Jean calls talk of him returning to Alberta politics ‘crazy rumours’

Then-Alberta Wildrose leader Brian Jean, left, walks in to a news conference to announce a unity deal between the two in Edmonton on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

EDMONTON — The former leader of Alberta’s defunct Wildrose Party is dismissing talk that he plans to lead another provincial conservative party.

Brian Jean says on Twitter that he’s heard “crazy rumours,” but they don’t involve him.

A column in the Calgary Sun says Jean is recruiting candidates and planning to lead the fledgling Freedom Conservative Party.

That sparked comments on Twitter from former prime minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe urging conservatives to remain united.

The Wildrose merged with Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives in 2017 to create the United Conservative Party after the PCs lost power to the NDP

Jean quit politics after losing the new party’s leadership race to Jason Kenney, who says he doesn’t know what Jean’s plans are but adds that one conservative party is needed to stop vote-splitting.

“The whole reason we decided — 95 per cent of us decided — to create one common-sense, pro-growth party was exactly to stop the risk of vote-splitting,” Kenney said during an event in Canmore, Alta., on Thursday.

“Albertans don’t want political games. They don’t want a vote split.”

The Freedom Conservative Party is currently led by Derek Fildebrandt. He’s a former UCP member who quit caucus after he was found to have been subletting his taxpayer-subsidized accommodation on Airbnb and double-expensing some meals.

He was charged — and eventually found guilty — with hitting a neighbour’s vehicle and leaving the scene, and he also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of wildlife after he shot a deer on private property.

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