuineness by both the Wildrose and PCs to find common ground and bury the hatchet.

“This is the beginning of a march that is ultimately going to culminate in the defeat of this NDP government and the establishment of fiscal conservative principles and a march back to the Alberta advantage,” said the Wildrose MLA.

“We have a obligation to Albertans to make sure this socialist party that is currently in power doesn’t get a second term.”

Jason Nixon, Wildrose MLA representing Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, said the majority of members that contact him feel that in order to defeat the NDP it’s important for conservatives to come together.

Former PC MLA Mary Anne Jablonski said uniting the Wildrose and PC parties is not just about the NDP.

“People think that these two parties just want to come together just to beat the NDP. As far as I’m concerned it’s about having a balanced agenda that takes care of people as well as the environment. The NDP are imposing their environmental programs and regulations too fast — not to say that we don’t need to do that — but it’s happening too fast,” Jablonski said.

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