Jason Kenney delivers his victory speech at the Alberta PC Party leadership convention in Calgary. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Red Deer Progressive Conservatives taking ‘wait-and-see’ approach to unity path forward

Hard questions lie ahead for Progressive Conservative members after Jason Kenney won the leadership race over the weekend.

Both Red Deer North and Red Deer South PC Constituency Associations have meetings scheduled in the coming weeks to talk about the fallout from the leadership contest.

“I want to see a united front of some sort heading into the next election, but I think there are hard questions to be asked about the process that has been laid out,” said Shawn Pickett, Red Deer North PC Constituency Association president.

Pickett said there are many questions remaining on the process going forward and how the two parties could unite. He said members will spend the next weeks and months asking for clear answers on what happens next.

Kenney charted a path forward for the PCs that includes a referendum to dissolve the party and join with Wildrose party members to unite. He compared it to how the federal PCs and the Canadian Alliance merged in 2003 to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

This summer, Kenney plans to meet with constituency associations across the province and build towards the referendum. Should dissolution prevail, the party would fold into the Wildrose and a new leadership race would occur in 2018.

“I don’t have any answers, there are a lot of questions still to be asked,” said Pickett. “I don’t agree with anything 100 per cent, there has to be checks and balances and questions asked. The membership spoke on the weekend.”

Red Deer South PC Constituency Association president Colin Connon called it a wait and see approach. He said the constituency associations board members and party members will have to choose the best path forward for them.

“There’s been a path put forward and we look forward to seeing how that evolves,” said Connon.

Connon added it was encouraging to see Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Kenney begin discussions two days after the leadership election. The two met on Monday and discussed potential unity.

“Every leadership election the members can be divided,” said Connon. “In the past we’ve been able to come together and work towards our common goals.”

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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