Vote splitting in Red Deer targeted

PC leader Jason Kenney discusses unity referendum

Red Deer is a cautionary tale when it comes to vote splitting, a problem that could be eliminated if the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose unite, says PC Leader Jason Kenney.

“The Red Deer constituencies are really ground zero for the vote splitting problem that created the NDP. The NDP won one of the constituencies with 29 per cent, and the other with, I think, 33 per cent of the vote,” said Kenney before speaking in Red Deer on Tuesday night at a town hall meeting at the Radisson Hotel about the upcoming unity referendum.

“It was the most efficient vote split for the NDP in the province, in this city. We think that Red Deer is the object lesson for the need to unite on the free enterprise side of Alberta politics.”

PC members will be able to vote in the upcoming unity referendum by Internet and by phone from 8 a.m. on July 20 to 6 p.m. on July 22. The deadline to buy a membership online to be able to vote is midnight on July 12.

He said online voting will be used to maximize participation during the summer when people are travelling. But there may also be voting terminals set up in communities for people who are not online.

“We anticipate some of the cities, possibly Red Deer, there will be a voting location where people can come and actually cast their ballot online and we’ll help them with that process.”

He said the NDP are doing great damage to Alberta’s economy, and it’s time for PC and Wildrose members to bury the hatchet.

“The two parties are voting identically in the legislature 90 per cent of the time. There’s no major issue on which they disagree. And they were part of the same provincial coalition for the better part of four decades in the PC party before it fractured.”

It’s natural, almost inevitable, that the rift be mended, he said.

“I just say let’s make it happen before and not after the next election. I’ve got a sense of urgency about this, and I think a growing number of Albertans do as well. Red Deer and Central Alberta are going to play a key role in all of this.”

Kenney said the unity movement is about recreating a mainstream, free enterprise coalition.

“What we’re trying to do is create a contemporary version of the Peter Lougheed or Ralph Klein coalitions, a provincial version of the Conservative Party of Canada that typically wins 65 per cent of the vote in Alberta.”

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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